Introducing Your Children to Veganism Sensibly
Teaching your children about ethical ways of living is not straightforward. There are so many different things that we've got to consider in the modern world, whether it's about operating with an eco-friendly mindset or just being more ethical, but one of the best places to begin is with living a vegan lifestyle. But what are the best ways to introduce our children to a vegan lifestyle?
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
Providing Them With the Knowledge
This is naturally the most important thing, but when it comes to food, we have to start by helping them to realize there are meat-free alternatives.
The older your child is when you make the transition, the harder it might be to get them on board. If your child has already started eating meat and has got a taste for honey or eggs, be patient. We need to inform our children what certain habits do to the planet. And we can't beat ourselves up if our children are eating a 90% vegan diet.
There are so many people that force their beliefs onto others that it turns them in the other direction. But when your children have specific foods that they like and are not animal friendly, such as this honey roasted carrots recipe at Yellowblissroad.com, you have to remember that if your child is consuming honey and this is the only thing that's classed as non-vegan you need to be content in your achievements.
You can also just substitute ingredients with vegan-suitable ones like vegan butter and agave nectar for the recipe mentioned above and see if your child will like it that way. Chances are they won't notice the difference.
Your Child Has Freedom of Choice
When it comes to preparing vegan foods, it's not going to be an overnight success. Your child will naturally change. As they develop, their taste buds will change too. You have to remember the best approaches to take it slowly.
When it comes to the foods they are familiar with and love, such as cow's milk, you might get pushback if you try to switch over 100% but you can start to mix a little bit of plant-based or almond milk into normal cow's milk and increase the ratio over time if they don't like non-dairy milk at first.
Plant based meats have come a long way. First, try them in meals your child likes where they are in sauce or surrounded by other flavors like chili or a lasagna. Vegan cheese can be harder sell because they taste quite different from animal based ones. It might be best to avoid cheese for a month or so to give taste buds a chance to adjust.
Ultimately, your children will eat what they want. And this could mean they will be eating meat in when away from home, but if you are trying to slowly bring them around to a vegan way of life, you have to respect that it is their choice. All you can do is keep them informed.
When it comes to giving them all the information they need, you have to be age-appropriate. Many videos show how plastic is impacting the environment, and how animals are treated, but it is so important to arm them with knowledge without scaring them.
Your children may naturally be animal lovers, so if you start to refer to meats like bacon as being “a pig,” this could be a big shock to the system. But this could be what it takes for them to change their attitudes, however, this could also be very upsetting depending on their age. Look for age appropriate books. Visiting a farm sanctuary could spur questions from your child and motivate them to make vegan choices on their own.
Be Aware of Their Nutrients
It's so easy to live a vegan lifestyle now but because there are so many processed foods out there, some people are consuming vegan pizzas and are thinking they're being healthy. This is not the case. The best thing that you can do is to ensure their nutrient intake remains high.
It's harder to get children to eat healthily because of the numerous dinner table battles so you've got to remind your children of the importance of a varied diet. But this means you can start to incorporate things into their meals that will top-up their nutrient intake.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
Smoothies are one of the best ways to give them more nutrients, for example, you can put silken tofu in almost any smoothie because the taste is so subtle. Also, think about nutritional yeast. This tastes like parmesan and is great sprinkled on pasta dishes.
But if you are struggling to get the nutrients, you've got to go for vitamins. You can find vegan kids' vitamins at Cleangreensimple.com and many other suppliers. You have to remember that it's not just about the vitamins, however, think about minerals such as selenium and iodine, which don't come naturally as part of a vegan diet.
If you are trying to encourage your children to become vegan, the best thing is to never force it. There are so many militant vegans out there and if you think that your children can benefit from a vegan way of life, as with any battle with your children, remember that it's about playing the long game. It's just that this game will benefit their health and the world in the long run.