Vegan Curious? It’s Not as Hard as You Think :: 6 Tips

My whole family went from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan over two years. This was eight years ago, and we’re not going back. After learning of the health benefits, environmental benefits, and animal benefits, we decided it was the right choice for our family. Whether you are ready to go all-in or are simply vegan-curious, here are some great ways to get started!

We have found that once you create your own guidelines to decide what is right for your family, it’s not as hard as you think.

First of all, what does vegan mean?

  • Vegan means that you don’t eat or use any animal products in your lifestyle. That includes meat, eggs, dairy, gelatin, silk, leather, etc.
  • A plant-based diet specifically refers to eating whole, plant-based food.
  • Vegetarians don’t eat meat, but they do consume dairy and eggs.
  • Pescatarians forgo the red meat but will eat fish.

When you decide to explore a vegan, plant-based, or vegetarian lifestyle, there are plenty of ways to get started.

Here are six tips for the vegan-curious family:

1. Figure out what’s right for your family.

Ultimately, the goal of eating plant-based will be to help the environment, increase your health, or reduce harm to animals. In reality, every time you forego animal products, you are helping. You don’t have to be a full, 100% vegan to do that. You can start small and expand from there.

Meatless Monday is an option that can seem less daunting than 100% no meat. This can allow you and your family to explore new food choices once a week without having to change your whole lifestyle. Here’s a great kid-friendly vegan pancake recipe that you can try.

Keep in mind, every time you eat an animal-free meal, you help your health, help the earth, and save an animal. Think about what going from zero animal-free meals a week to three animal-free meals will do. That’s three times you are exploring the many plant-based options that are available!

You’ve got to start somewhere! If that’s with three meals, that is perfectly fine.

2. Explain why you are doing it and get the family’s buy in.

There are many reasons for changing a family’s diet. These reasons will be specific to your family. Talk to the kids about it. Keep them involved with the food.

At the store, we showed our kids (ages two and four at the time) all of the vegan options. We bought vegan versions of foods we already ate, like nuggets and milk. We also opted for items we hadn’t tried before like lentils. This allowed us to explore these new and not-so-new foods as a family.

3. Explore new foods as a family.

When I take my kids to the store with me, we will choose a fruit or vegetable that we don’t typically eat. My daughter recently chose starfruit which was really fun to eat! It’s crunchy like an apple but sweeter. On the other hand, we learned that only dad likes eggplant . . . not every food is a winner!

Vegan Curious? It’s Not As Hard As You Think: 6 Tips4. Consider vegan foods you already love.

Have you ever made your kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of fruit and potato chips for lunch? Well . . . that’s a vegan meal! Those Oreos you all snack on? Also vegan. You are probably already eating vegan meals or at least vegan parts of meals. Take note of main dishes, sides, or desserts that you don’t have to change. You can serve vegan dishes with little to no work.

Also, many vegan options are very close to their meat counterpart. Consider adding vegan “meatballs” to your spaghetti. Many different burger substitutes are extremely close to vegan meat. Check out Impossible or Beyond Burger for some realistic “meats.” Many simple substitutions can easily reduce your meat consumption.

5. Find restaurants you love.

You don’t have to make trying vegan a chore. Take advantage of local vegan restaurants or restaurants with vegan options. Here are some delicious vegan restaurants in Boise.

6. Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality.

When you are thinking of exploring vegan options, you can start small. Replace the milk in a recipe with soy milk. Or start with one meal at a time to see what you and your family like. Try Meatless Monday to explore new meals one day a week.

These tips will help the vegan-curious start a healthy, vegan journey. Keep in mind that something is better than nothing!

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Boise Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

Erin Rodriguez
Erin and her husband have two kids (2012 and 2013) who keep them very busy. Her family moved to Boise in 2020 from Phoenix and love the four seasons and the many outdoor activities. When she's not driving her kids around to multiple sports, you can find her practicing aerial arts or simply reading a book. Erin loves to travel with her family as often as possible. She is delighted to be a part of Boise Mom and can't wait to share her experiences with moms in the Treasure Valley.


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