Keeping The Peace
Navigating the holidays with a non- vegan partner
Are you raising your children vegan with a partner who follows a non- vegan diet? You’re not alone. While this dynamic proves to be difficult at times, especially when it comes to holiday get togethers, it is entirely possible to successfully raise a vegan child in a household with mixed dietary preferences. As long as there is respect, proper communication, genuine understanding and sufficient planning, your holidays will be stress and worry free.
First and foremost, both parents need to respect the other’s choices and maintain a united front when it comes to food options for their children. If the non- vegan partner says they are supportive of raising their children vegan, they shouldn’t be slipping the kids non- vegan food when their partner isn’t looking. If you are new to a vegan lifestyle and want to transition your kids as well, sit down with your partner and explain why it is important to you and be prepared with research, facts, charts and diagrams to ease any of their concerns. If they can see where you’re coming from, they will be much more likely to be supportive of the change. In turn, if they have a real understanding of the lifestyle and are supportive of it, they will be able to help field the unavoidable questions about protein from the nagging in- laws at Thanksgiving dinner.
When it comes to the holidays, there are always those unavoidable get togethers with family or friends that leave you feeling disrespected, annoyed and hopelessly hungry. If you suspect there won’t be any appropriate food options for you, it can be helpful to contact the host and ask if there will be vegan food available, and if not, offer to bring food to share. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a party starving and realizing that all the food contains animal products. This is where that respect and communication come in. If your partner isn’t supportive or doesn’t fully understand the lifestyle, social gatherings may put them on the spot if they don’t know now to navigate the situation. Again, arm them with information to help back you up if anyone gives you a hard time about your lifestyle choices. It may be helpful to write a list of non- vegan foods at the party that are off limits to your little one, or find vegan alternatives, so both parents can feel confident in what they’re feeding their children outside of the home. A lot of times, people don’t understand that if you are vegan, you don’t consume eggs or dairy, so be as explicit as possible. Being able to communicate in a clear and unapologetic way as to why you are raising your children vegan can help ensure that everyone is on the same page.
If friends or family members want to share their non- vegan food with your little one, gently stop them, explain that they don’t eat animal products and give them a vegan option that’s okay to share. For example, if a grandparent is keen on sharing ice cream with their grandkids, picking up a small pint of dairy- free ice cream can be a great compromise.
Food has such a profound impact on our traditions and celebrations. For our families and friends that aren’t familiar with a vegan diet, it can be confusing or seem strict, even extreme to some, but it doesn’t have to be! Keep living your truth and sharing your delicious vegan food with others. Raising vegan children is an impactful way to promote healing and compassion for the earth, the animals and ourselves.