So what does a vegan toddler eat?
I get asked this question all the time. Oddly, some people tend to be surprised when they discover my children eat the same plant-based diet as me and my husband. Of course my kids eat the same as me! Don’t most children eat the same as their parents? But they are still surprised nonetheless. And the first thing they want to know is what does a vegan toddler eat?
From bottle/breast to plants!
My children have been consuming a plant-based diet since they were four months old and we discovered a dairy intolerance. When I started feeding them solid food a few months later, there weren’t a ton of moms writing about their plant-based babies. Thank goodness for some fabulous Instagram accounts that posted pictures of what their vegan children were eating. These IG accounts helped give me awesome food inspiration plus gave me reassurance that I was making good decisions by choosing to a plant-based diet for my toddlers.
What my kids eat in a day:
So curious about what my kids eat in a day?
Boring or not, my veggie kids have been eating the same breakfast every day since they stopped bottle feeding.
- 1 bowl of oat bran (often mixed with chia seed and maple syrup, or some form of nut butter)
- a banana or two
- 1 cup of Almond Milk (regularly switching up the flavours)
There are reasons why my kids eat this every day. Firstly, it tastes good! And it’s versatile enough to change the flavours using preserves, syrups and nut butters. It’s also a soluble fibre which means it promotes a feeling of fullness. Oat bran is great for stabilizing blood sugars meaning the odds of my children nagging me for a snack before lunchtime is slim.
Lunch and Dinner:
The key to success when feeding any toddler is to plan ahead and be flexible! Carolina, at MamaInstincts, writes about letting her children choose what they eat and I follow a very similar philosophy. The general idea is to offer small amounts of several fruits and vegetables plus a protein and allow the child to choose what and how much they will eat from the plate. For my little monkeys, this means some days they clear their plates, sometimes they eat only one or two items, other days they only eat a bite or two of everything. I also always make sure to include a ‘winner’, i.e something I know for sure that they will eat. For my son, this any sort of fruit or mushrooms, and my daughter will almost never turn down cucumber or corn.
Some of our favourite lunch and dinner time recipes include:
BBQ Tofu from Oh She Glows
Macaroni and Cheeze from MyDarlingVegan.com
I try to cut down on food waste by preparing meals that can be easily saved for another day or time if my kids are being picky. These meals include stir frys, vegetables that can be easily reheated, rice and bean dishes etc.
If my kids are being super picky then I’ll do a staggered meal, where I prepare one thing at a time. For example, I’ll start with an apple and if they finish the apple then I’ll give them a corn on the cob, once that is finished I move onto the next item. And so on. Yes, this may seem like you’re going back and forth between the kitchen all day but SO much less food will make its way into the garbage. And if you’re like me, I hate food waste!
I talk more about nutritional needs, picky eating and persistence HERE.
I love having fun with snacks. Now that October is here I’ve been seriously busting out the fall flavours. A current favourite snack is a sliced apple sprinkled with a little cinnamon and nutmeg. These flavours are also excellent on some plain popcorn. Another favourite snack of the moment is pretzels with hummus.
Here are some other great snack recipes from my Vegan Recipes Pinterest Board:
Root Veggie Chips from SuperHealthyKids.com
Kid Friendly Dips from TheLeanGreenBean.com
Want to learn more about exact serving sizes? Check out this excellent resource from One Green Planet.
Want more toddler meal inspiration? Follow me on Instagram!
What foods do you find work with your veggie kids? What is your go-to recipe? Share in the comments!