Changing To A Vegetarian Diet With Young Children

Many people are making the transition to a vegetarian diet. There are so many reasons for this and whether you are considering making the switch because of animal welfare concerns, because you want to eat more healthily or simply because meat is becoming increasingly expensive, here are some tips including making home made, healthy smoothies which your children will love and which will help to ensure the transition is a smooth one.

child with vegetables

Making the transition to a vegetarian diet with children could be easier than you think

Changing to a vegetarian diet can be a particular challenge when you have young children as you want to ensure that they receive all the vital nutrients in their diet to ensure they grow up healthy and strong. In addition, you are up against the problem that children have a lot more peer pressure to eat fast foods and snacks they see advertised on TV. Vegetarian food is not going to be as appealing to a young child as all those tempting meals with the accompanying toy or treat.

However, if you make a slow transition rather than an immediate change, children will be much more accepting and start to love the new foods you introduce. Don’t cut out all meat right away, start by making the portions smaller and adding more healthy vegetables and vegetarian side dishes.

The younger your children are, the easier it is to change their eating habits. If they have not yet started at school, it is easy to get them on the right track with healthier alternatives.

Encourage Children To Make Healthy Choices

shopping with children

Shopping at the grocery store is a good time to encourage children to make healthy choices

When you go to the grocery store, talk about the different options available. Encourage them to make healthy choices, don’t get involved in a potentially confrontational situation by asking them what they would like for their snack and then having a problem because they have asked for an unhealthy, non-veggie commercial snack or a chocolate bar. Ask them instead, whether they would like a peach or an apple for their snack or give them a choice between two other healthy foods. That way, everyone wins.

For the school-age child, it is a little harder as they will have to learn to make those healthy choices when they are away from home and with their friends. By involving them in meal-planning at home and in shopping for the weekly groceries, you will be helping them in this decision-making process.

Adding smoothies to the menu is another great way to help children make the transition to the vegetarian lifestyle. Not only are these delicious and nutritious when made at home and free from the less desirable ingredients often found in store-bought versions, they are also a great way of getting even very young children involved in making healthy and nutritious snacks that all the family will love.

In the video below, two delicious smoothie recipes that make a perfect, wholeseome and healthy vegetarian breakfast smoothie for all the family.

In the video above, the smoothie maker used is a Vitamix, you will find several models from this manufacturer reviewed on this site, but you do not need to spend a lot of money to get a great smoothie maker, take a look at our reviews section in the categories list on the right of every page, or take a look at the site index page and you will find many models that will be perfect for a family for between $50 and $100.

Banana and Yogurt Smoothies Recipe

banana smoothie

Yogurt with either banana or strawberry makes a delicious healthy smoothie

Here is a simple banana and yogurt recipe for smoothies you could make with your children and because it does not need ice cubes in the recipe, you could make it in an ordinary blender or liquidizer if you do not have a smoothie maker.

You will need (for each serving)
One ripe banana cut into two or three large chunks
One cup of probiotic, low fat yogurt (choose plain or vanilla flavour)
¾ cup of skimmed or half fat milk
Just place the banana in your blender, add the yogurt, blend until smooth and the gradually blend in the milk. Serve in individual glasses with a sprinkle of cinnamon on the top.

Changing to a vegetarian diet will be a lot easier if you get the family involved and do not try to make the transition too quickly.

Image credit: ilona75 / 123RF Stock Photo

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