Planning to eat less meat as a family? To help jumpstart the transition to a plant-based diet in your family, here are 10 plant-powered kid-friendly tips.
- Ease into it. If meat is a staple in your household for every meal, you have room to cut back. Create a family goal for how many meatless meals you want to eat. You could start out slowly by having one completely plant-based meal per week, or even having an entirely meatless day.
- Breakfast of champions. With so many delicious and fun “veggie” friendly breakfast foods out there, it’s easy to pass on the meat in the morning. Your little one will be too busy feasting on oatmeal topped with berries and walnuts or buckwheat pecan pancakes with peaches to even miss the bacon.
- Change it up. Meat doesn’t necessarily have to be the center of the plate at every meal. Cut down on the amount of meat you consume by taking one individual portion of meat or chicken and using it to flavor an entire family-size meal of stir-fry, casserole, or stew.
- One is the magic number. One way to make vegetarian cooking simple and delicious is to rely on more one-dish, kids’ favorites, such as chili, stew, casseroles, and pasta dishes. A crock-pot is a great investment when shifting to a plant-based eating style.
- Go on a family vacation – in your kitchen! Some cultures know how to do vegetarian meals right! But who says you need to travel far to enjoy ethnic cuisine? Visit a local ethnic restaurant, such as Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese to find inspiration for adventurous, vegetarian meals at home.
- Take a lesson from your kids. There’s a common misconception that preparing vegetarian meals is laborious and complicated – but tons of simple, kid-friendly recipes are already meatless. Think black bean burritos or spaghetti and tomato sauce.
- Transform your family favorites. Does your family love pizza night? Trim the meat and load up on the veggies. Skip the processed meats, and top your pizza with broccoli, cashews, red onions and basil.
- Say “yes.” Take a trip to the produce section of your supermarket or visit a farmer’s market with the kids. Get excited, and feast your eyes on all the delicious plant foods you can enjoy as a family. Your excitement will be contagious and in turn, your kids will get excited too!
- Step away from the faux-chicken nugget. A typical assumption is that vegetarian meals are centered on soy-based meat substitutes that can easily be popped in the microwave for each meal. But the “whole” point of a plant-based diet is to reap the nutrition rewards of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It doesn’t hurt that many of these foods are nature’s perfect finger foods. Naturally delicious and convenient. What’s not to love?
- Get cooking with the kids! There is no better way to get kids interested in new foods and flavors than to involve them in the kitchen. Invest in one good vegetarian cookbook and choose one family night a week to experiment with a fun, new recipe. If you need a recommendation for a delicious vegetarian recipe, try this Southwest Black Bean Quinoa Salad from The Plant Powered Diet. You can also watch Sharon prepare it here.
SuperKids Nutrition recommends adding the Plant Powered Diet to your reading list to help grow a healthy family!