Prep Time: 15-30 min
Cook Time: 20-50 min
5 Vegan Meals That Every Kid Will Love
Kids are a tough sell with any kind of specialty cuisine. Vegan meals pose some challenges, especially when eating outside the home. The kids menu always seems to feature non-vegan choices, such as chicken fingers, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, or spaghetti with meatballs. Not only are there few, if any vegan options, the standard fare just isn’t nutritious or healthy.
While raising a family of vegans, your children may have better developed taste buds because you are likely introducing them to fruits and vegetables at a very early age. Your vegan kids are eating cleaner meals than the standard American diet offers. Here are some of the meals that your children are likely to gravitate towards.
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Getting kids to eat a healthy breakfast can be tricky. This meal is packed with fiber from oats and sweet goodness from apples.
2 cups water
1 Pinch of sea salt
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 cup rolled oats
1 - 2 TBS pure maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
Bring water and salt to a boil. Add the apples and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the oats, turn the heat down, cover and cook through for approximately 10 minutes longer. Stir in the cinnamon and syrup and serve. You can top with a little almond milk and chopped nuts if no allergies.
Pasta with Spinach
There aren’t many kids who don’t like pasta. Most prefer it with butter and cheese. Here is a vegan version that should cover all the bases for flavor and nutrients.
I lb fusilli pasta (eggless)
5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
3 TBS egg-free mayonnaise
3 TBS Dijon mustard
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup reserved pasta cooking water
Cook the pasta in salted water. Remove some pasta water. Drain and return pasta to the pot. Coat with olive oil and toss in the spinach. While the pasta is cooking, mix all of the other ingredients, including the pasta water together. Pour the sauce over the pasta and just heat through. Don’t cook any longer. Serve with toasted bread crumbs on top.
Surprisingly, kids do like broccoli, especially when coated with sweet teriyaki sauce. Try this sauce over steamed broccoli, served with white or brown rice. This non-fat sauce is ideal for making all sorts of lean meals taste awesome.
1 1/2 TBS arrowroot powder
1 tsp ginger powder
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup tamari or liquid aminos
3 1/2 TBS pure maple syrup
1/2-1 TBS lemon juice
Mix arrowroot with water until smooth. Add in all the other ingredients and heat to a simmer until the sauce thickens. Toss in lightly steamed broccoli florets to coat. Serve over rice.
Chicken parmesan is pretty popular with kids. It is even easier to make with firm tofu. Tofu is a blank canvas that will take on any flavor it is paired with. VegWeb is one of the largest databases for vegan recipes. Their version of tofu parmesan is super easy. You can get the recipe here.
Although not part of the recipe, you could add nutritional yeast to the breadcrumbs or top the finished dish with vegan parmesan for a cheesier taste.
Smoothie bowls are the new breakfast super food meal. They can be sweet or savory. It is a meal in a bowl packed with blended fruits, vegetables, or creamy bases with a variety of fresh, healthy toppings for texture. Smoothie bowls are great for breakfast or dessert. Here is one that is perfect for dessert.
½ cup almond or rice milk
4 cold bananas
2 TBS nut butter (leave out if allergic to nuts)
8 TBS raw cacao or carob powder
Blend this base until smooth. Top with banana slices, shredded coconut, and vegan chocolate chips.
Keeping your kids healthy and lean on a vegan diet is commendable and probably a little challenging with today’s school lunch programs and all the snack options they are likely to encounter when visiting friends or attending sports activities. Just do the best you can and don’t stress over the mishaps.