Transitioning to plant-based diets can be very complex and challenging. As a parent, it is very important to become familiar with this lifestyle if you or your children are considering becoming or are already eating as a vegetarian or vegan. I have been vegetarian for two years but lately have begun eating more vegan options when possible.

Through my process of cutting out meat, seafood, and dairy milk, I have learned a lot about the different types of recipes and substances that I need to be consuming. For instance, I now take B12 vitamins in order to compensate for the lack of B12 in my diet as a result of eliminating meat from my diet. Though there are many assumptions surrounding plant-based diets, a little research and small changes can impact your life. 

There are plenty of snacks and meals beyond salads that provide the fiber, protein, and all other components necessary for proper health and nutrition. I have  included quinoa, chickpeas, cauliflower, legumes, and more in my daily diet. Further, some specific brands that I love are Gardein and Morningstar, which provide alternative meat products. These make for very convenient dinners that typically revolve around meat dishes, such as chicken or burgers. 

If the environment is a key factor in your diet transition, it is also important to research the impact different products have. For example, though non-dairy milk has become popular, it took me awhile before realizing that almond and soy milk have detrimental impacts on the environment—equivalent to that of dairy milk. Good alternatives for anyone interested include oat milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk. 

Luckily for me, most of my family and friends are very supportive of my decision, though I still get teased for it a lot by others. It is very important to support your children’s decisions to change their lifestyle. It makes transitioning to these types of diets, or just simply including more options into a meat diet, much easier and more welcoming. Though it can be difficult, with time and research you or your children will be able to find healthier ways to eat.