Children are generally picky in the case of food. Is your child also like that? If yes, you might know that it is challenging to introduce items into their diet. It would be more challenging if you try introducing them to a fully plant-based food eating pattern, particularly if they are at an older age.
A good thing is that there exist more alternatives than before. According to holistic nutritionist Carolyn Scott-Hamilton’s opinion, plant-based goods have become better accessible and tastier. Virtually every non-vegan product has an alternative, said the nutritionist. The sheer variety available today concerns the food, but the related information is also quite common today. Scott-Hamilton states that there exist vegan applications, websites, social media personalities and influencers, and large chain restaurants’ recipes.
For kids, particularly older children who have been consuming meat, those alternatives simplify introducing new food items or substituting the old ones. Because those children have growing palettes, doing the switch is easier. As a parent, you can create burgers, Bolognese sauce, and meatballs with those alternatives, without making your kids feel that they miss out on meaty texture or flavor. Now, let us look at some tips and tricks to introduce children of any age to plant-based meal benefits.
Starting Slow And Being Strategic
Has your child been following a non-vegan diet? If yes, it would be wise to avoid changing every part of the diet suddenly.
Most children have some likes and preferences, so it is tricky to make them switch to the new diet quickly.
A good way to start the switch is by discovering some vegan alternatives to kid-friendly food items. Vegan varieties of kid staple food items such as mac and cheese as well as chicken fingers are available. For a parent who is attempting to shift processed food items fully, it could be tricky to cause your child to sacrifice the convenience or do the transition. Anyhow, there are ways of making kid-friendly and fun food items with hidden ingredients that are good for health.
You can sneak vegetables into your child’s meals in different ways. You may prepare smoothies and put some leafy green vegetables in those, or convert those into popsicles. You can easily introduce kid-friendly food items
It is also vital to take their age into consideration. As with any other person, it is possibly trickier to change ways of life or habits when children age.
For instance, if your child is a 10-year-old, it would be trickier to do. For each child, it is important to do so smartly and slowly; for instance, replacing one food item at a time will help to familiarize them with the flavors. It may be easier to do if your child is younger, but that does not mean they will never switch. Today’s food items are so tasty that they may not usually notice the difference.
For older children, parents may start the switch with Meatless Monday, a weekday with vegan products. We would also recommend replacing ground beef with vegan taco meat weekly or biweekly to start the switch. Start with the products your child likes to consume before showing them alternatives to those.
Understanding The Staples
For kids, there is not a lot of difference between a non-vegan diet and a plant-based diet in one regard: The staple food items they need. Many fresh fruits and vegetables are important for them regardless of which diet they follow.
The earlier a child starts to follow a clean diet, the easier they would find it to keep those habits going as a grown-up. Make them start with a meal high in veggies, and cause snack time to be healthy with nuts, fruits, and trail mix made at home. The more plant-based and whole their diet is with some fun things from time to time, the easier they would find it to make the healthy choices.
Avocados are an excellent example of versatile and nutrient-dense food that you can add to a kid-friendly vegan diet. Avocados have much fiber, a component that not many children get from any form of diet. If your child finds an avocado’s color or texture unappealing, then you can hide it or combine it with other food items.
Spinach is a different nutrient-rich product that children may not want to consume much, but you can easily hide it in baked dishes or smoothies.
Include Your Child In The Whole Process
Parents usually feed their children during their growing-up years. Therefore, those kids do not either value the effort or time required for food preparation or consider the origin of what they eat. Besides teaching basic culinary skills, it is a must to include your child in the food selection process or the growing process. It will give your child a more comprehensive view as opposed to making them think that this is only the food served to them.