My family is trying to eat less meat.
Not because we want to become vegetarian but because we’ve increasingly read about the impact that adopting a more plant-based diet can have on our health. Eating this way is also better for the environment. According to Nature: International Journal of Science, 20 servings of vegetables have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than 1 serving of beef.
What if your child is a picky eater, though? A whole-foods, plant-based diet does not include meat, dairy, eggs, or refined products like white flour, refined sugar, and oil, the staples of any kid’s diet, if given the choice.
Here are a few tips to make meat less of a centerpiece and more of a side dish on your family table, with the support of your kids:
Don’t overwhelm yourself by heading to the grocery store in search of foods your kids have never heard of. Pick some of your favorite go-to recipes and swap ingredients with plant-based options.
- Try stir-fry with chickpeas instead of beef.
- Making spaghetti sauce? Cut the amount of meat by 1/2.
- Serve dinner in rounds -- with buffet veggies or salad first, filling the tummies before moving on.
Embrace the Foods Kids Love
Almost every kid loves at least one plant-based food. Maybe it’s tofu, nuts, raw carrots, apples, or bananas. Start with what they love and build on it, but keep things playful, fun, and uncomplicated.
- Dip fruits or veggies in creative sauces
- Spiralize vegetables into cool shapes
- Grill them on the BBQ
- Make it a fondue night with your kids’ favorite fruits, vegetables, non-meat proteins, and fun dipping sauces. And yes, maybe throw some chocolate fondue in there too!
Let each child own one night each week where they pick the featured protein of the meal. Don’t blindly take meat off your family’s collective plate, though. To eat less meat, try including more plant protein: nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and whole grains.
- Let your children pick out a new whole food each week at the grocery store.
- It's less about 'disliking meat' and more about exploring everything else!
Gathering in a living room with a small group of women is powerfully supportive way to make changes. Besides if so-and-so's moms does it, it makes it more acceptable to the little ones. Meatless Mondays? Kids on board? Partners NOT on board? Sneaky cooking? The above content is the powerful WHY. But to create change in your home we suggest your Chapter turns this topic in to a Gathering Discussion.
- Do you belong to a Chapter? Check out the discussion thread on hosting a Gathering on this topic in our Savvy Cafe.
- Would you like to join a Chapter?
We explore one theme over two months. We explore, learn, create changes and move forward. This post is part of our Meat & Veggies theme months.
Speaking of fun....