feeding vegan kids

Feeding vegan kids isn't much different from feeding other children. But you obviously need to be careful to always check labels, so you don't accidentally buy something that isn't completely vegan.

Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine has a lot of vegan dishes. So focus on restaurants like that when you eat out. Or go to vegan restaurants and juice bars, if you have some where you live.

Would your child like an avocado sandwich? I think avocado makes a great bread spread for vegans. Some people also mix avocado with chickpeas and lemon. Filling and healthy.

Other good spreads would be peanut butter, almond butter, tomatoes with olive oil.

Make sure your kids eat a lot of food made of fresh ingredients, the same goes if you would be feeding a child without any dietary restrictions. Not everyone follows that rule, but it does pay off to do so.

You don't have to eat tofu or soy sausages to get all your nutrients. The most nutritious foods are those that are minimally processed or not processed at all.

You can make your own hummus, guacamole, steamed or boiled or roasted vegetables (or have them raw), stews, veggie patties, lentil salads, soups with vegetables and coconut milk, fruit dishes, berry "soups". I love blueberry soup and raspberry soup...

Next best would be vegan food you find at the grocery store that has a short ingredient list and no weird additives or preservatives or acidity regulators - and whatever else they put into the food they sell there. And organic would be safest.

Today I was looking for falafel for my son at the food store. I make them myself often, but today I wanted to buy some that were ready made. All of the brands, except one had some type of chemicals added, like potassium sorbate! It was in nearly all of them.

dangers of additives - potassium sorbate

Packaged food containing potassium sorbate is not something you want to give to your kids, by the way. The danger of additives is real.

In Finland this chemical is no longer added to school meals because of the risk of consuming it on a long term basis.

When we were in Senegal, we realized that people still add sodium glutamate to food there. Willingly! It's another chemical to watch out for. The way they used it there was mixing it into sauces (it was a liquid).

It comes in a small bottle that looks like a soy sauce bottle, and the ingredients are sugar, salt plus three different flavor enhancers, one being sodium glutamate. In many countries that additive or flavor enhancer is banned. The brand on the bottle was maggi. I know it comes in cubes also, similar to vegetable stock cubes (I remember that years ago my friend used to use those when he was making his famous red soup).

By the way, when we were in Africa (in Senegal) we found out that most people who have an okay salary have maids at home. The maids will do everything for you. Also cook and serve your meals, three times a day!

The single mom that we were living with (my son's aunt), had two maids! We were treated like royals. Beautifully cooked meals for lunch and dinner - if they would only leave that maggi alone!

Breakfast would often be tea, juice and fresh mangoes. Two large mangoes and you are full for a few hours!

Lunch and dinner was often a vegetable soup with a lot of garlic, couscous with an onion and tomato sauce or rice with a vegetable sauce.

If the rest of the family was having something with meat in it, the maids made a separate vegan version for me and my son.

They would also always serve root vegetables as a side dish, for example beet root and carrots or jams and some salad too, like cucumber and bell peppers and lettuce with a little vinegar and salt.

There was this very strong, but sweet, black tea with fresh mint leaves that they would serve after dinner. Benji loved it and told me I have to make this tea for him every day when we get back home.

Here are some pics from the trip:

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