The Netflix documentary “The Game Changers” changed most people’s perception of eating plant-based food. As a result of watching it, many people have switched to plant-based diets like veganism and vegetarianism. This transition is easier for adults while not so easy for children. It can create a bit of a conundrum for parents finding effective alternatives for meat-based recipes or food like burgers, sausages, fish and chips, and so on. Having said that, surveys show that many school children are cutting down their meat consumption for animal welfare. Shared below are tips and tricks to make kids interested in plant-based food.
Switching To Plant-Based Diet
Switching to plant-based diets like veganism and vegetarianism must be done carefully so that there is a reduced risk of developing deficiency diseases. This is especially important for children as they are in the growing phase of their life, and some nutritional deficiencies will have a lifelong effect. This can be avoided by careful planning and eating a balanced diet that covers all the nutritional requirements of your child.
Tips For Switching To A Plant-Based Diet
- Simple Swaps: It is best to begin introducing children to plant-based food by making vegetarian or vegan alternatives to their favorite nonvegetarian food. For example, you can replace beef with lentils when making Shepherd’s pie or spaghetti Bolognese.
- Transitioning To Plant-Based Milk: A complete switching to plant-based milk is not recommended as most of them are less nutritious than cow’s milk. But you can use vitamin D and B12, and calcium-fortified soy or pea milk in some of the food like porridges.
- Load Up Fruits And Vegetables: Children need to eat an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables so that they get all the right nutrients. But this can be difficult if they are picky or fussy eaters. This can be overcome by concealing fruits and vegetable purees in their food. For example, you can make a red sauce by frying red onion, red pepper, and courgette. This can be added when making baked beans and spaghetti.
- Vitamin B12 Supplement: When transitioning children to a vegan or vegetarian diet, it is important to give the vitamin B12 supplement. Most plant-based food lacks this essential nutrient that plays an important role in their development.
- Picky Eaters: Transitioning a child who is a picky eater into a vegetarian or vegan diet can be tricky. For example, some children only eat white or beige foods. In this case, you can make a blend using steamed cauliflower, potato, and celeriac, and this can be added when making pancakes, muffins, bread recipes, and waffles.
These are some of the ways you can easily transition children to eating more plant-based food.