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There are many ways kids realize the connection between the animals they love and the food they eat. And there are many reactions they may have to that realization. One of them is to become a plant-based eater.

If you’re already a vegan eater yourself, you’ll probably have plenty of tools available to help your child easily make the transition into a plant-based diet. But if this is new territory for you, there are many ways to support your child’s success. Here’s how you can help:

1. Educate Yourself

You don’t have to become a fully plant-based eater just because your child is choosing to, but it is important to understand why they’ve made the choice if you want to support them. There is a lot of misinformation about a vegan diet out there, so to save yourself and your child unnecessary stress, you’ll need to separate fact from fiction! After researching a little, you might just want to join in on their adventure!

Above all, communicate and support your child about their choice.

2. Discover the Wide Wonderful World of Vegan Food

Plant-based foods are having a culinary heyday! You can put just about any ingredients into a search bar with the word vegan on the end and find a slew of suitable recipes to try. And really, anything can be veganized. Really, anything. I’m not kidding, anything.

So get in the kitchen and learn to make delicious vegan food with your child. Not only is this an awesome time to hang out together, but you’ll be learning and teaching valuable life skills, and get to eat the amazing meals you make!

3. Help Them Be Prepared

I always bring a delicious vegan dish to a party, and never tell dinner guests that the meal is vegan until after they are raving about it and asking for the recipe. If your child announces their vegan diet to the world, they are likely to be met with resistance, so a softer approach is more likely to be met with lasting success. Equip your kid with snacks and lunches, and have a plan for birthday parties and sleepovers. Discuss vegan options at their favorite restaurant ahead of time. And prepare them for ways to respond to the ‘questions‘ that inevitably arise whenever non-vegans meet a vegan eater.

4. Be Positive and Supportive

Your child will run into people who just don’t understand, are concerned and misinformed, or even threatened by their choice. Encourage your child to be proud of the choice they’ve made, for themselves, for animals, and for the environment. Make the distinction between pride and forcing their views on others; rather, encourage them to lead by example. It won’t take long for others to become curious about their clear skin, shiny hair, great energy, strong muscles, or “vegan glow.”

Also, understand that your child may fall prey to temptations or peer pressure. Be understanding and simply help them back on their plant-based path. Or they may get discouraged. Support them however you can, with knowledge, love, and delicious vegan food!

Image source: USDA/Flickr

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