If you’re considering moving to a vegetarian diet as an adult, you probably want to pass on this good nutrition and improved way of eating to your family as well. In fact, it’s your responsibility as a parent to nurture your children and help them develop physically, mentally and spiritually.
But that can be hard to do, especially in a culture where our children are bombarded with messages from fast food restaurants in the media. How do you teach kids to resist the siren song of Ronald McDonald? There isn’t a plate of vegetables on the planet that’s going to look as good to them as a Happy Meal!
You have to start slowly to change not only your own eating patterns, but your family’s as well. Like any other dietary endeavor, it starts at the grocery store. Begin stocking the refrigerator with healthy snacks like apples and carrots. Eat good, chewy brown rice instead of white rice or other processed side dishes, which can be very high in fat and sodium. Make meat portions smaller and smaller and start incorporating more vegetables and grains in your family dinners.
Don’t make changes all at once. If you do give in and stop at a fast food restaurant, get fruit or yogurt in addition to or part of that meal. Make the changes so gradual that they’ll never notice their diets are changing. Kids are usually very sympathetic about animals, and it’s not too early to talk to them about eating in a way that isn’t cruel to animals.
You’ll be doing them a favor that will last them a lifetime. With childhood obesity at epidemic levels in the U.S., you will be setting up your children for lifelong eating habits that will help ensure a long and healthy life.