Everyone knows that eating more plants is good for us. And it's no secret that getting kids to eat what we want them to eat can be a challenge. But transitioning your kids to a plant-based diet? That can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Here are my tips and tricks for transitioning your kids to a plant-based diet.
1. Set an Example. Any parent will tell you that kids notice everything – from the swear words we let slip out to the foods we put on our plates. So when our kids see us consistently making healthy choices, they are more inclined to follow our behavior and choose the same types of foods.
2. Teach Them Why. For kids who are old enough teach them why eating a plant-based diet is best. Explain how plant foods help them become big and strong, think well in class and have more energy for activities and sports. But don’t stop there. Teach them to love all animals – not just pets – and explain to them why eating animal foods is harmful to our planet.
3. Let Them Help With Planning and Shopping. Kids love being part of whatever we are doing, and giving them a role to play in meal planning and shopping will get them excited and invested in the process. Let them choose a few of their snacks or meals from a vegan recipe blog or book, and ask them to find the ingredients at the grocery store.
4. Let Them Help With Cooking. From the time I was 1 or 2 years old, my mother had me helping her in the kitchen. From pouring flour into the mixing bowl, to pushing a button on the blender, to licking the batter off a spoon, helping my mom in the kitchen made me feel important. Get your kids involved in cooking and baking and they will be much more interested in eating the foods that come out of your kitchen.
5. Start a Garden, Get Involved in a Co-op or Take Them to the Farmer’s Market. Teaching your kids where their foods come from is an important part of their investment in eating plants. Putting broccoli on your kid’s plate without giving them any choice or explanation may feel forced, but when they play a role in growing or picking that broccoli, they are more likely to appreciate it and the other plant foods they are given to eat.
6. Make Smoothies a Staple. The consistency. The taste. Who doesn’t love a smoothie? Smoothies are a great way to sneak in greens and veggies that kids may resist at first, but will gladly drink up when sweetened by fruit and masked by flavors they love, like chocolate (cacao powder) or peanut butter (for kids without peanut allergies), or both! You can even reach out to Squeeze'D who often teach kids how to make smoothies!
7. Transition with Mock Meats. Mock meats, or meat alternatives, are processed foods made to mirror the aesthetic qualities (texture, flavor and appearance) of real meat, i.e., Garden crispy “chicken” fingers. They are usually soy-based or gluten-based. While I don’t recommend mock meats as a staple in any household since they are processed rather than whole foods, they can be key for helping kids (and adults) transition away from animal meat and into the plant-based world. And even after transitioning, once in a while, a meal made with mock meat is perfectly ok too.
8. Make Everything Cheesy. Kids love cheese. And by kids, I mean us big kids too. Rather than taking away your kids’ favorite foods like pizza and pasta with cheese, substitute the cheese with vegan nut-based options, or make your own cheesy sauce using nutritional yeast. Try this recipe by one of my favorite plant-based food bloggers: ohsheglows at http://ohsheglows.com/2011/08/18/quick-dirty-5-ingredient-vegan-cheeze-sauce-recipe-challenge/
9. Listen to What They Like and Dislike. Don’t fret if your kid won’t touch brussel sprouts or refuses to eat string beans. Find what he or she does like and build off of that. We don’t need to eat every vegetable, fruit, grain, legume, nut or seed in order to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. Of course, teaching our kids to “eat the rainbow” is a great goal, but forcing things on them is counterproductive. In addition, if they don’t like something, don’t give up – ask them what they didn’t like about it. Was it the texture, consistency, temperature, taste? Try serving it differently the next time, i.e., raw, cooked, in a sauce, in a smoothie, etc.
10. Make it Playful. The more we can incorporate fun and play into food choices and mealtime, the more our kids will engage. Come up with fun names for smoothies, like “Green Monster Smoothie,” “Superhero’s Brew” or “Cherry Berry Banana Split.” Dip fruits and veggies in creative sauces. Use cookie cutters and kitchen tools to make veggies and fruits into fun shapes. Use etsy.com for inspiration around holiday time. The possibilities are endless.
11. Have a Rewards System. Especially in the early days of transitioning, it is normal for kids to resist. Give them praise and have a rewards system for each time they try something new.
12. Take Baby Steps. Changing things too quickly can be a recipe for failure. If your kids are accustomed to eating processed foods and animal products, expecting them to switch to a whole food, plant-based diet overnight may be too drastic a change. The goal should be progress, not perfection.
13. Incorporate Lots of Treats. There is no shortage of vegan treats for purchase nowadays, and there are plenty of recipes too. And, they are just as delicious – if not more – than traditional treats and deserts. We can’t expect our kids to eat carrot sticks all day long, while the kids next to them at school are chowing down on potato chips and chocolate milk. Keeping kids’ taste buds tantalized will go a long with towards keeping them satisfied with their plant-based diet.
14. Get Recipe Support. If you are new to the plant-based world, you may be struggling with inspiration for meals. There are many terrific vegan recipe books and blogs to choose from, but my favorite option is this very reasonably priced app called the Plant Power Meal Planner, created by my heroes in the plant-based movement, Rich Roll and his wife Julie Piatt. Check it out here: https://meals.richroll.com/ and be sure to choose The Plant Power Way meal plan, which is inspired by Rich and Julie’s family meals.
15. Get Community Support. Deviations from the standard American diet will inevitably attract criticism. I’ve encountered a lot of this over the years myself. It is important to keep in mind that anything that makes others to question their own truths about how they eat will often cause resistance as a defense mechanism. While it is not necessary to sell everyone in your social circle on why a plant-based diet is optimal for health, it is important to stand your ground and not be swayed by uninformed naysayers. I recommend joining groups of like-minded people both online and in your local community. For example, search for relevant Facebook groups like “Vegan Moms and Babies” or try searching for a Plant Pure Pod in your area: https://www.plantpurepods.com/about/. Not only are these communities great for moral support, but also they are terrific for educational tools and tips, as well as recipes. I sincerely hope this list helps you and your family transition towards better health and longevity. I’d love to hear your feedback, challenges and successes along the way. I respond to all emails: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESSENTIAL OIL OF THE MONTH
Our most popular oil, Lavender has been cherished for its unmistakable aroma and its beneficial properties for thousands of years. Lavender is widely used and accepted for its calming and relaxing qualities.* For aromatic, topical, or dietary use. For more information on Lavender essential oil click Here.
AUGUST EVENTS 2017
We're doing a fundraiser to help raise money for Bend To Mend. Bend To Mend 501(c)3 project is a local Jersey City Non-profit which collects items such as hygienic supplies, clothing, non perishable items, and more and donates them to local organizations in the community like local high schools.
BEND TO MEND - MALA BRACELETS
About the bracelets…
Your bracelet is hand made from natural beads that have pewter or bronze charms attached. These bracelets were made by Anayra Calderon, founder of Bend to Mend, Inc., a 501(c)3 not for profit organization created to help local Jersey City families from William L. Dickinson High School where Anayra used to be a high school teacher. 100% of your $10 contribution will be donated to Bend to Mend’s Yoga Teacher Training Project which will give scholarships to individuals who want to become certified yoga teachers.
If you would like to learn more about the teacher training project please visit our generosity campaign at www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/200-hour-yoga-teacher-training-service-project
If you would like to learn more about Bend to Mend please visit www.bendtomendcharity.com
PROMO OF THE MONTH
So we've partnered with Anayra Calderon of Bend To Mend and this month we're happy to offer our
1 Day Detox + 1 Ginger Root Shot + One hand made (by Bend To Mend) Mala Bracelet! All for $49! From each package sold we donate $10 to Bend to Mend!
So that's 6 freshly cold pressed cleanse juices, 3 Greens, 1 Red, 2 Orange, 1 fresh slow pressed Ginger Root shot and 1 Mala Bracelet - all for only $49!! Packaged in beautiful NEW jars, each order is freshly made. Juices made using the following freshest ingredients: Spinach, Kale, Cucumber, Apple, Carrot, Orange, Organic Ginger, Lemon, Lime. Pickup and delivery available. Final confirmation will be made once your order is received.
TO ORDER CLICK HERE
WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!
Packages are available for pickup Tuesday thru Sunday from 10am - 1p
Delivery on Friday 10a - 1p & Tuesday 9a - 11a (Jersey City Only)
RECIPES OF THE MONTH
This month we wanted to give you more than one option to choose from so that you can begin to incorporate some plant based options into your kitchen time. We hope you try one or all of these awesome recipes! Have fun trying something new!
30-MINUTE PORTOBELLO & BEAN CHILI
3 Portobello Mushroom (cleaned and chopped)
1 Onion (chopped)
1 Clove Garlic (chopped)
2 Carrots (shredded)
1 Can Organic Crushed Tomatoes (14 oz)
1 Can Organic Beans (14 oz, strained and rinsed)
1 Sweet Tablespoon Paprika
½ Tablespoon Cumin (optional)
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
In medium saucepan heat 2 Tablespoons avocado Oil over medium heat.
Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, carrots, cumin, paprika, salt, and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add the canned tomatoes, beans, and maple syrup and bring to a simmer.
Adjust heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Check flavor and add more salt and maple syrup in necessary.
Serve with a side of rice or tortilla chips if desired.
Blueberry Immune Booster
4-5 Cubes of Ice
Handful of Spinach
Handful of Kale
1/2 Cup Blueberry
1/4 Cup or 1 Ring Slice of Pineapple
1 Cup Coconut Water or Filtered Water
Sweeten with Dates 2/3 or Organic Agave (To Taste)
Makes One serving
3 Zucchinis, grated (Use a cheese grater). Drain a bit of the excess water
1 Cup Nut Butter (Cashew Butter is my favorite so far, though Almond Butter was relish too. Peanut Butter is the most economical choice and will also work great)
1/4 cup real Maple syrup
3 Tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp each: Vanilla, Cinnamon, Baking soda
Dash or two of Nutmeg
1 cup dark Chocolate Chips (choose a brand that has less than 8 grams of sugar per serving)
Optional Mix-Ins: Chopped Almonds, Coconut Flakes, Hemp Hearts, Crystallized Ginger, Walnuts, etc
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips together in a medium bowl. When well combined, add the chocolate chips and optional add ins. Bake at 350 for 35-55 minutes in a 9X9 pan, depending on how much water you drain from the grated zucchini. Without draining anything, it took 55 minutes to bake. When squeezed a bit with some paper towels, cuts the baking time to 45 minutes.
Your dinner recipe was provided by our good friends at Graze and Braise. If you'd like to see more information on them, click here.
Read more about them below
Founder & Chef Ayaz Adiguzelli pursued his passion for food and graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, NY in 2005. As he furthered his career in a variety of food related fields, he found it difficult to find healthy and wholesome meals that also tasted great. Many healthy food options were bland and unexciting. Other options were just inconvenient for a busy lifestyle or too pricey. Ayaz aimed to create a service catered to the young professionals that was healthy, convenient, and of course tasted delicious. That's when Graze & Braise was born.
Being a food purist, Ayaz has always been attracted to a philosophy of food that revolves around the slow food and local food movement. He believes food should be creative, delicious, and the ingredients should be the star of the meal. He utilizes his previous experience in butchering and culinary arts to create familiar dishes that uphold Paleo guidelines. He believes food can be healthy, gluten-free, Paleo, and still taste amazing. He believes food should be made with love and Graze & Braise meals certainly are.