Pag­ing Pais­ley

When your chil­dren don’t want to make the tran­si­tion to plant- based eat­ing

Raise Vegan - - Contents - Pais­ley An­der­s­son Li­censed Life Coach and Nu­tri­tion­ist @ ave­g­an­mom - Pais­ley

I know your strug­gle, and I hope these tech­niques will work as well for you as they did for my fam­ily.

A few things that helped my son, who was 2 years old when we made the switch to a ve­gan life­style, were in­for­ma­tion, get­ting to help with meal prepa­ra­tion and find­ing new fa­vorite foods.

1. In­for­ma­tion – This is a hard one with small chil­dren. Every child is dif­fer­ent and dis­cre­tion is ad­vised. Some chil­dren can han­dle the gory de­tails and oth­ers not. The best book we have read is “V is for Ve­gan” by Ruby Roth. Not only are the il­lus­tra­tions adorable, and ap­pre­ci­ated by young kids, but the in­for­ma­tion is kept sim­ple and un­der­stand­able for the lit­tle ones. Each page is a chance for a dis­cus­sion, and a chance for you to ex­plain a lit­tle more in depth if they show in­ter­est and you would like to delve in a lit­tle more. “That’s Why We Don’t Eat An­i­mals,” also by Ruby Roth, is a great book as well, al­though it’s bet­ter suited for an older child. My 4 year old and I read it to­gether and we talk about each page, but he has just started to be able to process the images and the im­pli­ca­tions be­hind them.

Find­ing gen­tle ways to bring light to tough sub­jects can be dif­fi­cult, but luck­ily, there are plenty of good books for lit­tle ve­g­ans to help us put it all into words. Kids nat­u­rally have such big hearts and they in­her­ently do not want to cause oth­ers harm. If they know where their food is com­ing from, chances are they won’t want to eat those foods any­more.

2. When my son was able to start help­ing me cook, he be­came more will­ing to try new foods. We en­joy mak­ing things such as av­o­cado pud­ding, oat and ba­nana pan­cakes, or peanut but­ter on rice crack­ers with ba­nana faces. When we were able to in­clude him, it made food fun to cre­ate and even more fun to eat!

Find­ing a few ve­gan al­ter­na­tives to their old fa­vorites is a good way to start their tran­si­tion. Maybe they’d be will­ing to try a veg­gie burger with sweet potato fries in­stead of the usual ham­burger. With the wide va­ri­ety of ready- made burg­ers avail­able, you’re sure to find some­thing they like eat­ing. Or, get a lit­tle cre­ative and make a dip plat­ter for fruits and veg­gies and let them ex­plore the new fla­vors and tex­tures at their own speed.

3. Find new fa­vorites. This can be a bit of a trial and er­ror ex­per­i­ment. I can ad­mit that I had to fin­ish quite a few of my kids’ din­ners the first few months of our tran­si­tion ( as not to waste the un­ap­pre­ci­ated food that was left on their plates). My chil­dren’s fa­vorite foods were not at all what I thought they would be. My el­dest likes av­o­ca­dos and let­tuce, while my youngest re­ally en­joys olives, sauer­kraut and broc­coli. Who would’ve thought?!

You could ask their opin­ion at the store, let them pick out new things they want to try, or let them choose a new fruit or veg­gie they’re will­ing to try each week. Soon enough, you will know how to spice up meals with their new found fa­vorites.

I hope these tips give you some­where to start. Be­fore you know it, you will have proud lit­tle ve­g­ans on your hands. Good luck!

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