There’s a whirlwind of competing information available to prospective, new and veteran parents alike about what a “good” plant-based diet for their child means. Some sites call for iron or B-vitamin supplements, others caution parents of the “insufficient nutrients” available from the “atypical” diet.
Navigating the mass of information available on what really is the “best” diet to start your toddler on or transition your teen into can be a nightmare. Plus, the challenge doesn’t end simply when the puzzles of MyPlates and color wheels are solved. Parents still have to get their children to actually eat these healthy foods.
These delicious and nutritious meal ideas every child will love are meant to make mealtime easier for everyone. They are all nut-free (in case children may have a nut allergy) and all are vegan. If you’re looking for more guidance or just to hear other parents’ tips, tricks and trials, check out this awesome resource from the Happy Herbivore.
Whose household isn’t a little chaotic most mornings? Oftentimes, this means breakfast is rushed, eaten on-the-go or even skipped altogether. Not good! When children skip breakfast, their productivity and ability to succeed is decreased; they may even be at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, say researchers in the UK.
You don’t need a lot of time to get the day started right for your children. Here are three quick, plant-based meal variations that meet everyone needs: they taste great; they don’t require a lot of preparation or clean-up; they are filling and nutrient-dense.
Whole Grain or Sprouted Grain Breads with Spreads
Simply take your most flavorful and nutritious bread in slices, toasted or non-toasted. Offer the following spreads, either directly on the bread for convenience or in dishes your children can dip their own slices into for a more interactive family meal:
- Seed butter like pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
- Fresh jams or jellies, which you can learn to make in advance and store easily
- Savory selections like avocado or hummus for a dose of healthy fats and dense calories.
Oat Bowls in Minutes
Oats are simply amazing! According to the Whole Grain Council, they can:
- improve insulin sensitivity
- potentially reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
- help control cravings
- help control blood pressure
- lower bad cholesterol
Check out these 10 Healthy and Flavor-Packed Oatmeal Bowls today!
Smoothies are great because they can be taken almost anywhere, they are quick to make and clean-up from and they are so versatile. For the best smoothies possible, try mixing fruits with small amounts of vegetables, protein sources like nut, seed, bean or rice milks and nutrient-rich add-ins that taste great like blueberry or raspberry powders. These add-ins mask the other “healthy” tastes children often dislike.
Try these easy-to-make smoothies today:
Look how many options for great child-friendly, plant-based meals there are just for breakfast alone! Check out what lunch has to offer…
2. Lunch-Time Munches
Whether you’re sharing lunch with your children or packing it away for their school day ahead, getting as many vegetables, healthy fats, and plentiful carbohydrates in as possible is key. After all, they need the extra nutrient-boost at lunch to fuel them through the remainder of the day until snack or dinner. So what’s on the menu?
Try Simple Sandwiches or Wraps
Quick to make, easy to eat, and endless options available? Sounds great! Avoid serving the “same old, same old” with these new, creative plant-based sandwich and wrap filling ideas: Protein and Calcium-Rich “Eggless Egg”, Filling Chickpea “Tuna”, The Fatty Filler with Avocado, Sun-dried Tomato, and Hummus.
Really Easy Rice Bowls
These are great because they can be served for dinner the night before and sent off to school the next day. Essentially any vegetable, fruit, nut, sprout, and vegan sauce mix on rice will work, but here are a few of our favorite options to get you started: Subtly Spicy: Chilli-Sauce, Vitamin-Rich and “Cheesy”, Fresh Find with Dill
3. Decompressing with Dinner
Before you know it, it’s dinner time. Dinner is for slowing down, sitting down, and sharing the day with family–ideally. You don’t want to waste time arguing over peas and sprouts. Try these child-friendly meal ideas today, instead:
The options with pasta are literally endless. Whether you want a decadent vegan Mac N Cheese, Alfredo, or something a little saucier, you can find something to please the whole house by dinner tonight. Don’t know where to start? Here are the most child-friendly pasta dishes ever:
Pizza gets a bad reputation for being high in bad fats, salts, processed ingredients and more. However, making vegan pizza at home changes all that. Homemade pizza contains healthy carbohydrates and lots of vegetables, fruits, and a moderate to small amount of dairy-free “cheese” or meat-free protein.
Need some inspiration?
Here are just a few of many child-friendly pizza topping options:
- “Mock” pepperonis, hams, salamis, and more
- Dairy-free cheeses
- Vegetables like: Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Olives, Spinach, etc.
- Fruits like: Tomatoes, Pineapples
Need some more help?
How about 15 different kinds of vegan pizza? What about a guide for veganizing any pizza? Need to save some more time? Good news! You can now order a vegan pizza from almost anywhere with these helpful tips! Tip: Order a little extra for dinner and pack away for lunch the next day to save double the time!
As you can see, plant-based eating isn’t only delicious, but also nutritious and kid-friendly. Make mealtime fun again with these child-friendly foodie-inspired ideas!
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
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