October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month, dedicated to celebrating family meals in the home. Here, at The Beet, we’re not only amplifying the benefits of eating together, but also encouraging families to start adding more plants to every meal.
We have outlined the key essentials in The Beginner’s Guide To Going Plant-Based, a great place to start while sparking a transition to eating more whole foods. However, transitioning your family to a plant-based lifestyle may not be easy, especially if you have picky eaters. It is crucial to be patient and not give up throughout this process. Here are some tips to move the entire crew to eat more fruits and veggies together:
1. Begin the transition with small steps
It may not be best to speed into it all at once. If that does happen, chances are your family might find a plant-based diet too restrictive and continue on with their regular eating patterns. In order to avoid this, take baby steps such as starting with Meatless Monday for some time and continuing it for the rest of the week. Other gradual changes could be adding fruit and veggies to your child’s lunchbox or ordering takeout from a vegan restaurant for dinner. Don’t give up! These small tweaks to your family’s diet may lead to them embracing a plant-based lifestyle in no time.
2. Start with familiar foods
An easy way to get processed food out of the house is to recreate them using whole foods. If your kids love burgers, start by making a homemade veggie or bean burger patty with similar toppings. They may be more inclined to eat something that is familiar to them rather than something unknown. Stick with meals that your family already eats, but make them plant-based by removing a couple of ingredients. For instance, try cooking up regular spaghetti with garlic bread, black beans and rice, or a sweet potato casserole. Then, you can slowly start incorporating plant-based meats and cheeses.
3. Get Creative in the Kitchen
A family that cooks together stays together! Get your family involved in the kitchen and work together to produce amazing dishes for mealtime. It reinforces the importance of eating fresh food and knowing what goes into your body as it is prepared at home. Not only will your family members be conscious of what’s going in the food, but also be excited to eat their own creations at the end. It can also be a great way to be adventurous and try new recipes with your own twist!
4. Shop at the Grocery Store Together
One of the best ways to introduce your family members to whole foods is through shopping together at the grocery store. Your family members will get to understand what is out there and even pick out a few of their favorite fruits and veggies. Try to eat a variety of foods at home such as cruciferous vegetables, fibrous fruits, whole grains, and legumes. It is also a great opportunity to try new foods and the latest plant-based meats on the market.
5. Connect with other Plant-Based Families
Your family members may be inclined to partake in something if they see others having an enjoyable time doing it! Connect with like-minded families who are plant-based through potlucks, picnics, and other social gatherings. Oftentimes, there may be Facebook groups full of plant-based people in your city or a community club affiliated with a local vegan grocery store. Not only will it be a way to meet new people, but also a fulfilling experience exploring new avenues of a plant-based lifestyle.