Going vegan is one of the best ways to reduce you and your family’s impact on the planet.
So long as you substitute meat and dairy products with healthy alternatives like beans, lentils, nuts and tofu, you can ensure there’s plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals in your diet!
Nonetheless, getting your kids to ditch the chicken and cheesy pasta for healthy vegan alternatives can be difficult.
So, here are some tips and tricks to help you and your little ones eat more plant-based this Veganuary!
1. Do it gradually
Kids can be picky eaters, and may not appreciate having their favourite meals taken away. Instead of going vegan overnight, try gradually increasing the amount of veggies on their plate, whilst reducing meat and dairy products. You could also try reducing your meat content gradually by mixing it with alternatives – for example mixing cows with a plant-based milk. Before you know it, your meals will be completely plant-based without any (or maybe a few) battles!
2. Blend down your veggies
Introducing different textures and tastes can be a shock for little ones, and they often will outright refuse to try something new. To get them to eat more healthily, it may be worth blending down their veggies into whatever sauce you have with your meal – for example, in a pasta sauce.
3. Make plant-based versions of their favourite meals
Does your kid love spag bol? Make their meal the same as you normally would, but instead of the mince, add a meat alternative or lentils. Macaroni cheese can be made using nutritional yeast (for that cheesy flavour and added vitamin B12!) and you can blend in butternut squash for extra nutrients and colour.
This can help them realize they can still enjoy their favourite meals without having to consume meat or dairy.
Although some people advise you to avoid processed meat alternatives, they can be great to help with the transition process (for both you and your kids!)
4. Make it collaborative
Including your children in the cooking or baking process will help spark their interest in what they are eating, and help them understand where it comes from.
Vegan pancakes, bean and vegetable soups and vegan banana bread are great recipes to start with!
5. It’s OK to not be perfect
Last but not least, remember that simply trying to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies is better than nothing!
Going vegan, vegetarian or eating more plant-based is a journey: it takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and your little ones, take it step by step and celebrate the little wins!
Want some meal inspiration? Check out the vegan recipes available on The Vegan Society’s website, family-friendly recipes available on the BBC Good Food website, or have fun creating your own meal concoctions with the whole family!
For some easy plant-based snack ideas, be sure to check out our recent blog post.
Happy plant-based cooking!
The Buttercup Learning Team