How to eat a plant-based diet in a non-vegan family
Changing a lifetime of habits and transitioning yourself to a plant-based diet can be hard enough without being surrounded by a household that are still eating meat and/or dairy products.
The effort of preparing and cooking two meals for a household can be a huge demotivator, especially for people who are new to a plant-based diet.
In this article I’ll go over the 5 below actions you can take to make this transition a bit easier, and maybe even convince someone in your household to transition with you!
- Add meat separately
- Be willing to compromise
- Introduce mock meats
- Be prepared
- Stay positive
I’d love to hear your experiences of transitioning to a plant-based diet in a non-vegan family. Let me know how you found it in the comment section below.
ADD MEAT SEPARATELY
Preparing meat separately is never going to be the easiest option, whether you’re transitioning as a vegan for animal welfare or to a plant-based diet for health reasons.
Depending on your reasons for moving away from a meat and dairy diet this option is less than ideal - whether that’s down to ethics, time pressures or the temptation to return to old habits.
Fajitas is a great example of how this could work. Veggies in one pan and chicken in a separate pan. Then everyone builds their own fajitas.
This would be more of a drain if you’re the only person in your house who cooks so this could be a good opportunity to talk to the other members in your household to discuss splitting the cooking so it doesn’t all sit with you.
cook separate meals
This option is more preferable to cooking the meat separately but does depend on how supportive the other people in your household are.
All you need to worry about is what you’re going to eat and another adult in your household can worry about everyone else.
This is going to take all of the stress away from trying to navigate tricky dietary requirements or find a way to please everyone.
Be willing to compromise
I don’t mean that YOU need to compromise, it’s important in this situation that everyone in the house is willing to compromise.
If this is something that is important to you then your family or household need to be supportive of this and a compromise from both sides is a great starting point to get everyone talking about how a move to a plant-based diet can fit with everyone’s preferences.
There are some easy ways to accomplish this without anyone in the household having to bend too far.
Consider having a main dish of chicken with a few different vegetable sides for you to help yourself to.
Alternatively you could have a vegetable main dish like our Tomato and Bean Bake with some chicken on the side.
Choose food that can be either meat or vegan. For instance, you could have pies that come as both meat and meat free options.
Hop on the Meat Free Monday trend and have one or two meat free days every week.
Any of these compromises mean that you can continue to eat a plant-based diet but that it fits into your lifestyle smoothly.
Although this does involve compromise it will make it easier for you and help you cut the meat and dairy for good!
introduce mock meats
A great way to mix plant-based food with meat-eating habits.
Yes they’re processed and not overly healthy but this could be a great option for compromise.
There are plant-based options for burgers, sausages and chicken that taste really good!
Incorporate these into your diet by switching out the meat in the meals you already eat so that no one feels like they have to compromise.
If you want to try some new plant-based meals but still incorporate those meat alternatives then take a look at our Chorizo and Vegetable Traybake recipe.
This seems to be a tip for any situation and that’s because being prepared makes whatever you’re trying to do easier.
If your family are ordering a takeaway or going it for a meal it will be easier for you to choose the best option if you know what you want before you get there rather than being distracted by the rest of the menu.
Similarly at home, if you have plant-based snacks available and know what you’re going to eat for your meals throughout the day it will be easier to manage this around what the other members in your household will be eating.
Planning is particularly important if you’re the chef in your house and you're cooking for meat and non-meat eaters.
Feeling like you’re constantly hungry can be a real demotivator.
This is why you need to make sure that you’re eating tons of low calorie dense foods.
A couple of wraps packed full of BBQ tofu, lettuce, red cabbage and onion make a filling lunch and can easily be adapted for the rest of your household with BBQ chicken instead of tofu.
For a hearty dinner recipe take a look at our Chorizo Vegetable Traybake recipe.
Although the plant-based sausages aren’t low in calories this is still a meal packed full of healthy veggies that is filling and satisfying.
Who knows - all that healthy and delicious food may even convince some members of your household to join you!
Nobody likes to be preached to and it’s often what has the most negative connotations for the vegan community.
Don’t pressure your family into eating less meat and dairy, don't spend time and effort giving them all the gory details of the meat and dairy industry. This is almost guaranteed to turn them completely against the idea.
Instead keep making amazing food, introducing them to delicious and healthy plant-based foods and show them in a positive light how easy, delicious and healthy it is to eat a vegan diet.
The above steps are always going to be easier with a family that is supportive of your decision to eat plant-based food.
If you’re in a household that isn’t as supportive the most important thing you can do is stay positive and keep going. Even a small step forward is still a step in the right direction.
Don’t forget to share your experience of transitioning to a plant-based diet in a non-vegan household in the comment section below.
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