So, you’ve decided you want to be vegan. That’s great news! But when you live at home and others make your food choices, there may be some obstacles to overcome first. No problem. We’re here to guide you.
How Do I Convince My Parents To Let Me Be Vegan?
There are several reasons why parents or guardians may not be entirely happy about you becoming vegan. They may not know anything about veganism and fear you may not be healthy. They may have concerns over the cost of vegan products, or they may simply not have time to cook extra meals or learn new recipes. All these things can be overcome, but they will take a little work on your part. And the first thing you need to do is know your arguments!
Veganism Is Healthy
You will be taken more seriously if you can show that you have done some research about health. Every nutrient we need can be obtained from a vegan plant-based diet but we do need to make sure we are eating the right foods. So, take the time to find out which food contain protein (tofu, tempeh, veggie sausages, our vegan fried chick*n, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds, for example) and where you will get your calcium, iron, and B12. And if they’re still unsure, invite them to watch What The Health or The Game Changers with you. You never know. They may go vegan, too!
Veganism Is Cheap
Studies have found that eating a plant-based vegan diet is significantly cheaper than eating a diet that contains meat, dairy, and eggs. This is because chickpeas are cheaper than chicken, and beans are cheaper than beef. But, if you compare vegan versions of animal products – milk, cheese, fish fingers and so on – it can certainly seem as if veganism is more expensive. The key is to look at the cost of the shop overall. We load up with healthy seasonal (or tinned or frozen) fruits, grains, beans, and vegetables, which are all low-cost. And that means we have a little more money to spend on those tasty vegan items.
Veganism Is Delicious
Parents or guardians may be concerned that you won’t enjoy your food, and you will soon tire of eating vegan. But if you can show them that you can eat the same kinds of foods that you already do, then they may see that the switch to veganism isn’t all that huge. You can still eat pasta, pizza, fried chick*n, pasties, pies, curry, spaghetti Bolognese, and many other everyday dishes; you just get to enjoy the vegan versions of them.
Veganism Is Easy
Parents have a lot going on, and cooking different meals for different people is a stress they could do without. So, your job is to make sure that your transition to veganism doesn’t place a huge burden on them. If you don’t know how to cook, this would be a great time to learn! Offer to make your own food some days, and perhaps you could offer to cook for the entire family one or two nights a week, too. Use your bargaining power to take the stress off someone else, and show that eating a vegan diet is not only tasty, it is pretty easy as well.
Veganism Is Important
Why do you want to become vegan? There are many excellent answers to that question and they will be different for each of us. Whether it is the desperate suffering of animals inside factory farms, the breakdown of the climate, the pollution of the rivers and oceans, the loss of forests and wildlife, or all of these things and more, tell your parents why it matters to you. If they still don’t get it, ask them to watch a film with you. Cowspiracy talks about the environmental impacts; Earthlings, Dominion, or Land of Hope and Glory will reveal the plight of animals. Warning: there are some distressing scenes in those last three movies.
How Do You Tell My Parents I Want To Be Vegan?
How you tell your parents or guardians you want to be vegan is as important as telling them why. Here are our tips.
1. Decide Whether You Really Want To Go Vegan
If you are unsure yourself, then perhaps take the time to think about this change some more. After all, there is no point arguing your case if you don’t really want to be vegan after all. Watch some of the excellent movies, follow some inspirational vegan groups and influencers online, and make the decision for yourself. When you know that this is the right choice for you, it’s time to arm yourself with facts!
2. Find Out More About Vegan Nutrition
Most parents will worry whether veganism can provide all the nutrients a growing child needs. That’s entirely natural. Your job is to show that you can be healthy and that you know the foods you need to eat. You may like to download a chart – or make your own – that shows where all the nutrients can be found and pin it to the fridge door. And remember, knowing the facts is not enough! You still have to eat those foods!
3. Find a Time When Your Parents Are Not Busy
Breaking the news to them that you want to be vegan as they dash out the door for the day is not going to go well. Find a time when they have space to talk, and that will not usually be in the morning when everyone is rushing to get to school or work. But perhaps in the evening or at the weekend, would be better, or any time when you can get their attention and know there is time to discuss their concerns and any practicalities.
4. Ask For Time To Talk
If you cannot find a good moment, make an appointment! Tell them there is something you want to talk to them about, and ask when would be a good time to discuss it. If you all set aside some time together, it will make a much more relaxed discussion.
5. Tell Them That You Are Not Asking Them To Do This Too
Parents or guardians may worry that you want them to be vegan, too. And perhaps you do, but they will need to be convinced in their own time and find their own reasons. If you tell them your reasons, show them why it matters, convince them it can be healthy, and then make delicious meals, they are likely to change the way they eat in time too. But this is your journey, not theirs. You may inspire them but for now reassure them that they don’t have to change what they eat just because you are.
6. Offer To Take Care of Yourself
If you are able to prepare at least some of your own meals, that is a powerful bargaining chip! Parents may feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to spend longer planning meals, shopping, and cooking to cater for you, so if you can take some of the strain, that would help your case enormously. Do some research about the foods available, go along to help with the shopping trip, and learn how to make a few simple dishes. This will show you are serious about becoming vegan and are willing to take some responsibility.
What Age Is Best To Go Vegan?
The age you are now is the best age! Babies are brought up vegan; children as young as three and four have persuaded their parents to make the change with them, and there are people in their 70s and 80s becoming vegan too. There is no bad age, and every age is the best age!
Can Kids Be Vegan?
They absolutely can! There are hundreds of thousands of children all around the world growing up as happy, healthy vegans. You’ll find many on social media, so connect with them and be inspired by them.
Everyone who becomes vegan has to adjust to this new way of eating. If you need your parents’ permission first, that can create another barrier but it is not an insurmountable one. Show them you mean it, why it’s important to you, and reassure them that you can be healthy and that you will pitch in to help. If they are still not convinced, be patient, but be consistent. In time they are likely to see that this really matters to you.
However, if you are not able to convince them, you still have some choices, and whenever you can choose vegan foods, do so. The reality is that some people may need to wait until they are older to become fully vegan, but whatever happens, if it is important to you, you will eventually be vegan.