A guest blog by Anni Sander (photo credit ©LiveKindly Co)
Happy New Year! Have you got any resolutions for 2022? For me it's the typical 'do more sports' and 'take more breaks'. However as a family we're trying something new this year, we're attempting Veganuary.
Veganuary is an international initiative that challenges people to eat plant based for the whole of January. Cutting out animal products has a hugely positive effect on a family's carbon footprint, that is the greenhouse gas emissions that are created by growing and producing the food. The less meat, diary and eggs the better for the planet.
After the indulgence of Christmas, January is the perfect time to eat more consciously. Plus with it being the start of a new year you might form new, healthier habits around your meals.
I've occasionally observed a vegan fast for six weeks before Easter but never attempted Veganuary. It's new for us, especially that we're trying it as a family.
Eating vegan with kids
At first glance a vegan diet might not be a big deal for us, as we're already vegetarian. Every time that I've been temporarily vegan, we have also discovered a new vegan food item that we would just carry on buying throughout the year as a family. Things like the Hellman's vegan mayonnaise, vegan Quorn products or Oatly Whole for my coffee are now essentials in our house.
But there are still a lot of dairy and egg based products that we'd consume daily, especially cheese and sweets, even though we're trying to live consciously.
So, we went shopping and treated ourselves to a wide selection of vegan goodies. But these are not always the cheapest. To make it more affordable we choose discounted items and found a wide selection of vegan puddings and ice cream that were heavily discounted for clearance - not only good for saving money but also to save items from landfill.
We're also relying heavily on our weekly produce box, as we serve fresh fruit and veg especially for snacks, but also as sides for almost every meals. This is not only healthy but also cost-effective.
Plant-based in Hitchin
The selection of vegan savoury and sweet products is excellent at our local Sainsbury's as well as Waitrose.
The Health Emporium on the High Street don't only offer plant based health food but also the according knowledge about healthy eating and nutrients. The Wholesome Weigh in Churchgate are also experts in vegan products, and as a special bonus, you can shop there plastic-free. It's good fun to shop there with the kids as they love to help fill the containers.
Almost next door is the Chia Naturally Healthy cafe, who are probably best known for their delicious smoothies. My kids already have their favourites, but they also have an extensive plant-based lunch menu and ever growing offer of vegan pastries.
Vegan options are generally easy to come by in Hitchin's cafes and restaurants, with at least one plant-based option to be found in every menu. Zizzi and Granello Lounge have put special effort into creating bespoke vegan menus, and are good family-friendly restaurants for a meal out.
Talking food as a family
With all of these great options around, I'm positive that our Veganuary will be a success. After all, we're doing it for fun, to learn more about food and to challenge ourselves. We're not being overly strict about it, as we're finishing off the non-vegan food that we still have at home and that might otherwise go off and to waste.
For us, Veganuary is a chance to try new things and talk more about the food we eat. Will you try it too?
Veganuary website including social media such as Facebook and Instagram
Vegan Kids UK is a useful Facebook group.