A Day in the Life of a Vegan Kid – Mealtimes + Supplements! Yes! Sara Howick of plantsformypeople.com is back this month with a guest post focused on kid-approved plant-based meal ideas and recipes. She also covers the basics of supplementation – a topic that often seems more complicated than it really needs to be.
When I was transitioning my family to a plant-based diet Sara was a big help when it came to sharing resources and answering my questions regarding supplements, particularly for raising healthy and happy vegan kids – I hope Sara’s suggestions are as helpful to you as they have been for me.
The most challenging aspect of transitioning your family to a vegan diet is finding a “new normal” for your kids at mealtimes. As we know, children can be fussy eaters, and certainly resistant to change. The younger they are when you make the change to a healthy lifestyle, the better, as they will have no taste memory for the fatty, salty, and addictive qualities of animal products. It is important that kids and parents enjoy the same meal, so that you can set the example of healthy eating. Also, making familiar and favourite dishes in a vegan way can help kids adapt.
These are some ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts that our two kids have enjoyed in the past three years being vegan. We hope your little ones enjoy them too!
Oatmeal and fruit – Creamy, rich, filling, serve a warm bowl of oatmeal with frozen blueberries, sliced banana, or any fruit your kid loves! TRY: Perfect Vanilla Oatmeal
Whole wheat toast with nut butter and fruit – 100% whole wheat, nuts, and any fruit
Cold cereal and fruit – Plain Cheerios or similar, sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of ground flax, top with soy milk and any fruit
Pancakes and fruit – Great on a weekend, or if you have time in the morning. TRY: Lemon Chia Seed Pancakes
I always serve one cup of full-fat soy milk with breakfast. It is high in protein, contains as much calcium as dairy-milk, and has plenty of healthy plant-based fats.
Pita chips, hummus, veggies – Choose whole wheat pita chips
Sandwich – Nut butter and banana, hummus and sprouts, smoked tofu and lettuce, almond cream cheese and tomato, etc.
Leftover pasta – Warm some leftover 100% whole wheat pasta with a generous sprinkle of hemp seeds, cubed tofu and some vegan butter, and send in a thermos.
Couscous and tofu – Serve with a side of steamed broccoli. TRY: Turmeric Israeli Couscous with Tofu
Spaghetti lentil bolognese – Serve with a side of salad or other greens. TRY: Luscious Lentil Bolognese
Chickpea flour fritters – Experiment with different vegetables! TRY: Broccoli Chickpea Flour Fritters
A big bowl of soup; veggie soup, bean soup, lentil soup – Serve with toast and vegan butter. TRY: Vegan Soup Recipes
Sushi / sushi bowl – Really fun for kids and a well-rounded meal. TRY: Vegan Sushi
Crackers/veggies and hummus
Apple slices and nut butter
Air popped popcorn
Vegan yogurt and fruit
A homemade vegan muffin or cookie
Fresh fruit or dates/raisins/dried apricots
Banana Nice Cream – TRY: Nice Cream
Silken tofu nice cream – TRY: Silken Tofu Nice Cream
Vegan pudding (treat!)
Dairy-free dark-chocolate (treat!)
100% fruit popsicles – So easy to make your own if you have a basic blender
TIPS ON SUPPLEMENTATION FOR VEGAN KIDS
Vitamin B12: Absolutely essential in our ultra-sanitized world, this can be dosed daily or weekly.
Vitamin D3: Optional but recommended, especially in the colder months when kids are not getting enough sun exposure. Vegan vitamin D3 is available (if sourced from lanolin, which comes from sheep, it is not vegan)
DHA – EPA: Optional but recommended, as not everyone can convert the ALA in flax and walnuts as efficiently as others. High-quality algae-based DHA oils are available in most health food stores (try Nutra-Vege brand, tastes good.) That being said, I recommend serving 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed daily in oatmeal, cereal, a smoothie, etc. for added omega fats and powerful cancer-preventative properties.
Calcium: Serve one cup of soy milk daily. Other foods rich in calcium are tofu, beans, chickpeas, dark leafy greens such as kale.
Iron: Serve one cup of soy milk daily. Other foods rich in iron are pumpkin seeds, lentils, cooked spinach. An easy way to include spinach daily is to throw a few dozen nuggets of chopped spinach into the pot when making rice, pasta and soups.