I was not vegan before our children were born. I tried many times and failed. It was a slow progression cutting out one dairy product at a time.
I’ve been vegan 5 years now and never miss those dairy products I had such a hard time giving up.
Although my husband transitioned into being vegan with me, we still allowed our children to eat ice cream and pizza in the beginning. After discussing it we decided to transition them into full vegans because we believed it would be a healthier lifestyle for them to adopt. These are the steps we took …
1. Go Slowly
We began by only buying vegan groceries. No more ice cream or cheese. In the beginning we allowed them to eat pizza or ice cream outside but it began to be a less frequent event.
2. We Explained Clearly Why And What We Were Doing
We explained to them the reasons we wanted to transition them into being vegan. First we explained the health reasons why then, the most important to us, The moral reasons why. We always explained in great detail and always answered any questions they had for us.
For us once we did this our children were willing to go vegan because they love animals and never want to hurt any animals.
3. We Provided Alternatives
Yes, there was no more cow milk ice cream desserts in the house but we always provided alternatives desserts to try. Like Almond Milk ice cream, banana ice cream, vegan chocolate cupcakes and more. This applied to anything they were no longer able to eat.
4. We Set The Rule You Must Always Try Everything Once
My cooking style has gradually changed after I went vegan. The kids sometimes judge a meal by its looks not taste. So we set the rule you have to taste it before saying you don’t like it. Honestly, many times they try it and don’t like it, but sometimes they do. If they didn’t try they wouldn’t know those sometimes meals are delicious.
I’m also finding as they get older their tastebuds are changing and they are starting to like flavors/meals they once hated. So, I would recommend periodically having them taste something they don’t like.
Also, even if it’s the same thing for example Quinoa, they must try the Quinoa if it’s cooked differently. Yes you may not like Quinoa cooked plain but you may like it in the bean burgers.
Luckily our children never fight us on this, they actually ask to try new dishes we make.
5. We Explained It Was Okay If They Didn’t Want To Be Vegan
From the beginning after we explained why and what we were doing we also let them know that if they did not want to go vegan it would be okay. We would still allow them to to eat pizza and ice cream if they wanted. We let them know our love was not conditional on them going vegan. We know they knew this but we wanted to make sure they didn’t feel like they had no option or couldn’t change their mind.
We have 4 children ages 11,9,7, and 5 and they have now been vegan for almost two years and are happy and doing wonderfully.
For our family all these steps were important in making the transition relatively painless and enjoyable.
The kids are very proud of being vegan and are happy they are not contributing to hurting any animals.