Plant-Based Family: 15 Tips for Making the Transition
More and more families are transitioning to a whole food plant based diet. It usually starts with one member thinking about making the switch.
What about the other family members? Are they open to the idea of transitioning with you? Are they not on board?
In either case, this article may be useful in overcoming some of the challenges you may be facing. We’ll be sharing 15 tips on making the transition and becoming a plant-based family.
Becoming a Whole Food Plant Based Family
In your situation, perhaps you are already eating plant-based. But what about the rest of the family?
There are some likely challenges to becoming a plant-based family:
- Spouse or children simply don’t want to
- Difficulty adjusting to new food flavors
- Worries about getting enough nutrients
- Dealing with a critique
While you can handle and overcome the main challenges, your family may not. You will need to slowly and patiently introduce them to this way of eating.
Benefits of Plant-Powered Families
There are many reasons to go plant-based. Health, environment, and animal welfare are the most common reasons. Whatever your reason, your spouse and maybe even your children will likely need to hear about the benefits of a whole food plant based way of eating. There are many ways to get inspired. We’ll start with a couple of inspiring resources, followed by 15 tips for making the transition.
1. Be an Example
If you want to inspire your family, you need to walk the talk. You need to be a role model and take the initiative.
There is no need to convince or convert others. In all likelihood, that will only backfire on you.
The question is: Do YOU want to transition to a whole food plant based diet?
If yes, all you need to do is DO IT.
The great thing is that your family will notice the effect, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Your family may start reflecting and considering how it will benefit them. They will begin to decide for themselves.
In this process, you have done nothing but being a role model.
Thus, simply be an example: Eat whole food plant based.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
2. Have a Positive Approach
If your family is used to eating animal foods, you won’t want to over-emphasize the animal welfare issue.
It’s good to mention it, but people are more inclined to open up for something if the approach is positive.
You wouldn’t want to make your spouse and children feel guilty by continually reminding them of the number of animals killed to feed them.
You indeed save many animal lives when switching to a vegan or plant-based diet. There is no need to deny that.
But, continually telling other people about that will only aggravate them and make them feel guilty.
Besides, it will not help inspire real change.
Why not emphasize the positive?
When you go plant-based, you will open yourself up to a whole array of colorful, flavorful new foods!
You will notice the effect it has on your mood and energy levels.
You will experience all sorts of health benefits.
Focus on these positive aspects instead of instilling fear and guilt.
3. Have Patience
It often takes a while for an idea to settle into someone’s mind.
That also counts for introducing your family to a plant-based lifestyle.
You are going to have to be patient with answering your families’ doubts. Don’t force your ideas.
Be patient with explaining and responding to your families’ concerns. They are real!
If things get heated, you may need to put the idea of becoming a plant-powered family in the fridge for a while.
Patience, patience, patience!
4. Don’t Be Radical
Some people make a dietary switch overnight. They throw out all junk food and go all in.
While that may work for some, for others, it may not.
Being radical is generally not the approach that will aid in transitioning to a plant-based family.
It’s great if your family is open to the idea!
Aim for 100% whole food plant based diet, but start with setting realistic targets.
Slowly introduce new foods (see also #7).
Be open to listening to your family.
If your spouse or kids dislike certain foods, listen to them, and try to find an alternative that works.
There are many ways to make a meal tasty.
Remain open-minded and explore other options.
6. See it as an Experiment
You and your family are going to explore new territory.
You are going to come across things you like and things you dislike.
Switching to a whole food plant based diet is a significant change.
Don’t make your journey difficult. See it as an experiment that you do WITH your family.
Explore food options together and have fun!
7. Slowly Introduce New Foods and Flavors
We all know that it takes a while to get used to new foods and flavors.
I used to eat white bread all the time.
Suddenly I had the idea to eat whole bread. Every time I tried, I almost puked.
It took a while to adjust and like whole bread. Now I can’t live without it!
Though my story is quite extreme and uncommon, the gist is that it may take a while for you and your family to adjust to new flavors.
Slowly introduce new veggies, fruits, grains, and beans into the diet.
Explore the world of spices and plant-based condiments.
There are countless options, but you’ll need to take it step by step.
This one is especially important for kids.
Finding the right vegan desserts is going to be a game-changer.
If you hit the nail right, you’ll have your whole family on-board!
9. Create New Versions of Your Families’ Favorite Recipes
When people think about a whole food plant based diet, they often think about lentil soups, spinach, and quinoa salads.
Let’s be honest. Generally, people have an aversion to those kinds of foods.
They want their pizzas, fries, pancakes, and chocolate cakes.
Well, they can!
Make it a priority to create whole food plant based and oil-free versions of your families’ favorite foods.
Take a look at some of the recipe books in the resources section. You’ll find that there are whole food plant based versions of some of our common foods!
10. One Meal for the Whole Family
It’s best to make a plant-based family meal plan rather than creating different meals for each person.
Preparing multiple meals is going to exhaust you.
The sustainable way is to explore and find out which foods your family loves.
You will create new staple meals that your whole family loves.
11. Have Fun and Be Creative
People think that there are not a lot of options when you decide to eat whole food plant based.
They are wrong.
One of the most exciting things is that this way of eating opens you up to a whole range of new dishes and food combinations.
Have fun and be creative when exploring.
12. Plant-Based Meat Alternatives
We advocate for a whole food plant based diet.
While you are open to that idea, your family may not.
They may be curious and want to explore plant-based meat alternatives like the Beyond Burger first.
While the Beyond Burger is indeed plant based, it is not a whole food.
When eating out, you make things easier for yourself and your family to be okay with eating plant-based meat alternatives at times.
13. Walk the Path Together
Some people need to push the cart on their own.
But often, children are curious and want to join you in your exploration.
Make it a thing to choose plant-based recipes, go shopping, and cook together with your kids, and maybe even your spouse.
There are all kinds of videos on the internet, showing you how to cut vegetables and fruits into funny shapes.
Your kids will love playing with you.
Try to engage them in this way so that you can all walk the path together.
One of the critical success factors is to keep yourself full and not allow yourself to starve.
We all know it is so easy to snack into crisps and chocolate bars.
You’ll need to explore some whole food plant based snack alternatives.
My suggestion is to have lots of healthy snacks available or food prep.
Some examples are whole rice crackers, olives, sliced veggies (carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers, for example) and tons of fruits.
15. Planting a Seed
Even after all your patient and earnest efforts, your family may not be ready to transition. They may never be.
Their decision doesn’t have to change your way of eating.
You and your family may need to come up with a plan to accommodate everyone’s dietary desires, but my advice is for you to stick with a plant-based diet.
It works for you, and you don’t need to adjust your dietary desires for others.
Don’t stress over it, but don’t sacrifice your desires.
In any case, making the transition to a whole food plant based diet is a big decision, and:
Most people are simply not ready…yet.
But never underestimate the power of planting a seed.
Which brings us back to the most important tip: Be the change!
One of my main goals with GingerKale is to help inspire others. I recognize that there are significant challenges to overcome when switching to a whole food plant based lifestyle. One of those challenges is family. There is not a lot of information available about these challenges, which is why I’ve started plant-based lifestyle coaching sessions to help guide you and your family in making the transition.
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