posted April 20, 2021
Guest Post by Christin Bummer
If I had a penny for every time I heard a frazzled mama say, “I’ve been wanting to be vegan (or plant-based, or to eat healthier) but my family would never go for it,” I’d spend it all on a PSA to let you all know that you are not alone.
As mothers we carry the weight of responsibility for keeping our homes and families together. It involves making sure homework gets done and turned in. Making appointments for dentists, doctors, counselors, therapists. Transportation to all the places.
But there are so many decisions. We’re choosing which extra-curricular activities to pursue, which laundry detergent to use that won’t irritate anyone’s skin nor break the bank. We’re deciding how much to buy—of everything—shoes, clothes, toothpaste, and even toilet paper.
We choose the best food we can afford that they’ll (hopefully) eat. We choose plain Cheerios over Lucky Charms. Natural sweeteners instead of HFCS. Trail mix over beef jerky. Organic and non-GMO. And at least a few fruits and vegetables to balance out the junk food they still find every time you turn around.
It’s no easy feat.
The last thing on your mind is overhauling everything by insisting on healthier food. After all, what’s one more pizza night?
You know it’s not ideal for them, and it’s not so great for your waistline either!
- What if it was possible to make healthy food and eat it too, even if no one else wanted to join you?
- What if you could feel more authentic and satisfied with your own lifestyle choices?
- What if there was a simple way to empower your entire family (you included) to eat whatever they choose to eat?
- What if you could lead by example instead of feeling like a dictator all the time?
Picture having a Chipotle-style restaurant in your own home where every customer (your partner and kiddos) can go down the line and choose their own adventure. One wants a burrito bowl, another wants a quesadilla, another will have the soft tacos, and you want a giant taco salad. No problemo!
Here’s how you can pull this off in less than 15 minutes:
- Throw some boil-in-bag rice on the stove.
- Chop bell peppers and onions.
- Sauté the onions and bell peppers in the skillet with some lime juice to get them nicely caramelized.
- Open a couple cans of black beans or refried beans and heat them on the stove. Add taco seasoning if desired.
- Heat up soft taco shells on a griddle pan. Spread half of each one with hummus. Add black beans and any other fillings. After about 5 minutes, fold shells in half and press gently to form a cheese-less quesadilla. Flip after 2-3 more minutes to brown gently on both sides.
- If your family wants to add meat and dairy, teach them how to prepare these items to contribute to the family buffet! Or, you can prepare it and allow them to choose it (or not!). That’s up to you and how you’re approaching veganism in your own family.
- While the beans and veggies are finishing cooking, chop some lettuce and tomato, and take a deep breath. You’re on the home stretch.
Empower one of your youngsters to set up a small bowl for each ingredient and a plate for each person. When the buffet opens, they each get to choose their own base (rice, salad, or soft tacos), select their beans (or not!), choose their veggies, and add their favorite toppings. Add salsa and/or avocado for flavor fireworks, and you’ve got one happy family with several personalized meals. Score!
This same system can be applied to many different kinds of meals. You can honor your own choices while honoring your family’s autonomy as well. It’s a way to bring more sanity, harmony, and peace into your household. Less battling, more bonding.
At the end of the day, finding simple ways to meet your own needs is not only well-deserved, it’s an act of service. When you’re fueling your body with food that makes you feel great, you’re setting a wonderful example for your family, and you’ll be primed to lead them through whatever challenges lie ahead.