Not too long ago I started my plant-based meals journey. Recently, I wondered how to get my family involved in this amazing journey too. I know that starting plant-based meals for yourself is not an easy journey. And getting your family to join you is even harder, especially with the kids' \u201cTak nak makan sayur, Mummy!\u201d. However, a \u201cplant-based\u201d meal is not just vegetables! It\u2019s more than that. So, let\u2019s find out what plant-based meals actually are. Understanding Plant-Based Meals Image credit: Adobe Stock A plant-based diet is one that centers on whole plant foods, namely vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. But, don\u2019t get confused. Although the terms "plant-based food" and "vegan diet" are often used synonymously, the two are not the same! Benefits Of Consuming Plant-Based Meals For You and Family Image credit: Adobe Stock According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there are plenty of benefits such as: \tSustainable weight management \tReduced risk of mortality \tLower risk of heart disease \tPrevention and treatment of hypertension \tLowered risk of certain cancers So, now that you know these incredible benefits, how do you start your family to have a plant-based meal? Worry not, I\u2019m here to guide you and your family as a beginner in the plant-based community! 5 Easy Yet Successful \u2018Master Plans\u2019 On How To Start Your Family Eating Plant Based Meal: 1) Don\u2019t Rush, Go Slow Choose a few plant-based recipes to cycle around over the course of a week. Start with plant-based meals you've always loved, such as oatmeal, pasta primavera, jacket potatoes, veggie stir-fry, bean and rice burrito, lentil stew, or three-bean chili. Since we're creatures of habit, we like to stick to a limited number of recipes, so take things slowly and master this new food vocabulary without feeling obligated to be perfect! 2) Begin With Foods That Your Family Are Already Familiar With Image credit: Adobe Stock Get their favourite fast food, such as pizza or chicken nuggets, with whole plant-based ingredients. Start by making homemade veggie, meatless, or black bean patties with their favourite toppings, if your kids enjoy burgers. Next, continue to prepare foods that your family enjoys, but replace the meat and dairy with plant-based alternatives. You can use olive oil instead of butter, and vegan cheese instead of dairy parmesan cheese to make regular spaghetti with garlic bread! Trust me, it works! 3) Get Your Family in the Kitchen Image credit: Adobe Stock Let your family members help in the kitchen, particularly when it comes to planning and preparing one dish for the early dinner. The most fun part is you can allow them to choose from all of the organic vegetables and spices you have on hand, as this emphasises the value of consuming fresh foods and learning what goes through your body! Not only will your family be aware of what goes into the meal, but every kid will be delighted to taste their own inventions and observe your response to their dedication. 4) Shop Together at the Supermarket Image credit: Adobe Stock Shopping with your family is one of the easiest ways to expose them to whole foods! You can make it a challenge for your kids not to include something in your cart that has sugar in the first two or three ingredients on the packaging. Tell them you want to purchase products that will grow, such as vegetables and herbs, nuts and legumes, and other foods that don't need a label to determine what's inside. Then, your family will begin to enjoy picking out their favourite fruits and vegetables and learning about what is in season! 5) Be Friends With the People in the Community First, you need to join a Facebook group in your area that was created for and by plant-based parents.\u00a0 If your family members see their friends eating plant-based foods, they might be more likely to try it! Also, you can connect with other plant-based families through school, potlucks and picnics. It would not only be a wonderful place to meet new friends, but it will also be a fantastic way to get great tips from other parents who are trying to keep their children safe and living a more plant-based lifestyle. 3 Guaranteed Recipes That Will Make Your Family Love Plant-Based Foods! Some kids are fussy, especially as they are newbies on this journey; so I will share some simple and easy recipes that will make your children and husband have a happy tummy! 1) Tex-Mex Pita Pizzas Image credit: Adobe Stock Ingredients: \t1 cup chopped onion \t1 cup chopped bell pepper, any colour \t2 cloves garlic, minced \t\u00bd teaspoon ground cumin \t1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained \t1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels \t6 6- to 7-inch whole wheat pita rounds \t1 cup chopped avocado \t1 cup oil-free salsa \t2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro Instructions: \tPreheat the oven to 350\u00b0F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. \tIn a large saucepan, bring \u00bc cup of water to a boil. Add the onion, sweet pepper, garlic, and cumin; cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally and adding additional water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. \tStir in the beans and corn. Cook for 5 minutes more or until flavours are blended and beans and corn are heated through, stirring occasionally. \tMeanwhile, place the pita rounds on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly toasted. \tMash the avocado. Spread pita rounds with avocado and bean mixture. Top with salsa and sprinkle with cilantro. 2) Creamy Wild Rice Soup Image credit: Adobe Stock Ingredients: \t4 cups vegetable stock \t1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered \t\u00be cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained \t\u00bd cup thinly sliced leek (white part only) \t4 cloves garlic, minced \t1 cup chopped red bell pepper \t\u00bd cup chopped carrot \t\u00bc teaspoon sea salt \t\u00bc cup almond flour \t\u00bc cup chickpea flour \t1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme \t1 tablespoon white wine vinegar Instruction: \tCombine the stock, mushrooms, wild rice, leek, and garlic in a 5-quart Dutch oven or soup pot. \tBring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low. \tCover and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes or until the rice is tender (kernels will start to pop open). \tStir in the bell peppers, carrot, and salt. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes more. \tCombine the almond flour and chickpea flour in a small bowl; stir in \u00bc cup water. Stir the mixture into the soup. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Stir in up to \u00bd cup more water to reach the desired consistency. Stir in the thyme and vinegar. 3) \u201cNacho\u201d Vegan Baked Potato Image credit: Adobe Stock Ingredients: \t1 large baking potato \t1\u00bd teaspoons nutritional yeast (optional) \t\u00bd cup black beans, either canned or prepared as directed for Black Beans\u00a0 \t\u00bc cup salsa of your choice \t\u00bc to \u00bd avocado, cubed, sliced, or smashed \tSalt and black pepper to taste \tCilantro for garnish \tLime wedges for garnish Instructions: \tPreheat the oven to 450\u00b0F if baking the potato (rather than microwaving it). \tPierce the potato with a fork or knife a few times to allow the steam to escape. \tBake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or microwave for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. \tPierce the potato with a fork or knife to check if it is soft and cooked through. \tWhen the potato is done, slice it open, and sprinkle on the nutritional yeast, if using. \tLayer on the black beans, salsa, and avocado. Season with salt and pepper, if using, and garnish with cilantro and lime. Do Keep in Mind, It\u2019s All About the Journey! Image credit: Adobe Stock Remember that transitioning the family to a plant-based diet takes time. Take the time to introduce new ingredients and flavours at a speed that is comfortable for everyone.\u00a0 Small changes add up to major changes, and every turn your family makes toward eating more vegetables is a victory for the environment, wildlife, and your family's well being! For more interesting stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!