Krisann Moller is a registered yoga teacher, certified yoga therapist, personal trainer and Whole Food Plant-Based Coach. Oh, and she’s a mom of two. On top of Doing-It-All, she’s also a woman with a mission. Her mission began with her family years ago, as she helped transform the diets of those she loved to change the trajectory of their health and longevity of life. Then, she advanced in her journey to helping others all across the country.
One may think she has a secret weapon in her possession, a super power that she used to get her children to consume all their vegetables at the dinner table. You could call it that, but what Krisann Moller has in her arsenal are facts and the first-hand experience of her personal journey with Whole Food Plant-Based. We visited Krisann in her kitchen in Morristown, NJ to learn the basics of a Whole Food Plant-Based diet. She taught us how it can be easily implemented for the whole family, gave us a few trusty tips on getting your little ones to ask for healthy snacks and showed us a a few easy recipe ideas you can make for your family in your own kitchen.
What does Whole-Food Plant Based mean and what are the major benefits of eating Whole-Food Plant Based?
K: Whole Food Plant-Based means that you’re concentrating on only plant foods that are in their whole form. For example, an orange versus an orange candy. It’s not processed and there are no additives in it. When you eat Whole Food Plant-Based you’re really concentrating on fruits, vegetables, legumes and lentils or beans, whole grains and nuts and seeds. It’s a pretty wide array of food. There’s so many benefits, but particularly to young families, the nutrition density of whole foods are so high and there’s such a high advantage for every age within that family... from the parents, to the children. They’re high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and there are so many different things that those foods cover. We’re not eating processed foods, which tend to irritate our immune system, so we’re keeping our immune system very strong. We’re also increasing our palate, especially for young kids, it’s important that they are aware of all different types of foods so as they age, they don’t have a narrow sense of food. AKA, they don’t just like chicken nuggets.
What misconceptions are there about children eating Whole-Food Plant Based that you can shed light on?
What we know from research and studies is that when we eat food in the whole form, it comes pretty perfectly packaged. It’s full of fiber, full of vitamins and nutrients, all whole foods have fat and carbs and protein. It’s when we break up that whole food and process it that we wind up with deficiencies. We really want to have a variety of food, so instead of just eating bananas, were going to eat bananas and apples and oranges and grapes. As long as we’re eating enough calories to maintain our weight and we’re eating a variety of foods within those categories, we’ll cover all our bases. You can start (your children on a Whole-Food Plant Based diet) at any time. When we’re starting with infants, as soon as they’re ready for solid food, we’re starting with mashed bananas, avocados, steamed sweet potatoes. That’s pretty much what organic, natural baby foods are, just the whole food. We just never introduce processed foods to them at all.
What if you and your partner both work and don’t have much time to cook meals for the family? Is living a Whole Food Plant-Based lifestyle something you can fit into a busy schedule?
I love that question because sometimes we look at it and it seems so overwhelming, but really once we get a plan down, it’s really easy. One thing I really like to do is batch cook and meal prep- I do it all at once. So I take a day, usually a Sunday afternoon, and make a bunch of sweet potatoes, a big pot of rice or quinoa, I’ll roast a bunch of trays of vegetables- whatever’s in season. Then, I’ll have it in the fridge for that week, I’ll pull stuff out of my pantry, canned beans, nuts and seeds, produce I bought at the market and I will continually mix and match things. Once you get it down, it’s really, really easy. You don’t have to follow a recipe that takes an hour- who has an hour to do that?! Just as long as you have things stocked, I don’t take more than 15-30 minutes to get my meals prepared and together.
How would you suggest talking to your kids when the topic of eating meat or dairy comes up?
It always happens, right? We’re going to be in classroom or be at a party, there are few different tactics to use. It really depends on how the parents feel comfortable. Sometimes, we would load them (our kids) up with Whole Food Plant-Based food and send them to the birthday party and have them share it, and say “This is how we eat!” You can say: “This is how we eat at home, eating this makes me feel better, I really like the way it tastes.” It gets harder as the kids get older and they are in peer pressure situations, but by that time, middle schoolers and high schoolers sometimes switched to Whole Food Plant-Based diets based on their own beliefs of animal rights and sustainability, so they have their own views on it. The more we educate them and the more information we can give them, the more they’ll understand. We’re not looking for perfection, we’re looking for them to be educated and to have a wide enough palate so when they make their own choices, they’ll make great choices.
Do you have any tricks or tips on how to get a picky child to eat vegetables?
I really like the buffet or salad bar type of idea. A great way to encourage kids to eat fruits and vegetables is when it’s snack or meal time, have an array of fresh fruits or veggies out. Either on the table or on the counter on a tray, maybe four of each. I always like having a dip, either hummus, salsa, mashed avocado. Kids love to dip stuff. If that’s the first thing you see and you’re really hungry, you’re going to start eating that while you’re asking for the snack you want, you want them to get full on that so they don’t want much of the treat they’re while they’re asking for the snack they. Then rotating that, carrots, celery, toast sticks they can dip. The next day, it’s all fruit, dipped into a chocolate hummus made with sweet maple syrup. The next day, it’s pizza sauce with a few different vegetables. You’re using the same fruits and vegetables, just in different ways.
What is your most important advice for someone who is wavering on introducing a Whole Food Plant-Based lifestyle and diet to their family?
Maclaren promotes an active-family lifestyle, supporting moms on-the-go who lead happy and healthy lives, everyday. Our favorite takeaway from our time with Krisann is that you don’t have to be perfect to be the best parent you can be, rather doing your best continue on the journey of making healthy choices for yourself and your family. Maclaren encourages parents to make healthy choices everyday, whether it’s making a quick, healthy snack for your toddler like Krisann’s Avocado Banana Mash or taking a quick walk with your baby and Globetrotter buggy in tow. To learn more about Krisann’s journey and what she does, visit her website, here.
For more information on living a Whole Food Plant-Based life, Krisann recommends these sources: