My Simple Advice for Dealing with Picky Eaters

You know the deal...

After a long day at work, you put together a simple meal that you're positive that one will actually eat.

You spend 35 minutes throwing down in the kitchen, put his plate down on the table and he declares....

"I'm not eating this. Where's the chicken?"

The struggle is so real! The picky eaters rule the world and we just live in it.

It can be your husband who side-eyes anything with beans in it or your pre-teen who refuses broccoli - no matter how well you season it.

I know this life too well.

Elijah (my middle son) is my picky eater.

His pre-vegan meal of choice was chicken nuggets and french fries...that's about it. He wouldn't even eat anything that was touched by a vegetable (or even fun stuff like macaroni and cheese).

Looking back, I realize I was a big enabler...

I wasn't the most confident about my cooking skills and since my mom never made multiple meals for me (I was her picky eater lol), I wanted to make the vegan transition easier for him.

I would plead with him, make something else, or run out and grab him a separate meal. 

It was exhausting.

His favorite line was, "Don't put it on my plate because I don't want to waste your time." *sigh*

Here's my best tip for dealing with a picky eater... DON'T!

I'm so serious....

  • Do yourself a favor- make only one meal. Make it simple. Make it delicious and make it vegan. I promise your picky eater will not starve if they miss that one meal. They will always find at least one thing to eat on their plates...even if it's just the bread or strawberries. Let them catch up on the next meal. Even if they don't like a certain food, continue to put it on their plate. Exposure is sooo important and I believe this is one of the reasons Elijah started eating vegetables.
  • Be open to experimenting with vegan version of their favorite foods. I made Elijah vegan fried chicken and used Gardein crispy tenders for his "meat" fix.  Make a list of their favorite dishes and get to work veganizing them! 

Elijah has grown to like vegetables over the last several years.

Here are some pictures of him eating my seaweed salad a few months ago....

Elijah still doesn't love everything (he will probably always be a picky eater) but he has come a long way. I'm so happy about his progress!

made a video with him a while ago, and he gave some great tips on how to handle picky eaters in your own family.

Check it out here....

 

How to Plan Vegan School Lunch for Kids (VIDEO)

If you're new to vegan life, the easiest way to transition your kids to vegan school lunches, is by veganizing (make a vegan version) some of the meals they're already enjoying.

Think about it like this.... if your kids love turkey sandwiches - start experimenting with vegan deli slices (I like the Field Roast brand) and use vegan mayo (Just Mayo is a good brand), lettuce, tomato & mustard to make their favorite sandwich vegan. Also, check the ingredients on the bread to ensure that it's vegan (no milk, eggs or butter). 

Try not to overthink it. You want to keep weekly lunches simple for you and delicious for them. :-)

I have an easy formula for making simple and delicious daily lunches....

Main entree + Fruit/Vegetable + Treat/Junk Food + Drink =                                                Vegan School Lunch

I talk about making school lunches and even show you how I put one together for my boys in this video...

Main entree - sandwich (peanut butter and jelly is a great option), burrito, taco, wrap (one with hummus, red bell pepper, lettuce & tomato is an easy option) or leftover soup from dinner in a Thermos

This is a pic of my youngest son, Brandon's lunch from when he was about 6

This is a pic of my youngest son, Brandon's lunch from when he was about 6

Fruit and/or Vegetable - any whole fruit that you have on hand - berries, banana, apple, pineapple, etc. Mini salads with lettuce, tomato, carrot & cucumber served with balsamic vinaigrette or any vegetable and hummus.  If you have older kids, a fruit and vegetable is probably a good idea because they eat more. Smaller kids should get one or the other so they don't waste food.

Treat/Junk Food - Don't skip out on the treat because kids love trading snacks! I know I used to back in the day. Plus, I think it's important for some of their food to look familiar.

Vegan junk food options mentioned in the video: Oreos, plain Lay's potato chips Earth Balance vegan cheddar popcorn, Late July chips (not all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients)
Clif Bar (not all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients) and Stacy's pita chips (not sure if all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients)

There are so many healthy junk food options out there! You can also check out PETA's accidental vegan list for some familiar (not healthy) snack options 

Drink - Water is best but I used to give my boys an organic juice box one week out of the week. You can also send your kids to school with almond or coconut milk (they even sell chocolate flavored versions of these) in a Thermos or drink box.

Remember to keep it simple, get the kids involved and have fun!!

 

Black Folks, Camping and Vegan Food.....Oh My

We had our first camping trip of the season a couple of weeks ago, and let's just say I can't wait to do more with the fam!

I didn't grow up camping and actually didn't go on my first camping trip until I met Eric in my early twenties.

If anyone invited me to go camping back in the day, I would look at them like this....

Sleeping outside in the heat, with bugs, possible rain and not having access to a shower?

Nah, I'm good on that.

I only went on that first trip with Eric because I was trying to impress him while we were dating. lol

I had to make my boo think I was outdoorsy and adventurous. We went with a group of some of his friends and spent the weekend white water rafting, eating cheeseburgers, and taking shots of Bacardi (well I did) to fall asleep. Every little sound made me wake up back then. lol The good ole days.

These days I love taking the kids camping because it forces us to unplug, relax and live in the moment. Nothing better!

Anywho, about the latest camping trip....

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This was the first time we participated in Great American Campout - a night of camping with about 50 other families hosted by our county. There were lots of planned activities.... swimming, archery, canoeing, field games (similar to the ones in elementary school), a bonfire & they even provided dinner and breakfast the next day. All for $10 a person.

We made sure to bring plenty of snacks....I was the only one who didn't like the Earth Balance puffs....they're dry and kind of bland.

This is so lazy but I didn't make food in advance for dinner. Vegan fail!  I figured we would just go up the road if there weren't any vegan options on the menu (I didn't expect there to be much). 

Check this out! There was veggie burgers, vegetarian baked beans, watermelon and potato chips on the menu. I was shocked! Sure there was pasta salad with cheese, hotdogs and other non-vegan food, but the fact that they considered everybody had me dancing like this...

I can't tell you how much I appreciated this! The world is changing, y'all!

Always good times camping with the fam!

Check out our camping trip from last summer (I recorded a video for it, too)

 

Does your family camp? If not, are the bugs and heat stopping you from doing it?

BABY STEP Your Way to A Vegan Lifestyle (VIDEO)

Sometimes it can be difficult to embrace a vegan lifestyle…especially when taking your family along with you.

No worries! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing to get started.

In the latest video, I share some tips to baby step your way into a vegan lifestyle with your family.

Tips from the video:

*Be a vegetarian first by replacing meat with vegan meat alternatives-Replace your chicken with Gardein products, sausage with Field Roast & ground beef with protein crumbles.
*Start replacing dairy with plant-based milk (almond, soy and flax are great alternatives), use Daiya or Follow Your Heart vegan cheese instead of dairy, and Earth Balance vegan margarine
*Read books and watch documentaries-Skinny Bitch, Sistah Vegan, EARTHLINGS, and Forks Over Knives are a few I recommend
*Start with vegan breakfast & snacks-You can replace your conventional pancakes with  vegan ones (the milk is the only difference), enjoy tofu scramble instead of regular eggs, and drink smoothies with (plant-based milk) and oatmeal with Earth Balance margarine instead of dairy
*Commit to ONE vegan meal a week-You can do it! Use Pinterest and my recipe page to get ideas

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get more vlogs and vegan recipes.