What About the Kids

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When people find out how weird I am that I eat a Plant-Based diet they always ask one (or three) of three questions. 1)What do you eat? 2) Where do you get your_________ (protein, iron, calcium, etc.)? 3) What about your kids?

My kids love the way we eat! Back when I was eating junk my 3 year old loved that too (My one year old hasn’t had a chance to eat junk). When given the chance my 3 year old will ask for “chicken and fries” but after a bite or two he says he doesn’t want them. We usually keep Laura Bars or other gluten-free vegan bars in our vehicle so he don’t have to be in that situation.  

It did take my older son a little while to fully transition just like it did for my husband and I. Before switching his favorite thing to eat way Plain, Organic Yogurt. He ate it everyday! Almost every time we went to the pediatrician (even for well baby visits) they said he had an ear infection. Thankfully my pediatrician would just write us a prescription and tell us to hold onto it just in case. We would usually just take him to the chiropractor and then he would be fine. My 1 year old has never had dairy or an ear infection! 

My boys are fully transitioned now! They usually eat what we eat, when they don’t it is because I don’t want to clean up the mess if we are having something difficult for little hands to hold. When we ate Portobello Burgers a few days ago I diced up the portobello to make it easier. I didn’t give them the grilled onions or peppers because I new they wouldn’t eat them. 

I’ve written before about foods my boys eat when I wrote about raising plant-based kids. Just this morning my 1 year ate a container of blueberries and some toast for breakfast. I buy seasonal produce so I wont be feeding him blueberries when they are expensive. I typically wont let him eat a whole container himself but since they were a little past their prime and needed to be eaten he was a willing participant. 

I love that it is summer time here and fruit and veggies are so inexpensive right now. I’ll be cutting into a honey dew melon and a cantaloupe this afternoon. There is a big bowl of washed grapes and cherries in my refrigerator (I cut them in half because they are a choking hazard, and a few stray strawberries that will find their way into smoothies soon. My kids love fruit! 

If your kids aren’t crazy about fruit like mine try cutting it up and making a fruit salad. You can add So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt to the fruit. The kids will feel like they are having dessert. If they are old enough put it in a fancy glass. 

If you know what your kids like you should be able to adapt those things and make them plant-based, or at least take a step in the right direction.

I love my kids so much, I want to protect them from harmful things and that includes food that is harmful. 

Do you have any tips to share for parents trying to switch their kids to a plant-based diet? 

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  1. My tip is to take them to the farmer’s market, give them each a basket (if they’re old enough) and let them pick their fruits and veggies. This also provides an opportunity to teach them about money. Most farmers markets are cash only so it’s a good visual of buying and selling unlike the credit cards we usually swipe every day. They’ll love “going to market”, carrying their bounty home and then eating what you make with it!

    • This is a great idea. My husband takes my 3 year old to pick out the fruit. He makes sure he gets to touch and smell everything we buy. I take the 1 year old to get the veggies and anything else we need.

  2. I enjoyed this post because I get the same questions about protein/calcium etc!

    While my husband & I have been plant based for several months now, my kids are taking longer to transition. Because they’re older, they often cook lunch themselves.

    But what seems to work for us is to 1) set a good example 2) give them healthier choices 3) give them nutritional information, and make sure they know why we’re making the switch, 4) let them help make plant-based meals for the family (some of my kids even have their own kitchen-prep utensils), and 5) have them try new things.

    • Great advice Keri! If the kitchen is stocked with healthy food they will eat healthy.Our teenagers will be visiting this summer, they used to go to the store and bring a lot of junk home. I’ve now banned it (unless there is a special reason). I make sure there are healthier, easy snacks available. Chips and Salsa are a favorite around here.

  3. The biggest helpful idea for my kids was growing a garden. We have two huge plots at our local community garden (one for fruits and veggies and the other for grains) plus our balcony garden. I cannot tend all of this without their help. There have been fit throwing days, days of sitting there in angry silence which translates into (I am NOT going to weed) and other things…but now that the harvests are coming in abundance, they are excited and eating things they normally would never eat such as cantaloupe, green beans, squash…etc. They are PROUD of what they have grown and are now bragging about it to their friends when they take a bag of excess produce to them. 🙂

    This also will help us in the fight against youth entitlement (I refuse to raise socialists).

    • A garden is a great idea. I’m hoping to plant one eventually. With our backyard set up it would be difficult to start. I’m hoping once my boys are older I’ll have more time for it. I’ve heard you can do a lot with container gardening and I may start there first.

  4. This is a fantastic post, I’m so glad I found your blog! My family doesn’t follow a vegetarian diet, we don’t eat red meat much (when we do it’s just venison my husband shot) so we usually stick to chicken and turkey breast, and we love our dairy (especially greek yogurt), I don’t drink cow’s milk, I switch between almond and coconut. My boys LOVE fruit and vegetables, it makes me feel like a good mom when I make them good wholesome food. I am still guilty of throwing some chicken nuggets and pizza in the oven (gasp!) when I’m feeling lazy, but I’m slowly working my way on never buying those processed products and making even my own homemade chicken “nuggets” and creating fun ways for them to eat more vegetables. I still should get them to eat more beans though 🙂 They are so much cheaper then meat for sure! I’m looking forward to more of your posts!

  5. Emily, I’m right there with you, maybe a little further behind. I’m just starting to transition to more plant-based and feeling a little overwhelmed, especially about how to do it with kids. I’m a working mom and never feel like I have time to really prepare a meal except on weekends, so have been relying on lots of frozen food or semi-prepared foods to throw meals together. Any tips from the group on how to do plant-based on very limited prep time?!?

    • I think prepping on the weekend’s really helps to make week night meals a success. We try to chop veggies as soon as we get home from the store.
      When I cook beans or grains I’ll cook a lot more that I need for future meals. Sometimes I use them in a few days and other times I’ll put them in the freezer. I’m not a fan of the microwave as the healthiest way of cooking but it is a quick way. When I’m in a hurry you can’t beat the microwave to steam veggies or bake potatoes and it is definitely better that grabbing fast food. When we need to get fast food we opt for bean burritos without cheese. 🙂

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