If you’re like most people and have done a lot of Googling in the health and wellness space, you may have noticed a trend among food and fitness bloggers called “What I Ate Wednesday (or another day of the week)”. This is basically where they give you a snapshot of exactly what meals, snacks and beverages they consumed that day (or week or month), intended to inspire ideas, provide recipes, and show dietary imperfections — hey, nobody eats flawlessly, let’s not pretend like we do. Amiright?
I’m half-jumping on this bandwagon, because I like the idea of sharing food ideas (especially when they can save time, money, and involve trying something new!) and normalizing the truth that we’re all crunched for time and energy… especially when we have to feed a whole family!
But rather than give you more of the same, I’d like to devote this blog series to the parents out there looking for ideas around how to help their little ones thrive on plants — and do veganism responsibly, adequately, and with fun.
Therefore, I give you a new sporadically-appearing series, What I Ate Wednesday – Vegbaby Edition, featuring the foods enjoyed by my almost two-year old son who you know I regularly refer to as my “Vegbaby”.
Okay, so you’ll also get a peek into what we adults eat too, simply because one of my biggest meal-planning tips is to make enough dinner so that I don’t have to make anyone an entirely new lunch the next day, Vegbaby included. 😉 Ain’t nobody got time for that.
This series is inspired by:
- New vegans looking for more food ideas for their kids
- Families interested in making the plant-based switch but at a loss as to idea for what to feed the younger crowd on a veg diet
- Anyone seeking help in packing more plants into their child’s day to day
And will answer questions like:
- Where can you get the key nutrients from a plant-based diet?
- What are some easy veg recipes that my kid will actually like?
- How do I get my kid to try new plant foods?
- How can I hide some more fruits and vegetables in unsuspecting ways?
Oh and, don’t all vegan kids just eat nuts and berries and become malnourished? (NO. NO. NO. Times a million.)
So, here we go.*
*Disclaimer: This food diary series is in no way intended to take place of medical or nutritional recommendations for your family. It is for inspirational and educational purposes only. As with any dietary or lifestyle change, consult your physician for specific guidance for your family.
As you may know, Vegbaby currently attends full-time daycare which, if you’re interested in some insights and advice for surviving daycare with a vegan kid, check out this blog post.
Daycare has been a great experience for us in that he has already learned so much and gets to socialize with kids his age every day. But because the daycare has a set menu for the kids that is not so veg-friendly, we send all of his food to school with him. This requires purchasing additional food solely to send to school, abiding by school allergen policies, and spending time and effort every morning preparing, cutting up, packaging and labeling his meals and snacks. Nutrition is one thing we made the decision not to compromise when we enrolled him in daycare, as our family is committed to following a vegan diet as much as possible and raising him the same (this may not be the case for all, and that’s okay!).
So for all of you daycare-bound veg parents out there, hopefully you find this series especially helpful for gathering ideas around what to send with your child, if your daycare allows it (see that blog post).
We try to feed Vegbaby some breakfast before he goes to school so that he doesn’t have to wait two or three hours after waking to eat something. The success of this of course depends on whether he woke up on his own (happy to eat and sit in his high chair) or had to be woken up (angry baby, all food is immediately thrown on the ground). He then takes a morning snack, a lunch, and an afternoon snack to school, and eats the remaining meals of the day at home with us.
Vegbaby’s 1-Day Food Diary
Breakfast with mom & dad: Avocado toast (1 slice toasted whole grain bread + Earth Balance butter + 1/2 avocado, mashed + B12 nutritional yeast), Ripple unsweetened original pea milk (which contains algae-derived DHA!), Vitamin D + DHA/EPA supplement –> healthy fats, concentrated calories, protein, fiber, calcium, Vitamin D + B12
Morning snack at school: Quinoa/flax frozen waffle spread with organic sunflower butter (great alternative spread for the peanut and tree-nut free allergy zones, like most daycares!), Ripple unsweetened original pea milk–> healthy fats, concentrated calories, protein, fiber, calcium
Lunch: Leftover dinner from Tuesday (not-so-fried rice recipe adapted from the Chloe’s Kitchen cookbook, which includes rice, peas, carrots, mushrooms, pineapple and baked tofu + turmeric, coriander, garlic), Leftover dinner from Monday (homemade chickpea falafal burgers), Spinach/apple/peach veg-muffin that I make in a blender (adapted from Minimalist Baker’s recipe here), Ripple unsweetened original pea milk –> vitamin C, fiber, anti-inflammatory spices, iron, protein, vitamin K
Afternoon snack #1: HappyTot veggie + fruit pouch, Annie’s Organics bunny crackers –> vitamin C, fiber, potassium, vitamin A
At this point, I pick him up from school and we get home, wash our hands, and he usually is ready for another snack before dinner when daddy comes home. Right now his favorite snack words are “goga” (yogurt), “cacka” (cracker, which may mean multiple things), and “puck” (pouch).
Afternoon snack #2: Silk almond vanilla yogurt, Harvest Snaps tomato-basil lentil snaps, Water –> calcium, iron, protein, healthy fats, vitamin D, probiotics, magnesium, zinc
Dinner: Butternut squash ravioli with cashew-cream sauce, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and spinach, and tofurkey sausage, Orange slices, Water –> healthy fats, protein, vitamin A, iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, B vitamins
So there you have it, a day in the life of Vegbaby who, by the way, recently had a wellness checkup and continues to be happy, healthy and thriving on the growth charts…. with a kickass B12 level and no signs of stopping. 😉
What are some of your kids’ favorite go-to foods that you would be interested in veganizing?