An interesting coincidence occurred recently. Two parents I know from my children’s school approached me about their children’s decision to go vegan/vegetarian. These parents were supportive, but overwhelmed with what to cook for them since their families were very much carnivores. One parent expressed concern that her daughter was going to starve because she was only eating side dishes. The other parent was worried about dining out because there was nothing for her to eat except French fries. They were eager for guidance and help to support their children on their new diets.
I felt such compassion for these parents, knowing first-hand how daunting a switch to a plant-based diet can be. Apply the additional worry of a parent trying to do the best for their child, and it would be even more overwhelming.
Here are some ideas to help:
2. Add a mixed meal or two to your dinner menus. Tacos, sushi, soba noodle bowls, and lettuce wraps are all great ways to please a family with a mix of carnivores and herbivores. Click here for some meal ideas and recipes.
3. Try some meat alternatives. In order to be a healthy vegetarian/vegan, I recommend eating a diet high in vegetables, limiting processed meat alternatives. However, there are some very good products available that I encourage you to try out like you would their animal-based counterparts. Field Roast, Gardein, and Lightlife offer some great products (available at Whole Foods). In a previous post, I share some great recipes using some of these products. And remember, you don’t have to have “meat” to get protein. Click here for a great infographic from Kris Carr on plant based proteins.
4. Switch out milk and cheese for a non-dairy version. There are several varieties of non-dairy milk, (rice, almond, coconut, hemp), all available at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Taste a variety until you find one that your family likes and replace your dairy milk. Daiya and Go Veggie! have some great cheese alternatives you can try switching out for dairy cheese.
7. Build a community. One of the hardest parts of changing to a plant-based lifestyle can be the isolation and loneliness. Make sure your child has resources to help her answer questions and reply to people who may be curious about her diet. PetaKids is a fabulous website for parents and children.
Please let me know if this post was helpful and if I can answer any other questions.