Tips for raising a vegan family in a non-vegan world

shutterstock_110533919Opting to raise a vegan family is choosing a lifestyle that, while completely natural, is still considered as going against the grain.

Instead of feeding your children a diet fueled by animal products, including meat and dairy, you’ve committed yourself to gaining nourishment from plant-based foods that are sourced locally and organically whenever possible.

You understand a vegan diet needs to be well planned, and in doing so you provide your progeny with a host of health benefits. A balanced vegan diet, for example, is touted for reducing risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

And even though veganism is endorsed by reputable studies and organizations, including Dieticians of Canada, vegan families still come under fire from others who don’t share the same dietary concerns.

Below, however, are some tips to help you navigate being a vegan parent in a non-vegan world:

Encourage your children to share

Packing some extra vegan snacks in your children’s lunchboxes to share with friends at schoolis an easy way to show others their diet isn’t so different. Also, consider hosting a vegan potluck with friends and familiesin your school community or neighbourhood who are interested in learning more about veganism. As you exchange recipes, you’ll find most barely notice the scrumptious spread before them is meat, egg and dairy-free.

Have a script ready for your critics

Be prepared for questions from family members, neighbours and staff at school who don’t understand the health benefits of a vegan diet. They’re going to ask you how your child gets enough protein, so have an answer in your back pocket. Point to protein-packed leafy green vegetables, grains like quinoa, as well as beans, including the wide variety of healthy and delicious soy-based Tofutti products.

Get the kids involved

Remember, you’re not alone in the quest for optimum health. By getting your kids involved in shopping, cooking meals and exploring the foods of other cultures thatenjoy predominantly vegan diets, you’re teaching them to take ownership of their health, and to consider the ethics of their choices. In so doing, you’ll find that many people support and share your decision to raise a vegan family.

What tips do you have for raising a vegan child?