Transitioning your kids w/ vegan diet. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-24-2013, 07:34 PM
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I went vegan a month ago & have been working on transitioning my family as well.  My initial motivation was strictly health reasons.  After watching Forks over Knives and reading "Salt, Sugar, Fat," & "The China Project"  I simply felt I needed to get us off of all animal based products and minimize our consumption of processed foods as much as I could for our health.  Since then I have watched Vegucated and found another reason to stay away from animal products!  My husband is very supportive and hasn't had meat in a couple weeks now (he quit meat when I did but caved one day when we went out to eat.) We do alot of green smoothies and dinner is always some spin on veggies & beans or lentils.  I have 13 year old triplets and two have been transitioning fine.  They are very open to the idea and are very complimentary of my new cooking skills.  My other one is not happy with the change.  After reading "Salt, Sugar, Fat,"  I honestly think he is addicted to just that, salt, sugar, and fat. So my question is to those who have been through this, how long does it take to get your kids use to this way of eatting?  Any advice?  I can't control his intake when he is out of the house so I can't get him off junk totally.

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#2 Old 04-25-2013, 12:27 AM
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Welcome to VB!

 

Changing up kids diets late in the game can be VERY difficult. It's doable, but difficult. 

 

My 12 year old son was raised vegetarian and on healthy foods. He's a very smart eater at this point.

 

When I moved in with someone 3 years ago, so did his kids and they were a totally different story than my son, so I've seen both sides of the situation.

 

My roommates kids were picky eaters when they were young so their parents quit trying to serve healthy food and bought them fast food, lunchables and chips, so they "Wouldn't starve." They were 12 and 14 when they moved in here and ALL they knew how to eat were chips and fast food because that's what they'd been served for 12 and 14 years.

 

This was a huge problem, because I don't keep chips in the house, we don't do fast food and each meal I serve is half fruits and veggies.There is ZERO choice about having veggies and fruit on your plate. We don't force anyone to eat said produce, but everyone gets a serving on their plate. For the first six months they lived here, the kids hated healthy food and wouldn't eat even one bite of veggies at first.

 

I hate wasting food but I just kept putting veggies on their plates. After about six months they started to take mini-bites of veggies. After an entire year, one of the kids started eating almost all her veggies and the other one started eating more of them. After another year, both kids were eating healthy most of the time. Now of the kids went vegetarian and on board with healthy eating. The other kid is doing much better than before but is still reluctant and doesn't like that our household is vegan.  

 

Older kids can change if they're continually offered good choices but it can take a while.

 

You don't sound like you've been serving nothing but fast food and junk though. It sounds like you're just trying to improve upon your diets. So, I'd say just keep doing what you're doing and eventually everyone will get on board with healthier meals. 

 

Your one son is likely addicted to junk food. My roommates older kid, the one who is now vegetarian, used to say, "Ice cream and chips are like an addiction" and I've heard other kids say stuff like that too, not to mention adults, so there's gotta be some truth to that. Research shows that the best way to create diet changes late in the game with kids is to change the entire household, so you're already doing exactly what you should be doing. Now, it's just being patient and playing the wait game. 

 

I never, never thought my roommates kids would change, and they did, so it's something I know is possible, but it's also a lot of work - we're three years in now and it's not perfect, but it's a lot better. You're at an advantage because you've got people in your house already on your side. It really helps that your hubs is on board. It's very hard when one parent is reluctant. 

 

PS are those your kids in the picture!? Cute family :) 


~ Jennifer
 
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#3 Old 04-25-2013, 06:50 AM
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My 8 year old is not keen on being a veg*n. It doesn't help that his dad and that side of the family just looooove meat. rolleyes.gif I've decided the best thing I can do is just set a good example. But my S/O is an omni so there is always meat, eggs, and cheese in the house anyway. I'm not ever going to have a completely vegan house unless my S/O decides to switch. I guess it would be different if I had total say in the grocery list and actually had a fighting chance of getting the junk completely out of his diet.

 

If that were the case I'd say....let him have some of the "bad" stuff....just vegan. Bake some cookies at home, make some french fries or sweet potato fries, stuff like that. I have a crazy sweet tooth and if someone one day told me I just couldn't have that stuff anymore I'd go on a rampage. LOL He's old enough to understand the "whys" of veganism. If you give him an outlet for his indulgences, he'll be less likely to grab a milky way from the vending machine.
 

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#4 Old 04-25-2013, 07:13 AM
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Thanks for the reply :) 

   I have always been trying to feed my kids healthier options with the knowledge I had at the time and with the time limits a busy family with a working mom has but we did eat our share of fast food & processed foods..  Most of my one son's junk food has come from outside our home, hanging out with friends, my MIL, school, .....   I thought I was feeding them right (or at least fairly well) at home until I become more educated!  I would say compared to some, our diet didn't have to do a total 180, just certain foods have fallen off the list of things I will have in my house. I know when I send them to my parents house, I will be supported there but everywhere else I am fighting a battle!

  I think the other issue with my one child is his age.  There are days that his teen stage is MUCH harder than all three of them in the infant or toddler stage, lol. He's a good kid, just hitting a stage of rapid change and rapid mood swings. 

  I guess I do need to cut him some slack, small changes are better than no change.  He does honestly notice that he feels better when he eats healthier (he's prone to having mood swings, and stomach aches when his diet is junk) he just loses will power when he starts craving.  I like your idea Shauna, I do need to give him more options to satisfy his cravings.  I dropped the amount of veg in his smoothies and his are mostly fruit now.  I'll try to come up with some more transportable snacks for him.

Jennifer, your post gives me hope.  This isn't a battle I have to win today, I just need to keep plugging along.  He's growing up and I can't control him, all I can do is control what I have in my house and what I spend my money on and set that good example. 

Thanks so much, none of my friends are vegan.  They all think I've gone a bit extreme, lol.  It's nice to find a place for support!!!

(And yes, those are my kiddos~)

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#5 Old 04-25-2013, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelly Ford View Post

Thanks for the reply :) 

 

 

 

 

I guess I do need to cut him some slack, small changes are better than no change.  He does honestly notice that he feels better when he eats healthier (he's prone to having mood swings, and stomach aches when his diet is junk) he just loses will power when he starts craving.  I like your idea Shauna, I do need to give him more options to satisfy his cravings.  I dropped the amount of veg in his smoothies and his are mostly fruit now.  I'll try to come up with some more transportable snacks for him.

Jennifer, your post gives me hope.  This isn't a battle I have to win today, I just need to keep plugging along.  He's growing up and I can't control him, all I can do is control what I have in my house and what I spend my money on and set that good example. 

Small changes are better! That's the right thing to focus on. 

 

One thing I tried hard to do with these kids is to make healthier versions of foods they know and trust. Like homemade fruit roll-ups vs. food colored, sugar filled fruit snacks and homemade pizza with less cheese than what they were used to - now we use vegan cheese and stuff like that.

 

I also pretty much drown them in homemade ice pops in flavors like cookie dough, pumpkin pie, cheesecake and of course lots of fruit and veggie popsicles. BUT I make the ice pops healthier, so it's nowhere near the same as eating actual cookies or cheesecake. I just got one of the kids last week to eat vegan fudge pops where the base was avocado and she liked it

 

Setting a good example is the best thing you can do along with showing kids that healthy doesn't mean lame and tasteless. 


~ Jennifer
 
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