Word Count: 1720
Time to Read: 9 minutes
One of the best feelings about choosing a vegan lifestyle is realizing the difference in your body from “traditional” eating.
When you cut out animal products, your body performs its best. You sleep better, feel better throughout the day, and might even see better skin in the mirror!
But, what happens when you decide to have children?
Raising kids as vegans is its own unique process from going vegan yourself.
As an adult, you are old enough to know your reasoning and notice the positive changes. But, these might be hard concepts to explain to a little kid who just wants to eat pizza with his friends.
Here are all the reasons you should raise kids as vegans, and all the vegan essentials to navigating this lifestyle as a parent.
Why Raise Kids as Vegans?
If you aren’t sure whether to raise your child as a vegan or not, think of all the reasons you went vegan!
Many people who become plant-based find there are more benefits than they originally thought when making the change. These range from higher energy levels and better moods to the ability to avoid major diseases.
Plus, from a parenting standpoint, veganism can do even more for your children.
When you start raising your kid on a vegan diet, they will be less likely to crave other foods.
They won’t have the urge for a sharp cheddar or a piece of bacon the way you still might from time to time.
This allows them to better enjoy the vegan essentials on their plates. Your children will be too busy discovering everything they can make to be vegan instead of craving what they can’t have.
Who knows, they may grow up to make a better ice-cream or veggie stir-fry than you do!
At some point, you will have to dive into the reasons your kid’s food isn’t like everyone else’s. This isn’t anything to be nervous about, though.
Your child’s curious questions are a chance to tell them what all the wonders of being vegan really are. Educate them that it goes beyond the food on their plate.
Being vegan has a powerful effect on the whole planet. This may not be news to you, but remember, it is to your little one.
He or she is still figuring out the way the world works. When you share your vegan knowledge with them, their appreciation for the lifestyle can grow because they know they are doing a greater good.
Some examples of veganism’s environmental effects include:
taking a stance against world hunger preserving water encouraging healthier soil reducing energy consumption cleaning the air
These are results people around the world can enjoy. Give your child the tools to understand how their choices encourage such positive change.
There’s no telling all the great things your child can do when given the right tools.
Educating the power of veganism in the home can spread through the communities your family is involved in. This is pretty exciting to think about.
When your child opens their lunch filled with vegan essentials at school, they won’t be shy about what’s inside.
They’ll be prepared to answer the questions other kids have. This prevents teasing or mocking, and can even encourage other children to try vegan treats.
Kid-Friendly Vegan Essentials
Speaking of vegan treats, you might have to start getting a little more creative with the meals you prepare.
Try to think of fun, plant-friendly twists you can put on traditional items that kids eat. If you’re having trouble thinking of how to turn certain foods into vegan essentials, look no further.
Here’s a breakdown of easy, delicious ideas for every meal of the day.
We all know vegan breakfasts are great enough to eat any time of day.
Seriously - what beats overnight oats with all the works? Or a warm piece of toast with avocado?
Your kids might argue they want to try their friend’s cereals or “real” pancakes. Luckily, you can easily turn these into vegan essentials to enjoy at home!
1. Cereal and Milk
Some popular cereals are already vegan.
But, the ones with marshmallows and other added treats are not.
Talk to your children about how to spot the difference in the supermarket. Then, show them how to make their cereal more exciting anywhere they are.
Start adding different kinds of fruits to their bowl to mix things up. Show them how you make your nut milks so they can have fun with the process, too.
It’s easy to swap a few things here and there and switch up a cereal.
But, the perfect vegan pancakes don’t come easily to everyone. The trick is to create a smooth consistency and cook at a mid-range temperature.
Play with different kinds of flour, like coconut or almond, as your base. Once you’ve found the one you like, try getting a bit creative with mashed bananas, sweet potato puree, or pumpkin puree.
Did we just say omelets?!
Yes, even eggs can be substituted with the right vegan essentials.
These are a bit trickier to accomplish, but worth every bite.
Just like with pancakes, the secret is all in the base. Start with a bit of tofu and your milk of choice. Add a bit of chickpea flour and nutritional yeast to thicken the batter.
From there, toss in some spices and veggies to your liking and enjoy.
Lunch and Dinner
It’s easy to do breakfast when you’re all at home.
But, here are some ways to sneak vegan essentials into the lunch table without anyone noticing the difference.
Burritos are pretty simple to keep vegan. But, they’re just so delicious they had to make the list!
Swap milk or dairy-based items like cheese and sour cream for the vegan-friendly alternatives your probably already have at home.
Maybe pre-cook some mushrooms to create a texture similar to meet, although your vegan child won’t be able to tell the difference.
The right vegan pizza comes down to the dough and “cheese.”
Focus on finding your favorite cheese alternative and you’re golden. Try to make it at home for even more fun with your little one!
3. Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is arguably the most classic of all kids eats.
It would be a shame (and a lie) to tell your kid they can’t have this just because they live in a vegan household.
Again, this is all about the cheese. Find the right creamy consistency and dig in.
Don’t forget to add some broccoli and spices for even more flavor to enjoy.
Vegan sweets are probably the best vegan essentials out there.
These are a great resource to use to show your extended family the wonders of veganism.
Careful, though, these will go fast in your own home when you’re just making a small batch for the kids.
1. Ice Cream
Ice cream,- or as some vegans say, nice cream - is one of the best desserts there is.
Allow your child to enjoy all the flavor without any of the hidden things in regular ice cream.
A popular base for this sweet is a frozen banana, although you can use some frozen avocado, too. The avocado will need a bit of a powerful flavor though, like cacao or tart berries, to disguise itself.
Not only is vegan cake out of this world, it’s often easier to make than regular cakes!
You can opt for raw, no-bake cakes or find vegan recipes that have substitutes for eggs. Don’t be afraid to throw some things in a mixer and see what you can come up with on your own, either.
Many people, vegan or not, would argue chocolate is a food group.
But, that doesn’t automatically put it on the list of vegan essentials.
Some chocolates have milks while others don’t. Make sure your child is aware so they don’t find themselves munching on the wrong kind outside of the house.
Instead, make plenty of vegan brownies or chocolate chip cookies to keep their cacao-like cravings satisfied.
Taking At-Home Habits Into the Outside World
There is one more thing to consider when stocking up and understanding how to use vegan essentials. It’s to understand you can’t feed your child at home all the time.
Be prepared to take what you practice in the kitchen into daily life.
Here are a few scenarios your knowledge of vegan essentials will come in handy.
It’s one thing to prepare vegan-friendly mac and cheese at home. But, what do you do if your child sees this on a menu with their friends and wants to order it?
You can’t stop him or her if you aren’t there to witness it. However, you can teach them the differences between the two so he or she won’t need to be corrected.
This goes back to education and empowerment, but it puts such principles of being vegan to the test.
Try taking your kids out more as they get older so they know how to order for themselves and still be vegan-friendly.
Birthday Parties and School Events
At some point, your child will be invited to social settings where parents plan the menu.
The other moms in your kid’s class should already be aware your little one is vegan. This doesn’t mean your family has to be the odd one out, though!
Use social gatherings as an excuse to whip out your best vegan essentials. Make your favorite no-bake cake for everyone to try or a batch of vegan cookies.
If anything, pre-make something for your child so they can enjoy the cake cutting and other mealtimes of the event.
Veganism and Parenting: Planning Is Key
Learning to be vegan takes some planning. Learning to be a parent takes a lot of planning.
As such, it’s no wonder parenting as a vegan relies heavily on planning and preparation as well. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a stressful process.
Check out our meal plans to receive new, fun ideas on how to make your favorite vegan essentials!