From easy plant-based family meals to dealing with special occasions and nutrition basics, these tips for becoming a plant-based family cover everything you need!
Have you recently decided that you want to transition to a vegan diet but haven’t involved your family just yet?
Living with non-vegans can be a difficult task, especially if that means cooking two separate meals each day!
But with a handful of tips, becoming a plant-based family is totally doable and can even become an exciting project.
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If you have just started a plant-based diet yourself and are a bit unsure about the safety of going vegan for kids, active people or even the elderly, let’s see what the largest organization of nutrition professionals in the world has to say about that.
As stated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
“well-planned vegetarian and vegan eating patterns can be healthful and appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including infants and toddlers.”
Sounds promising, right? We’ll fill you in on what a well-planned plant-based diet looks like, how to make it appealing to your whole family and much more in this article.
And until you’ve successfully transitioned your family to a plant-based diet, here’s how to be vegan when your family is not (yet).
Prepare your family
First of all, have an honest conversation with your partner about wanting to become a plant-based family. You also need to decide whether or not you feel comfortable preparing meat or other non-vegan dishes at home.
Hopefully, you’ll have their support — and if you’re the one making most of the food at home, it’ll be even easier to convince them by creating delicious meals!
Depending on how old your children are, you can get as detailed as you like about why the family is shifting towards a plant-based diet.
Keeping your personal reasons for going vegan in mind, you can express how much you care about animals or the environment — honest answers are always best, but be gentle.
Help them make the connection between the food on the table and the animal on the farm, perhaps watching a family-appropriate vegan documentary or looking at vegan books together.
Preparing your family to become plant-based also means that you need to re-stock your kitchen with vegan staple foods and use up any of the non-vegan items or give them away.
Here’s our list of great plant-based snacks to buy at the store!
Pick some plant-based meals
Now, it’s time to take a look at family-friendly vegan beginner recipes! Involve your family and let everyone choose at least one meal they want to try this week.
Here are some collections to choose from:
You can also get some great vegan cookbooks for beginners.
If meal planning is your thing, check out our guide below and find a simple 1-week plant-based meal plan!
Take your kids and partner on a journey with you to the store and let them choose different plant-based foods they want to try while trying to keep the non-vegan stuff out of the house as much as possible.
You can even make a fun taste test of different plant-based milk and yogurt alternatives or order some vegan snack boxes full of delicious treats if your local store doesn’t carry them.
Other great ideas include making no-bake vegan desserts together or creating colorful and fun smoothie bowls.
Definitely keep notes of favorites and repeat what works for you and your family!
From pediatricians and GPs to grandma and teachers at kindergarten or school — it’s probably a good idea to talk with everyone who is important in your and your family’s life about going plant-based.
You may want to get some blood work done, see if plant-based meals can be offered at school and give out recipes or vegan gift ideas to the grandparents!
It can also be wonderful to connect with other plant-based families and support each other during this process. You might find them on social media or local meetup groups!
Have vegan food available
Do you know when most people throw in the towel? When they are stressed, in a hurry or just super hungry.
The best way to prevent these moments is to have your kitchen, pantry and freezer full of vegan bars, frozen meals or just plenty of fruits and nuts!
A quick hummus or peanut butter sandwich can also go a long way and we personally love having a batch of vegan bliss balls in the fridge.
By the way, you don’t always have to mention that a food is vegan — let your family members try it first and don’t talk about this subject too much.
Take small steps
Ease into the transition and make gradual changes if possible. Start with Meatless Monday or by making a delicious vegan breakfast and simply add more plant-based foods to traditional family meals!
Remember that everyone is different and will have an easier time letting go of certain foods.
If you end up cooking something most of your family doesn’t really love, just put it on the back burner and perhaps try it again later!
It often takes several attempts of eating a new food or meal until people end up liking it — or they just won’t like it at all, which is fine, too.
Take the burden off of cooking by checking out the vegan restaurant options where your family likes to go to!
Replace, don’t restrict
Think about your family’s favorite meals and snacks. Is there a way to make them in a vegan version?
There are many great food swaps like using soy milk instead of cow’s milk, veggie patties for burgers or making creamy cashew-based mac and cheese.
Creating fun snacks like peanut butter stuffed dates or coconut bliss balls makes everyone forget about the non-vegan store-bought sweets soon enough!
Allow for imperfections
Family life is never perfect, right? You need to stay flexible, loving and forgiving. We all have certain foods which we find harder to give up completely, so allow for these special foods to be in the house in the beginning.
Once you have found replacements for your kid’s favorite ice cream or your partner’s burger, you can all shift together to a fully plant-based diet.
Family life also allows us to practice tolerance for each other and just because you personally want to be vegan, it’s okay if your kids still have non-vegan birthday cake at a party or buy their favorite non-vegan food from their own money!
Don’t neglect nutrition
Even though it’s a common vegan myth that those on a plant-based diet are always malnourished or need to pay attention to their food to avoid malnutrition in the future, it’s important to have a rough idea about this subject.
Everyone on a plant-based diet needs to supplement with vitamin B12 and should try to include all plant-based food groups to get a wide array of nutrients.
This means fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The more variety, the better.
Special attention might be given to omega-3 rich seeds, calcium-fortified milk alternatives and zinc sources like protein-packed chickpeas, lentils, tofu and seeds.
Check out our full vegan nutrition guide here and grab our printables below!
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Helping kids go vegan
Kids especially love routine and they are not always open to trying new things. However, this means that if plant-based food shows up in your home over and over and over again, that becomes the habit — we have seen it work.
Thank your kids each time for at least trying new food and offer it in a variety of ways to see how they like their fruits and veggies best!
One great piece of advice is to involve children in the process of becoming plant-based as a family. Let them pick out different milk or meat alternatives at the store, chop and wash vegetables together, perhaps even grow some yourself!
Find lots of more tips around this subject in our article called raising vegan kids and check out the kid-friendly vegan recipe collections below!
It can be so hard to have teenagers eat their veggies, right? What’s true for kids and adults also goes for teens: ease into it.
Start by adding some finely chopped veggies or smashed beans into familiar meals and crowd out the animal-based food that way.
Buy vegan burger patties at the store or get the dairy-free ice cream — they probably won’t complain.
If your child is coming of age, see how they can be vegan in college here!
Birthdays or holidays coming up? What about barbecue season? All of these seem really stressful to a plant-based beginner.
How can I entertain guests or friends in a way that fits with my new lifestyle?
With a little planning and perhaps a short conversation with friends and family before the occasion, you will be able to put together a wonderful buffet or dinner that is sure to make everyone happy!
Over the years, we’ve catered to many guests and collected the best recipes that work for different occasions. Just browse our articles below to find out more!
This section is just an extension of the one above but it deserves its own mentioning!
Especially during traditional events like Thanksgiving or Christmas where meat is usually front and center, those who have just transitioned to a plant-based diet can feel a little insecure.
Luckily, we have lots of crowd-pleasing recipes for young and old, vegans and non-vegans alike around our website! Check out the following articles:
Don’t give up
Change can be really hard and it may take you and your loved ones years to become a plant-based family!
But eating more healthy food as a family means that you lay an important foundation for your kid’s future and even if the transition goes slowly, you’ll still have decades to enjoy as a plant-based family.
Habits and taste buds can adjust over time and if you stay motivated and allow for imperfections, there’s nothing that can stand in your way!
If you look back after a while, you will see that many things have actually changed for the better.
More Vegan Guides
If you enjoyed this article, browse the following guides next!
Do you plan on becoming a plant-based family or have already successfully done so? Share with us in the comments below and Pin this article here or send it to friends and family!
14 thoughts on “14 Tips for Becoming a Plant-Based Family”
Thank you for writing this. I now feel like I have hope.
Very happy this article was helpful! Be sure to check out our Vegan Starter Kit for more info on what kind of nutrition is best for children (and grown-ups!).
Chrissy – excellent article. I haven’t completely given up meat, but I am consuming considerably less. Keep spreading the plant religion.
Good for you, keep cutting back on animal products and see how this makes you feel :)
We’ll be spreading the word about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, though it’s not at all a religion – rather an ethical standpoint.
The movie “What the Health” (on Netflix) is starting my journey to go vegan. I have done Meatless Monday for years. Now to do more
So wonderful to hear that, Moira! Thanks for sharing. It really is an impactful and inspiring documentary… let us know if you need any support!
Best wishes x
Thanks so much for these tips. I have five kids and I have been talking with my husband about taking meat and dairy out our diets (I watched “what the health”) My husband is a meat and cheese guy and so are my kids. im confident I can go without but am worried how they will be. I’m going to really use your tips in hopes that we can slowly make our way to a healthier lifestyle. I’m tired of everyone feeling tired and sick. Thanks again, I’m glad I stumbled on your blog.
Thanks so much for the feedback, Michelle! So awesome that the documentary sparked some interest in you and that you want to make changes towards a plant-based diet.
Kids mostly just want tasty food and don’t really insist on meat or cheese being in it. There are great recipes to mimic texture and taste of familiar dishes – here are some examples: http://nutriciously.com/vegan-recipes-for-kids/
Maybe this article could also be helpful: https://withloveandveggies.com/2016/04/21/how-to-get-you-kids-to-eat-veggies/
And finally, a professional opinion on the topic: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php
We hope to be publishing more articles on vegan kids and families in the future!
Hang in there, join our free course or our FB group if you want :)
Hey, Alena Thanks for sharing these tips with us. It’s really amazing blog. https://www.leangreendad.com/
Thank you so much for sharing. I loved reading this article because I could relate to it so much. So i started an Instagram page called plantbaseddietformyfamily to keep me motivated.
Thank you for this article. The husband acceptance, nevermind transition is really difficult in our family. He had some bad previous experiences with some pushy plant-based eaters and they left him stubborn and completely shut off to the thought. I let him make his own choices when he cooks but when I cook, he eats what I make for the most part. Any additional tips to help make him feel more comfortable would be amazing.
Thanks for this article. Been on and off transitioning for a couple years now. I’ve had a hard time staying at it, but know 100% we need to be WFPB. What recipes do you love for entertaining as you mention in this post? We are big entertainers, but feel I have to include at least some meat in anything I make for company or take to families after they have babies and such. Thanks!
Thank you, wonderful story. I hope more and more parents will achieve the same proficiency with their children. I would add that when consuming plant-based foods, the body truly changes, it is intelligent enough to cure diseases with its own energy. In my own example, I have noticed that for the last five years on the vegan diet, the amount of oil I have ingested has decreased by more than 50%. Today, my body simply does not tolerate the same amount of oil as before. Therefore, when you eat plant foods, listen to your reactions and you will notice improvement.
This has been a struggle for me, my husband is adamant that he will not eat what I cook (because it’s plant based) and he won’t let me talk to our kiddos about it either. I’m hoping that my example will be enough for them to notice some day.
Also, I would love to hear tips for kids that go to daycare (working moms) whose meals and snacks you can’t choose, especially when your kids don’t want to be singled out eating something different than everyone else.