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Tips For Kids

The Picky Eater

Most children are picky eaters and they often reject the idea of trying new and different foods. One important thing to remember when transitioning you picky eater is that changing their diet will not miraculously change their picky eating habits. It is something that takes time and consistency from both the parent and the child. In the beginging it is important to focus on the foods that your child likes and try to build their diet from there. For instance, if you know that your child likes black bean tacos, try incorporating a new vegetable into it the next time you make tacos.” Or if your child likes pasta with marinara sauce, try blending in some additional veggies into the sauce. Another great thing to do is to “veganize” foods that they already like. Also try to encourage your child to try new things at least once. It will help eliminate any pressure and encourage them to develop an open mind about trying different foods. If they don’t like it, that’s ok. Just try something else or prepare it in a different way.Remember changing anyone’s diet can be difficult in the beginning so take your time and remember the process will require some stealth and creativity. Years ago my son wouldn't touch kale, now he calls himself the "kale salad king" so be patient. Your children will surprise you.

Cook Together

Cooking together with your child is not only fun but it also allows them to find new and creative ways to introduce new foods into their diet. Children tend to enjoy the creative cooking process so try challenging your child to find different ways to incorporate new foods into their meals.  In our home my son makes our family fruit salads to go with our meals. He also loves experimenting with different fruits for juices and smoothies.

Play With Food

We always tell our children “not” to play with their food, but that takes all the fun out of eating. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a little fun with your food. It helps  keep children interested in what their eating and it encourages them to try different foods. So trying making funny fruit and veggie platters, or even let them decorate their pancakes or waffles with extra fruit and veggies and watch them become more and more involved in what they eat.

Keep It Real

One of the most useful and important tactics parents should use is honest. Sometimes we forget to teach our children “why” we are making certain decisions. So whether you are transitioning your child’s diet for health reasons or ethical reasons be sure to explain it to them. As they grow older they will become more understanding and confident in their lifestyle changes.

Dealing With Other People

First of all you must be prepared to deal with lots crazy and not so crazy questions from other people. Although plant based vegan diets are becoming more and more popular, it is still a lifestyle that is foreign to so many people. You and your children will unfortunately spend a lot of time explaining your diet to people. Yes, it can be frustrating but it is very important to prepare your child to answer questions about their diet. Make sure they know what ingredients they can and cannot eat.If your child is old enough to attend school be sure to have a conversation with his or her teacher and explain your child’s restrictions to prevent them from giving him or her any unapproved food or snacks. In fact, it is a good idea to send your child to school with snacks and treats of your choice, and maybe even bring some to share with his or her classmates. The same method is useful when taking your child to parties or gatherings. Be sure to pack something for your child to eat or bring some snacks or fruit platters to share with the other children so that your child doesn't feel left out.If you are unfamiliar with vegan snack brands, you can sign up for a monthly subscription box like Vegan Cuts. And you can have 7-10 new vegan snack shipped directly to your home every month for under $20 a month. Just visit http://vegancuts.com/snackbox

Keep Healthy Food Around

Keeping an abundance of healthy food around is essential to transitioning into a healthy diet so be sure to keep lots of good healthy food around. Most children love fruit. In fact most children prefer to eat fruit in comparison to most other food, so try to always have fresh fruit available and keep your freezer stocked with frozen fruit like bananas, strawberries, mango and pineapple for quick smoothies.

Be Sneaky

Yes,  honesty is the best policy, but sometimes it can be difficult to convince children to eat things like carrots, spinach, flax seeds and such. Sometimes it is easy to be a little sneaky with your child at first. So, if your child doesn’t like a particular vegetable, nut, or seed try blending it up into marinara sauce and pouring it over pasta, or try sneaking it into a smoothie. Most of the time they won’t even know the difference. You can always confess after the fact and your child will see that certain foods aren't as bad as they once thought.

Stay Consistent

It's super important to remember that this process may not always be easy. Kids are already very picky eaters and that is not necessarily going to change. So remember to stay consistent and open minded. No one knows your child better that you, so make sure that you chose the methods that are best for you and your family. Some people respond very well to cutting things out cold turkey. However there are some people that do better with cutting things out little by little. So do what work best for you and stay consistent

Things to Teach

One of the most important things you should teach your child is to read food labels. Teaching your child to identify "bad" ingredients will not only teach them the difference between real food vs. fake food, it will also teach them some accountability. Most parents and adults know that "Yellow 5" and "Red 40" are not foods. We also know that processed foods are often full of hidden animal products and dangerous chemicals that cause allergies, obesity, high blood pressure and even cancer. So why not share that information with your child. Start teaching your children to know the difference while they are young and save them the hassle of learning these things when they grow up.This may seem like a heavy task because there are so many processed foods that contain terrible ingredients but this will ultimately help you and your child veer away from processed foods altogether. One good rule to teach your child is “if you can’t recognize an ingredient, neither will your body.” Most dangerous ingredients are easy to notice because they are usually colors, numbers or extremely long words that even most adults can’t pronounce.For a list of ingredients to avoid visit: http://www.purezing.com/living/toxins/living_toxins_dangerousingredients.html or http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/quality-standards/unacceptable-ingredients-food

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