So, you want to go vegan to help animals and do your part to save the planet? That’s awesome! By going vegan, you’ll be saving nearly 200 animals every year.
Eating vegan means avoiding any foods made using animals, like meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, and even honey. Animals suffer when people use them for food. But don’t worry—there are vegan versions of all your favorites that you can eat instead!
Here are our top tips to help you go vegan:
Your grown-ups are important people in your life, and it’s super-helpful to have them on your side—especially when it comes to a big lifestyle change. They can help you figure out what foods to eat and how to avoid certain ingredients, and they can support you in other ways on this journey. If you’re not sure how to explain to your grown-ups why you want to go vegan, share with them what you’ve learned that caused you to make this decision, how nutritious plant-based foods are, and how going vegan can be a great way for you to practice responsibility. If you get them to go vegan with you, even better!
A lot of the meals we already enjoy can be veganized! Many breakfast foods, like oatmeal, chia pudding, bagels or toast with peanut butter, and cereal, are usually already vegan. For lunch, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are always a good staple or you can get creative with chickpea salad sandwiches, vegan mac and cheese, or even a frozen vegan pizza—yum! Meals like pasta, tacos, curry, and chili can easily be made vegan by leaving out any meat and dairy. For example, when you and your family are making dinner, try a pasta marinara with Beyond Meat meatballs, black bean and potato tacos with guacamole and salsa, or fried rice with tofu. Use this vegan shopping list the next time your family goes to the grocery store.
If you can, it’s a good idea to go to the grocery store with your grown-up and ask if you can pick out some new foods to try! When you’re there, keep an eye out for vegan versions of meats and dairy foods you used to get. There are lots of yummy vegan meats available, including vegan hot dogs, burgers, crumbled meat, chicken tenders, sausages, and bacon. There are also vegan meats that are perfect in a yummy sandwich. Be sure to buy vegan cheese, too! Vegan cheese comes in many forms—like shreds, blocks, cream “cheese,” dips, wedges, and sticks. You can use it to top a pizza with, put in a lasagna, sprinkle over your pasta, spread on a bagel, or eat as a snack. It’s also important for your family to buy vegan milk. There are many brands and types of milk made from oats, cashews, peas, almonds, soybeans, and more. Don’t forget to get some vegan ice cream, too. Mmmm. 😋
You don’t have to get all your food at the grocery store. Plenty of fast-food restaurants and other chains (as well as local places) offer vegan options. This can be really helpful when your family isn’t going to cook a meal and just wants to grab something fast. Places like PizzaRev, Blaze Pizza, and MOD Pizza have stolen a pizza our hearts with their build-your-own vegan pizza options (with veggies, nondairy cheese, and vegan meat). Got burgers on the brain? Visit Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., The Habit Burger Grill, Denny’s, or BurgerFi for a tasty vegan burger (just order it without dairy cheese and mayo). You can also get vegan ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, and Häagen-Dazs. And don’t even get us started on tacos! Places like Chipotle, Taco Bell, Del Taco, and Moe’s Southwest Grill all serve up mouthwatering vegan options. Yum! At Taco Bell, try the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme, the Black Bean Quesarito, or the 7-Layer Burrito, all of which can easily be made vegan (just order them without cheese, sour cream, nacho cheese sauce, or creamy chipotle sauce). And at Del Taco, check out the Beyond Guacamole Taco or the Epic Beyond Fresh Guacamole Burrito. Plus, you can get a kids meal at a lot of nationwide restaurants—like the Cheesecake Factory, Subway, and Panera. Hoping for some yummy chow mein? Panda Express has it along with an eggplant tofu dish and vegetable spring rolls.
Talking with your teacher and your friends about your new vegan lifestyle is important, too. While you aren’t looking for their advice on the topic, it can be helpful to loop them in so they’ll know what you will and won’t eat while you’re at school or over at someone’s house. You can even ask your grown-up to share information with your teacher or a friend’s parents so that the people who are looking out for you will know what you need. For example, if there’s a class birthday party, your teacher would probably like to come prepared with some treats for you to enjoy—and maybe there will even be some extras for your classmates to try.
While going vegan is one of the best things you can do to help animals, sharing with others what you’ve learned and how easy it is to eat vegan is really important, too. By explaining to family members and friends that eating nonvegan foods hurts animals and isn’t good for our bodies or the planet, we can encourage others to choose compassion as well!
Want to do more to help animals? Become a PETA Kids member and learn about ways you can help animals every single month. It’s free!
Change doesn’t always happen overnight. If you aren’t receiving the support you’d like from those closest to you, don’t give up. Feel free to send us an e-mail at [email protected]—we’d love to help give you the encouragement you may need to speak with your grown-ups. Plus, we can answer your questions on vegan-related topics!