Considering meat-free Mondays or taking on a vegan diet but not sure where to begin? We asked a vegan mum to share why she's raising a vegan family. From the challenges she faced to helpful tips to get you started…
We all know that a plant-based diet is good for us, but how easy is it to go vegan as a family? How do you cater for fussy eaters who only want fish fingers and chips or cheese on toast? Is going vegan with kids even possible? If you’re contemplating going vegan or even just adding more plant-based dishes to your weekly dinner plans, you’re not alone; plant-based diets are well and truly on the rise. If you’re not quite sure where to start or how to take the plunge, fret not – we’ve asked a mum who’s raising her family vegan to give us the lowdown on what vegan family dinner time is all about (and why you should give it a go!)…
TOP TIPS FOR RAISING A VEGAN FAMILY IN SINGAPORE…
Why did you decide to go vegan as a family?
We chose to go on a whole food plant-based diet, initially following my then-fiancé watching What the Health on Netflix, which opened his eyes to the harm that consuming animal products can do to the human body and how the body can thrive from eating a whole food plant-based diet.
After having two grandparents die young, one from cancer and another from a heart attack, he was keen to do all he could to live as long and as healthy as possible, especially as we wanted to have a family. I was totally on board. He read up a lot on it, particularly from science-based studies, and researched what plant-based foods we could get all our essential nutrients from, and then built up our diet from there. So we changed to a vegan diet primarily for health reasons, but the animal welfare and environmental benefits are definitely a bonus.
Did you go vegan from the get-go with your little one?
Yes, we have stuck with a vegan diet from the get-go since having our little boy. I was fortunate enough that I was able to breastfeed him for 18 months which helped our cause, as vegan formula is expensive and hard to find. We buy a lot more processed vegan food now to cater for convenience and our son’s meals (I guess as many parents do), so our diet is not as healthy as we intended when we first started on a whole food plant-based diet.
What challenges do you find when it comes to raising a vegan family?
Our son is two and a half years old, so we haven’t come across too many challenges as yet with regard to raising him vegan. He goes to a nursery daycare three days a week, where they are more than accommodating of our diet choice. I suspect as he gets older, goes to his friends to play or to parties, it may become a bit more difficult to ensure there are vegan options available for him. But we will explain to him as he gets older why we choose to eat as we do so that he can make his own choice as he grows up.
What advice would you give to other parents looking to raise a vegan family in Singapore?
It can be done! You can never research enough, though – I’m still learning. I recommend following relevant vegan/plant-based pages for kids on social media for meal or snack inspiration. Find local cafes, shops and restaurants that offer vegan options so that you know where you can eat on the go. There are some important nutrients that can be hard to come by in plant-based foods, so be sure to source a suitable multivitamin for yourself and your children too.
Have you decided to go vegan? Let us know your top tips via Instagram!