Feeding your children a vegan diet can be challenging if they are resistant to eating vegetables – this can be more the case if they have been accustomed to non-vegan convenience foods, but even when children are brought up on a vegan diet (as my now 2 year old has been) they do go through times of fussiness and refuse to eat certain vegetables!
But vegetables are an important part of our diets, not just as vegans, but omnivores also, however obviously vegan children need to eat more vegetables than their meat-eating friends to meet the needs of their growing bodies. The Better Health Channel recommends 2 small serves of fruit and 3 small serves of vegetables per day for vegetarian/vegan children.
Some ways that I ensure my kids get a fair share of vegetables into their bellies are:
- Green smoothies – even if it contains more fruit and less veggies than what I would make for myself, green smoothies are still an excellent way to get some leafy green vegetables into my kids!
- Serve vegetables in various forms for lunch and dinner (if I can sneak veggies into breakfast too, that’s a bonus!)
- Kale chips are a favourite snack, and the kids aren’t fussed they are eating leafy green vegetables!
- Dips and spreads made with vegetables (hommus, olive tapenade, etc) are great for snacks with crackers or even raw vegetable sticks
- “Sneak” veggies into breads, cakes, sauces – either grated, finely chopped or blended
Macaroni cheese and peas is one of our favourite lunches lately, with the peas providing a serve of vegetables, and the rice milk (providing it is a calcium-enriched brand) giving a good serve of calcium, it is a pretty healthy lunch – and both my kids always want seconds!
Easy Cheesy Mac & Peas
Serves 2 hungry kids
1 cup dried macaroni pasta 1/2 cup frozen peas 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp white flour 3/4 cup rice milk 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
Bring a medium saucepan, about half full of water, to the boil.
Add pasta and peas, cook for about 10 minutes or as directed on the pasta packet.
Meanwhile, make the cheesy sauce:
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.
Add the flour and stir, cooking for about 10 seconds.
Gradually add the rice milk, stirring after each addition, making sure there are no bumps.
Once all the milk has been added and sauce is at desired consistency, remove from heat.
Stir in the vegetable stock powder.
When the pasta is well cooked, remove from heat and drain.
Mix the sauce with the pasta and peas, and serve :)
Do you worry your kids aren’t eating enough vegetables?
How do you get more vegetables into your kids diets?