Around April of 2015, I decided to convert to a plant-based diet. I made this decision for myself alone and did not force any of my children to abide by and follow my beliefs, but I cannot say that I do not try to persuade them every possibility I have. Although my children and my beloved Victor do understand, and even agree, the reason for which I have changed my diet, they do not always follow suit. I do wish they did but I guess you could say we have a certain type of democracy in this department in our abode. Even though my grocery shopping and cooking will surely influence what they end up putting in their bellies.
I am actually quite thankful for how Victor has adapted, at least until March of 2017. For the first two years or so he was surprisingly and pleasantly supportive. He committed to not buying any meat products when we went grocery shopping together…unless he really craved a specific meal then, he would only get enough meat for that meal. Indeed he suggested that my drastic change will help him and our children have a better balanced died altogether. All was great and we were coexisting in a harmonious household of both vegetarians and carnivores. We planned and cooked together…like this cute couple below…cute! Right? I thought so.
As I mentioned, all was going great until March of 2017, when we made the decision to move in with my dear parents for a little while. Before becoming a vegetarian, I loved visiting my mom and was always looking forward to one of her deliciously oil-drenched dishes, that more often than not were flowing with some type of meat. But now, I still loved my mom and/or visiting her but, I cannot say I would still look forward to her meat rich dishes any longer. Living with my mother would be a bit of a challenge at this point. But above all this, Victor started cooking more and more meat meals and our children are eating more and more meat since we moved in with my parents.
Since it has become a bit more difficult to keep my little ones from eating what I don’t believe to be the healthiest of things, I had to come up with some strategies to get my children to still eat a plant-based diet as much of the time as possible. Here they are:
- Have fruits available to snack on
I personally like to stock up on apples, bananas, oranges, mandarins, pears, berries, peaches and all types easy-to-handle fruits. I leave them somewhere the kids can easily access. This way, the kids can grab and go with no problem throughout the day; keeping their bellies nice and full with delicious nutrients.
- Go grocery shopping alone
This also happens to be my alone time (whenever it happens). It’s nice going grocery shopping without little people constantly yelling out, “mommy can I get this”, “mommy can I get that”, “mommy please, please, can I”, “can I please pick one thing”, “how about this? can I get this?”, “but why not mommy”. On and on they go the entire time we are in the store. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy shopping with my kids, but once in a while it is nice to be poured on by absolute silence. Above all this, however, going alone allows me to shop for the items I believe to be healthiest, with no pressure from anyone to stock up on any meat products. This would motivate us, once at home, to come up with innovative ideas for our plant based meals. And if anyone wants that steak, they can go get it themselves. But it is less likely they will once in the comfort of one’s home. And they will adapt to what they have.
- Have nuts and seed accessible to the kids
Same as with the fruits, this can keep the kids satisfied throughout the day. I leave a jar of mixed nuts and/or seeds so they can snack on whenever necessary. I try to avoid dry fruits usually since most of them tend to have a bit too much added sugar, in my opinion. And the kids, if left to themselves, will eat handfuls of them. Thankfully Manu and Maia (my darlings) love nuts and seeds also.
- Breakfast! Breakfast! Breakfast!
I like starting the day with lots of vegetables and fruits. Along these must-haves, I also like to add some type of bread, eggs, cheeses, milk or yogurt. I try to stay away from cereal as much as possible. Some of them may be healthier than others, but most often than not majority cereal is packed with sugar and not much more. And that is not how I want my kids to start their day…on a sugar high! No thanks.
- Cook delicious vegetarian meals!
I know, this may sound easier said than done. Most people think that vegetarian meals consist of grass and green leaves, and nothing more. But I assure you, these are all just misconceptions. There are so many dishes that are incredibly delicious and require absolutely no meat whatsoever. Luckily enough there are plenty of resources online that can help us all in our vegetarian endeavors. Below are a couple of pages I have used in the past, that have helped keep our meals varied and tasty.
Do you have any yummy recipes you would like to share with us? How about some ideas that could help us, vegetarians, living with carnivores? Please share, if you do.
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