10 Tips for Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet {With Family}

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Transitioning to a plant-based diet can be challenging. Add children, spouses, and/or partners to the mix and it can feel like an uphill battle.  



I assure you it’s possible.


Becoming a plant-based family wasn’t our goal but it happened. Our goal was to improve our health and lower our cholesterol and within a short period (on a plant-based diet) we achieved great results. 


Now, my husband welcomes my new plant-filled kitchen experiments recipes and supports me on my journey to eat well (which still has its ups and downs).




If you are motivated to make the change and have your family join you on your journey, below are some tips that can help.





1. Invite the family (don’t force the family)

Whenever I decide to do something I think is amazing, I get super excited and want others to join me immediately. If I start loving asparagus, I want you to start loving it too.  


But as a mom and a wife, I understand that my family members will not always like what I like or want to do what I’m doing.   


If you are new to the plant-based life focus on you first. Learn what meals are filling and tasty for you, then invite your family members to try some.  


Tip: Don’t start a sentence with “This vegan/vegetarian/plant-based food tastes amazing…”; Instead, I say “Try this great pesto pasta”. Then once my family has tasted it and given their honest opinion, I share that it’s plant-based.  


Continue to invite your family to new meals and perhaps they’ll ask you to make the meal for them in the future. 😉    



2. Do research

Many people choose a new way of eating without doing any research. That can be a mistake. Research can help you better understand how your diet change can influence the health of you and your family and ensure that everyone has a healthy and balanced diet.  


Research can also help you define what “plant-based” means to you personally. 


Often times, we depend on our peers for answers but research papers and information from qualified specialists and health professionals is immensely valuable for supporting your decision.  



3. Take it serious

Making the decision to go plant-based is a commitment.   A real effort can lead to real results, so take the process seriously and try not to treat it like a thing that is being done on a whim.


Your reason for choosing plant-based eating is serious and your attempt should be serious too.    When your family sees this, they may begin to show interest.    



4. Set a measurable goal

Set a measurable goal. Maybe you are only trying to encourage the family to eat a plant-based diet for two weeks in the month. That’s a great start!  


Just be sure to write down your goal and ensure that it is specific, clear, and measurable.   The specificity of the goal is important because goals with ambiguity are less likely to lead to follow through.     



5. Track progress

Tracking your progress as a family can help you notice patterns that increase or decrease your success.    


Information can help you notice trends.   If you notice you tend to eat meat on Wednesdays, you can look at what it causing that decision. Is it that your job is providing free egg and bacon biscuits that are hard to resist? If so, you can plan to bring your own breakfast on Wednesdays so you’ll be less tempted.   


A tracker can also be used as a motivator.  

  • If your goal is to stay plant-based for a month, you could add rewards at the end of each week.
  • If your goal is to try plant-based for a year, you can reward yourself at the end of each month.


Adjust your tracker to fit each person’s individual goals and don’t be afraid to use external motivators (rewards) to encourage further progress.    



6. Meal prep

There are huge benefits to meal planning, even if you aren’t eating plant-based. It saves money and decreases the likelihood that we’ll end up at the local fast food joint.   


Meal planning may seem like an intimidating process, however, it is not difficult and it saves time and mental energy throughout the week.  


Imagine not needing to question what you are eating today and being able to just grab a bowl out of the refrigerator or freezer. It’s worth the initial effort and helps keep plant-based meals on the dinner table.   


Also, when your family members are hungry – most are likely to grab and eat what is already prepared. It’s an easy way to encourage eating plant-based meals.    



7. Use positive language

Language matters. Eating plant-based is a choice yet I often hear about what we can’t eat.


We can eat anything but we choose not to for specific reasons. Instead of using words and phrases like can’t, not allowed, or unable, use the language of choice.  


  • I choose not to eat…
  • I’m avoiding foods that…
  • I prefer to have…


There is power in our words. when it concerns our mindset. Be aware of the language you use, even at the beginning of your journey.   You can reinforce these language choices when talking with your family and peers.     



8. Find a community

A community doesn’t need to be hundreds of people but having a few good people in your corner for support is beneficial.  


Ensure you are sharing your journey with people who will encourage you and not people who will be happy to tempt you because they know your weakness (there are people who love to antagonize).  


There are several online communities and even following other plant-based influencers on social media can help you stay motivated and focused.     



9. Be kind to yourself and others

You may find yourself eating a meal with an animal-product you planned to avoid or notice that a family member is still loving on lard.  


Instead of giving up on the entire journey, remember to be kind to yourself and understanding of your family members.   None of us are perfect and we are all on unique paths. Just push on and be encouraging and not judgmental.    



10. Keep it simple

Eating plant-based doesn’t need to be complicated.   


We’ve all watched YouTube videos of extravagant plant-based meals and followed social media accounts with beautifully plated vegan meals. That’s nice but in reality, plant-based eating can be simple.


Here are my tips:  

  1. Make the meals you love without animal products. FYI…You can still eat tacos, burgers, and pasta.
  2. Avoid expensive shopping expeditions. 
  3. Learn how to add flavor to your meals with spices.
  4. Shop for in-season produce. You can save money and enjoy the freshest flavors.
  5. Get creative. Play with ingredients and flavors.  



Simple means less time in the kitchen and maybe even less expensive.     




I knew I was ready to make a change to how I consumed food and like any caring mama I wanted my family along on the journey with me. By being patient, kind, and informed, I’ve seen a HUGE difference in how my husband eats and I’m proud to be leading my daughter by example.   You can do this too!  



Have you and your family made any changes to your diet that were challenging? How did it go?


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Tiffany Green

Hi, I'm Tiffany! I'm a former newborn screening chemist, a trained doula, and a mom with a masters degree in family life and youth development. I write about pregnancy, motherhood, and wellness with the goal of helping pregnant women and new moms crush overwhelm so that managing family life is an adventure - instead of a hassle.

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