“I started veggie kids back in 2005 when I quit my job as a fashion designer to become a stay-at-home mum to my sons. I wanted to keep a diary of all of the healthy recipes I was creating for them and for my family. After being diagnosed with a large ovarian cyst, I started researching how plants could heal the body – just two weeks after changing my diet, I was completely healed. That’s all the convincing I needed to know that food is truly medicine and that I wanted to help others feed their bodies and their families healthy foods.
The ethos behind Veggie Kids is to simply help families eat more healthily by incorporating more plants and less processed foods into their lifestyle. The most popular recipes on my site are quick dinner recipes. My thirty minute meals using ten ingredients or less are by far the most viewed, loved and shared; my roast veggie soup, pesto pizza and baked ziti are all hugely popular. You can sign up for a 14-day Makeover Meals Challenge, which provides a two-week meal plan, and shopping guide, and is a helpful way to ease yourself into healthier eating or to make a change – it’s all free.
My older two boys are die-hard vegans. One day, when my oldest son was about 3 years old he asked me where meat came from. I told him it was once an animal and he refused to touch it. He convinced his little brother to be vegan the same way, by simply telling him that the meat was once a living being. Along the way I shared information with them about where our food comes from, how animals are treated and the harm certain foods can do to our bodies. I never included anything gruesome, just facts.
My youngest son started out vegan until about the age of three or four, when he saw my husband (an omnivore) eating meat. He was curious, so my husband let him try some. He’ll now occasionally eat meat. Our house is definitely a mixed bag, but we seem to make it work.
My kids used to get asked about why they didn’t want to eat cheesy pizzas or chicken nuggets like their peers. My boys would very plainly say they “don’t eat that” and they would list all of the other amazing foods they loved. Parents began to listen and even started changing what they packed in their own kids lunches. I’ve always been very proud of my kids’ convictions and their non-judgemental approach. veggie-kids.com
Sarah’s top tips to steer your family towards healthy eating
- Let them see YOU eat more healthily. Our kids watch our every move, whether it’s turning our nose up at peas or munching on cookies when they think we’re not looking. Try getting excited about fresh fruits and vegetables and let them see you eating and enjoying them on a regular basis! With consistency you’re sure to see a change.
- Involve kids in grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking. The more they get their hands on healthy foods, feel the textures, talk about the shapes and colours, the less likely they are to be turned off by it. Ask them to help you meal plan by allowing them to choose one or two meals for the week.
- Give kids choice. Offer young ones a choice between two or three healthy food options and allow them the independence to choose. They’ll feel empowered and you’ll feel happy that they’re eating something healthy.
- Keep only healthy foods accessible to little hands. Wash and cut up fresh produce and put it in a pretty bowl or container that’s easy to grab and go. Make up a trail mix and store it in an easy-to-reach location for little hands.
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