Over the last few months, we’ve been gradually transitioning the whole family to a plant-based, vegan diet. There’s a noticeable difference in how well we feel and it’s definitely helped us to shed the lockdown pounds that had been slowly creeping on during the restrictions. It’s so great to finally have the whole family eating in a way which is great for our health and the health of our planet.
We decided to embark on this journey after researching healthy food together; some resources for this I’ll include below. Our first step was to carry out some research to make sure that we were getting everything we need from our food. This book published by the First Steps Nutrition Trust has been a good source of expert dietary information for children under 5.
We’ve always involved the boys with as much preparation, shopping and cooking as possible and we made sure that they helped with the preparation of any new foods they may not have been familiar with. When introducing new foods to children it’s a great idea to get them fully involved, research (and our experience) shows that children are more likely to taste and enjoy food which they have helped prepare themselves.
One of the ways we made the transition easier for the whole family was to use some meat substitutes, such as soya mince, fish-free fishfingers and tofu sausages. Whilst these are still processed foods, it allowed us to immediately remove meat and fish from our meals and still keep to the same family-favourites which the boys were used to, such as pasta Bolognese, fish fingers, sausages and fajitas. Our next step was to use these same recipes with beans or lentils as the main source of protein.
As always, we’ve made the meals as colourful and varied as we can and stuck fast to the ‘you have to taste it but you don’t have to eat everything’ rule. ( Research shows that we can get used to eating any food if we taste it approx. 8-15 times). Foods which the boys were initially reluctant to eat we have re-introduced in small quantities, alongside foods which they love.
We’ve made sure to include plenty of treats too and enjoy eating together whenever we can, making meals an enjoyable experience for us all.
Please let us know if you would like us to share some of our recipes by commenting below.