Travis has begun asking questions about why we eat vegan, questions which I’m always more than happy to answer, whether from a health standpoint, or how it helps the earth, or how it’s good for the animals.
As far as health goes, it can help kids to have a visual, so today we set up a little game and thought about what a healthy meal looks like. Obviously this works in every household, whether you’re vegan or not, but it drives home the idea that many foods (most, in fact!) are vegan, and everyone benefits from filling their plate with plant-based items like fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains.
As a bonus, there’s some fractions involved. First I asked Travis to draw a line dividing his plate in half. He had to think about this for a moment before making a big blue line. That was exactly right, I told him, since at every meal we want half of our plate to be filled with veggies and fruits.
Next he divided one of those halves with a second line, and I told him he’d made quarters. One quarter was for grains and one for protein. We talked about what both of these words meant; sometimes we forget the obvious, like how Travis didn’t realize bread was made from grains.
Next we filled our plates! On the first we used real food. I presented him with different foods, and he had to decide where each went.
He was so thrilled with how our plate divided up, and asked if he could eat it all; he almost couldn’t believe it when the answer was yes, why not!
Next, we went through a magazine and cut up pictures to fill each of our categories, and glued these onto a second plate. This gave us a slightly more permanent visual to refer back to.
Obviously this is a simplified way to talk about a healthy diet, but it’s a great way to get kids thinking about it.