Considering going plant-based for the mental health benefits for your family? There’s a lot to consider when focusing on diet for mental health for people of all ages.
For kids and teens, mental health is more important than ever, but it’s important for every age because plant-based diets reduce inflammation and other factors proven to contribute to everything from ADHD to dementia.
Read on for more information and things to consider when planning this kind of shift (hint: it doesn’t have to be overwhelming)!
What is a plant-based diet?
It’s important to define what a “plant-based diet” entails because it can mean different things depending on who you ask.
For example, it’s easy to find “plant-based” burgers from major brands that are full of lab-grown ingredients and devoid of whole, lightly processed plants. Or, you can easily find your “plant-based diet” full of sugar and lacking in essential nutrients necessary for mental health.
Here at NoBull Burger, we pride ourselves on our definition of “plant-based”, which is food that:
- Consists of real, whole plants that aren’t heavily processed
- Balanced with proper nutrient levels, protein, healthy fats and fiber
- Low in sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats
A plant-based diet does not have to mean vegetarian or vegan. Flexitarian diets are becoming increasingly prevalent as people cut back on meat and add in more plants. Read why flexitarian diets are an easy way to improve overall health.
Why go plant-based for mental health for the whole family?
It’s easy to get into routines or opt for quick meals that don’t take much effort, and that won’t cause complaints from family. However, there’s a much bigger risk for your kids at stake:
- Depression is the number one cause for disability in adults ages 15-44 in the US
- Anxiety and depression in kids has been growing in recent years
- Most mental, developmental and behavioral disorders start early in the childhood years
Many parents, understandably, want to reduce and avoid these issues in their children, and a plant-based diet done right is one of the most effective ways to do this!
Plant-based diets can help reduce and avoid:
- Anxiety and depression
- ADD and ADHD
- Substance abuse issues
- Other health issues that lead to depression
- More mental health issues in adulthood and later years, like dementia
Plant-based diets help these things because they:
- Avoid inflammatory foods
- Add anti-inflammatory foods
- Increase nutrient variety to properly balance the gut microbiome, proven to affect mental health
- Don’t fully eliminate meat, which can cause nutrient deficiencies (Processed foods have been proven to be a worse culprit than meat)
In addition to the above benefits, a plant-based diet can be practiced on any budget and from anywhere. It may be more challenging for some budgets and locations, but there are ways to find food from local sources, or to purchase online, for example, to add in healthy food alternatives.
Things to consider for plant-based meal planning
Switching to a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be overwhelming – it just takes some mental shifts, like managing expectations and being open to trying new things, that are the key to success:
- Make it fun.
Want to help you and your family’s mental health? Making the transition to plant-based eating fun is key! You don’t want everyone to be sad that suddenly all you’re eating is plain steamed broccoli, and that’s not what we’re suggesting you do.
- Expect the journey.
The second thing to consider is that the journey is a process. There’s not a straight line from point A to point B; rather, it’s more of an upward-trending squiggly line as you experiment, learn and implement. So, give yourself grace and take the pressure off! You don’t have to get this right overnight. Making an effort, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing, so give yourself some credit!
- Education and hands-on involvement are key
Getting the family involved is a great way to help them get excited with you. You can educate them as you educate yourself. Understanding why you’re doing this in the first place is more likely to get them on board with you, because it’s good for their current and future health!
Let your family have input in decisions and include them when experimenting with new meals and spices – you’ll help them to gain a love of cooking, which will benefit them in adulthood as well!
NoBull Makes Plant-Based Eating Accessible & Tasty
One super easy way to incorporate plant-based eating for your entire family today is with NoBull Burgers. Just pop them in your freezer and use for any type of meal to get:
- 100% whole plants, as close to the earth as possible
- Proper source of plant-based protein
- Nutrient variety
- Versatility – there are 5 flavors you can use with multiple recipes