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. Exchange good, chewy brown rice for white rice and processed side dishes, which are so 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.
If you’ve had a health scare and feel the need to change everything at once, make sure you include a lot of variety in the foods you buy as you begin to discover new flavors and textures that you’ll like to replace the ones you’re used to eating. If you don’t need to make a dramatic change all at once, you’ll have a much greater chance of long-term success if you take it slow.
Reduce the amount of red meat that you eat on a weekly basis, even if it means substituting pasta with marinara sauce for meat just one night a week. Increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables you eat. Start with raw vegetables at night before dinner so you’re not so hungry when you get to the main meal. Start reversing the proportions of meat and vegetables and make meat a side dish, with vegetables and grains your main course.
We’re creatures of habit and resistant to change. This is why so many diets fail, because we make drastic changes to facilitate dramatic results, quickly. This is a decision and a change you want to make for a lifetime. Make it a natural and gradual change and you can look forward to many more years of healthy living.
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This article is presented with the sole purpose to inform the reader of the vegetarian (vegan) lifestyle and of dietary choices that the reader may wish to make.
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