Since starting this 30 day Vegan food log, two readers have asked me to please talk about how I incorporate my healthy vegan meals into a family dinner.
Well, I would.
If I did.
See, this once again points out a big difference between Real [Fit] Life, and most magazines or tv show’s that so many people read/watch. I could have put a nice catchy heading up at the top of my page: “Get your kids to eat Vegan in 10 easy steps” or “Vegan meals your kids will love in 30 minutes or less”.
But the truth is, I got nothin’. Well, aside from truth, and I always think that is a whole lot more empowering for people.
I only switched to my vegan diet in April, and it was very off the cuff. I didn’t ask my kids what they thought about it. I don’t live with a significant other whose opinion had to weigh in on the matter. I just did it.
It’s not like my kids were surprised. I always talk with them about my views on food. They see what I eat. But, as I have said before in past blogs, I let my kids eat junk just like other kids. But I also give them veggies and fruits. I teach them about balance. At dinner time, I do what most parents do. My 5 year old is currently on a kick where all he wants to eat is PB and J. My middle two eat a good mix of healthy and convenience. Like every other kid, they love french fries and chicken nuggets. They also love scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, my homemade (healthy) pancakes, salads, and other healthy fare. But they eat meat. My oldest, in his teens, doesn’t eat meat all that much but he loves pizza and pepperoni! But he also enjoys a big plate of steamed vegetables or a big bowl of cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes.
When I turned Vegan I explained to my kids that it was my choice and if they ever chose to turn Vegan, it should be their choice as well. I do share my reasons with them. I educate them. But I don’t want them to have negative feelings about it. Food is a very personal choice, even for kids. I teach my kids through example. They see what I am eating all the time. Sometimes they ask to try something. Sometimes they say “no thanks, Mom”. They also watch me like a hawk now to see if I really can stick with this “Vegan thing”. It’s rather cute. (Okay, sometimes it’s annoying…)
As for sharing Vegan meals with your families? If it’s important to you, I do recommend that you make it a gradual process. Help the kids (and your significant others) to feel like it is their choice, not yours. What’s nice about Vegan meals is that they can be really simple. You don’t need to be making seitan and tofu meatballs. (I don’t recommend soy anyway) Just stick with the familiar stuff. Raw nuts, lots of beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains. You can make great smoothies with almond milk or coconut milk. Maybe make some vegan snacks like cookies!
The web is full of amazing vegan recipes and they are easy to find.
Maybe have two meals a week where it’s a family Vegan night. You could even let the kids help prepare it. Look up some interesting facts on the internet and share over dinner. Talk about the healthy impact Veganism can have on our environment, or why less meat and more plant based foods are healthier for us humans.
What kid doesn’t love animals? You can also touch on the realities (age appropriate, of course) of factory farming, the ways in which animals are so frequently abused and mistreated. To give it a positive spin, also talk about local farms and the fact that smaller, private farmers often have very ethical practices in the way they raise and care for their livestock. You could go to visit a local farm. I also highly recommend a visit to the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary if you live close enough. The kids will love it and everyone will learn a lot. My last visit there was what finally motivated me to make the full commitment to a vegan lifestyle.
Just like adults, kids are much more motivated to make changes when you give them a reason to. They are pretty darn smart after all!
Gee, now that I am writing these ideas out, I think I am going to do all of this myself!
Now get out there!
To read day 3 of my 30 day Vegan food log, hop on over to Real [Fit] Life!