We all have the desire to eat healthier and feed our families more nutritious foods (I hope!) but we come from such different places of motivation and have very different starting points. Here are my words of wisdom to all of you who want to do better but either aren't sure where to start or feel overwhelmed by the whole process.
Start where you are. Vegan or not vegan.
No pressure. No guilt.
No stress. Don't take it so serious.
Getting your kids to eat veggies...or anything green for that matter.
I always tell people the #1 way to get your kids to eat healthy is for you to eat healthy. Kids see what you eat (even when you're hoping they don't). They see what you put in the grocery cart. They see what you order off of menus. So if you yourself don't even like vegetables then it's best to ease yourselves into it by doing it in a way you'll actually enjoy. For example, try a salad blend you like (my favorite is an herb blend, ready-made) and find a good vinegar/oil based dressing to go with it. Steer clear of the creamy dressings which are full of unhealthy "wasted calorie" fats. Even a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar makes salad greens tastes deelish! And yes, little tikes can and will eat salad if offered. If they have molars, they can chew the greens! Be sure to cut it up in small enough pieces or hand them a leaf and see what they do. Here's a page filled with tips on getting kids to eat their vegetables!
Or try keeping tons of fresh veggies around, ready to eat! If cutting them up is too much work then buy precut ones. It does not make you a bad or lazy person. I'm giving you permission to be easy and kind to yourself. After all, the fact that you even have the desire to eat healthier, feed your family better, etc. means you're headed down the right path. But it is important to do it in a way that sticks. Relax. The more you do it the more it becomes a habit.
Processed foods are bad, right?
Yes, it's true that eating more whole foods and staying away from processed foods is best for our health. But if you're a busy parent, work a ton of hours per week, are over-scheduled or just don't feel like cooking you can still eat "healthy & vegan" with pre-made dinners. Try brands like Gardein, Boca, Quorn or Amy's Kitchen. Heat 'em up and eat with no guilt! Throw in a side salad or some steamed veggies on the side.
Buying organic: I can't afford it! Does it really make a difference?
Personally, I buy organic most of the time and know that it will cost a bit more but I feel good about putting money towards good foods for my growing boys. But if buying organic produce is too much to think about or you really can't afford it then stick to the Dirty 12/Clean 15 List (see below).
Finding the motivation.
Find different ways to motivate and support yourself every day or whenever you're feeling stuck by searching out websites, recipes, food blogs, Pinterest boards or veg-friendly restaurants that support your new plan and desire. Involve your friends and family, asking them what new dishes or foods they'd like to try. I am completely obsessed with all things healthy in the kitchen but I, too, find myself getting bored at times. Reading books about what foods do what for our bodies or watching cooking channels gets me back on track. Touring healthy food stores (Whole Foods works every time!) also does the trick. Or drink a green smoothie and get out in nature to re-boot!
28 Day Vegan Challenge
Awesome job to those of you who are nearing the end of our very first 28 Day Vegan Challenge! We're starting another one on July 1st so gear up if you'd like to join in. It's a very easy way to begin a plant-based way of eating by eliminated and incorporating certain foods week by week. You're guaranteed to feel great afterwards too! It's totally FREE! Click here to get started.
Download a copy of my new eBook "Plants Only: A Two Week Meal Guide For The Non-Committed Vegan"
for only $2.99!
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