vegan DIET FOR kids

fruit on the vegan diet

What about a vegan diet for kids? How does that work? 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 or plant-based.

Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine both have 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.

Cooking vegan for your family and planning the meals when you arent so used to that yet, can feel like a big change. I remember when I started something like seventeen years ago now. It was not the easiest. How do I make vegan pancakes? How do i make cakes? What can the kids have for breakfast? It was confusing but I dounf my way and now it is second nature for sure, and we all love it in my family.

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.

Vegan Diet for Kids - Helpful Meal Plan

To make sure your vegan little ones are doing well nutritionally, it is a good idea to watch a bit what they eats and plan so that they get everything they need in a typical week. Meal plans are good for that, we have a childrens meal plan that can be very helpful, here.

dangers of additives - potassium sorbate

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.

Making Vegan Children and FOOD-ALLERGIC KIDS FEEL INCLUDED

Someone asked how to make kids with different eating habits or food-sensitivities feel included. I think the right thing to do is, making another version of whatever food is being served at the party or gathering or on the school trip. People will be grilling? Take some vegan sausages with you. And inform the hosts of any party and the parents of any children your kids will visit about thier eating habits.

Or if it is a food-allergy only one of your children have but not the rest of the family and you have a party at your house, or any type of family gathering, make the same food for everyone (everything gluten-free for example), so the allergic child can eat and drink everything you serve, that way at least at home he or she doesn't have to feel different.

At my son's school during their cooking lessons, the teacher has been nice enough to always let him make a vegan version of the dish they are all making. She even makes the effort to find the vegan ingredients he needs for his dish before class.

Food preservatives and additives

To help your child learn about nutrition and why plant-based and a clean diet is good, you could do a lot of food related activities.

Nutrition games, arts and crafts... And, one of the most important things you could do is of course to cook with them!

I have a lot of ideas on activities in my little ebook, that you can download here on tis site.

As we all know, the behavior and mindset of our children is greatly affected by what they put in their mouths on a daily basis.

If everyone would understand how important it is that children eat well, we would have much healthier kids with even more energy and imagination than they already have.

Today I was looking for falafel at the food store. All of the brands, except one had some type of chemical added, like potassium sorbate.

Packaged food containing potassium sorbate is not something you want to give to your kids. 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.

By the way, I have an article that might interest you if you have little ones, infant and toddler nutrition.

Recently we traveled to Senegal, Africa. It was a very interesting trip, lots of new experiences and so interesting to see a way of living that is different from where we live. It is not a super vegan-friendly place though, they were selling goats on the streets for slaughter at home and you could see a lot of meat in stores and in restaurants. But that didnt bother us because mainly we ate at home anyway. The people cooking for us in the home, understood what vegan meant but they still smiled at it and didnt really understand it, but thats ok, no worries. We had a good time and had some great food.

We realized however, that people there 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, although I do know they also use it in China a lot still. 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 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!

What We Ate On A Typical Day in Africa

Breakfast would often be tea, juice and fresh mangoes. Two large mangoes and you will be full for a while!

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.

All in all we had a good trip. We will probably return in a few years. Maybe they have made some progress when it comes to vegan awareness by then, who knows!

You might also like:

Raising vegan kids

Toddler Nutrition

Vegan diet for infants

Vegan diet and pregnancy

Gluten-free diet for kids

What if you already have older children and you now want your family to go plant-based?

WEANING KIDS OFF OF JUNK FOOD And NON-Plant-Based Food

When switching to the vegan diet as a family, make sure you do it in a safe way, where youa re sure your children are eating healthy and all thier nutrient requirements are met. Weaning them off of having junk is so important because there is nothing in there that does the body any good, quite the opposite. What I would suggest is to try and live with the wining and complaining for a while. When they get used to new foods and food products that you buy and prepare, the wining will slowly die out.

WHAT IF TWO PARENTS DON'T AGREE?

Often when parents are not in agreement with what's a good diet for the family and what isn't, it can become a big stress factor.

For example, mom maybe lets the kids eat candy but dad might be a dentist and might have strong views about candy consumption - or the other way around.

Or, imagine mom is vegan or vegetarian and dad follows the paleo diet or Atkins (lots of meat and no carbs). I actually know one mom who is a raw vegan and her husband always wonders why she doesn't want to give this or that to their kids. It causes a lot of friction in their every day lives.

Same thing if extended family members want to have their say all the time. It can be terribly hard. I hear stories like that all the time.

If that is you now in this situation, maybe your partner doesnt agree with your reasons to become vegan - or for that matter for the whole family to go plant-based. The I would say, just hang in there and stand your ground. Learn more and more about veganism and plant-based nutrition for kids so you will have an easier time defending your views if necessary.

Another quite effective strategy is to just smile, but know deep inside what you know is best.

People are scared of all kinds of changes and anything that differs from the 'norm'. But you know what you want and that is the most important.

Keep your children's future health in mind and just keep feeding them your own way. And if you need any specific advice I'm here. Hope you liked this Vegan Diet for Kids article. If interested, go ahead and check out the meal plans for kids I and my co-workers can make for you. 

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