Have you been thinking about transitioning your family to a vegan lifestyle? If so, you aren’t alone! More and more people are switching to plant-based diets, completely eliminating animal products from their lives. While there are a number of reasons they’re making this change, whether it’s for the animals or health reasons, it can be a stressful process.
It’s not always easy to give up some of your favorite foods. And if you’re not using to eating vegan-friendly meals, you’re probably wondering what on earth you’ll be able to make for dinner every night. Fortunately, making this change for you and your family doesn’t have to be a scary one! And you don’t have to send your kids into a panic doing it either.
While it wasn’t always easy making vegan swaps in the beginning, by using the following tips we have all happily adjusted to this lifestyle. Keep reading to find out how you can too!
1. Ease the Family Into This Change Slowly
If your family is used to eating a lot of animal products, the thought of making this change might be a little overwhelming to them. It’s especially going to be the case when you consider how many of their favorite foods they might have to give up as part of this transition. That can be challenging. And it was especially challenging for my young ones.
However, it doesn’t mean the switch to a vegan lifestyle is impossible! We did it, which means your family can too. You just need to ease your family into it by making gradual changes. Here’s a good example… If you typically have meat with every dinner, try integrating “Meatless Monday” into your weekly routine to show them that plant-based meals can be a healthy and delicious alternative. This is a simple swap that worked wonders with our kids as they were able to explore new options without being forced to do anything.
Over time, you can start incorporating even more vegan dinners into your weekly meal plan. It’s a simple way to introduce them to new flavors and foods and to show them how vegan cooking can still be fun. One smart way to do this is by making vegan versions of their favorite dishes, which will make the change less daunting. Just don’t expect them to taste exactly the same because that could backfire, especially when it comes to your kids.
2. Try Going Vegetarian First Before Moving to a Vegan Diet
Another way to ease your family into the vegan lifestyle is to start by going vegetarian first. They’ll have to cut out meat, but they can still enjoy certain animal products. This way, they can start getting used to what it would be like to eat meals with less animal products. I found that going vegetarian before vegan helps because it’s less of a drastic change, especially for children.
Once your family has adapted to the vegetarian diet, you can slowly start eliminating all other animal products from their diet. In time, they’ll be fully transitioned over the vegan lifestyle. And there’s a good chance they won’t miss any of their old favorites that contained animal products. By then, they will have found new ways to make some of their favorite dishes and discovered plenty of new foods they love. Our kids didn’t even realize that we had switched from vegetarian to vegan meals!
3. Replace Non-Vegan Cravings With Vegan Cravings
You can also start small by replacing any non-vegan cravings with vegan friendly snacks. If you’re someone who has a sweet tooth and needs that piece of chocolate after dinner, buy some vegan chocolate instead. It tastes delicious and you won’t even notice that it doesn’t contain dairy.
Or if dairy cheese has been your weakness (like it is mine) you can use vegan cheese substitutes to recreate that flavor. To be honest, many of the vegan cheeses found at your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods taste almost exactly the same but without any animal byproducts in them. Our family prefers them now.
4. Try a Meal Delivery Service With Vegan Options
If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle, like we were, there’s a good chance you have no idea what to prepare your family for dinner. Don’t worry, I was in your shoes and I know that it can be a little stressful when you’re cooking for a family.
Weekly meal planning is enough work as it is, so trying to find all new recipes is going to be even more of a challenge. Luckily, there are quite a lot of meal delivery services out there today that provide vegan options. They’ll take all the guesswork out of your weeknight dinners, since they’ll plan everything for you. Plus, it cuts down on the amount of grocery shopping you have to do, which is a win-win!
We tried two different services. First, we went with Veestro. They send pre-made plant-based meals that just need to be warmed up before you can eat them. I found this was a good way to “test the waters” with my kids to see what they like and what they don’t without having to spend hours buying ingredients, cooking, etc.
The next service we tried was Green Chef. They send you all the ingredients and recipes needed to create the meals. While it took more time to make, the meals actually tasted great. Another great part about these meal delivery services is that they give you recipe ideas that you can use later on.
5. Connect With Other Vegan Families in Your Area or Online
Another way to make this transition easier is to connect with other vegan families. Why? It provides you with a support system as you make this change with your significant other and your kids. We found the hardest time to stick with a plant-based diet was when we went out with other people. The kids wanted to splurge and eat what all of the other kids were eating. By making friends with other vegan families you can discuss any early struggles you’re dealing with and even share recipes with one another.