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Feeding children on a vegan diet

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
What kind of healthful and/or nutritious foods or dishes can generally be trusted to be a favourite with children? How can you prepare or present the foods in ways that appeal to children? How do you convince a picky child to try new foods?

My now 3 y.o. daughter has always loved uncooked tofu (preferably the firm type). She also eats a lot of raw fruit, olives, cucumber, avocado, plain seitan, plain bread, bread with pâté, bread with hummus, smoothies (banana, avocado, soya milk, berries, spinach etc.) and soya-based hot dogs (uncooked). Also rice, spaghetti, cous-cous.

She has declared that she doesn't like beans, but I've told her that her taste preferences might change as she gets older, and also that she'll need to eat beans to grow. And I've let her in on a dark secret: Tofu (which is one of her favourite foods) is made from beans! And actually, so is chocolate! I think it's made an impression, but so far only in conversation, and has not yet lead to changes is her eating.
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
It sounds like she already has a pretty well rounded variety of foods that she eats. Do you feel like it isn't sufficient?
It could be worse! No, it's not too bad, but there is always room for improvement. Mostly though, I just wanted to have a thread to exchange ideas with other vegan/veganish parents who come along.

I'm attaching a couple of images posted by TheVeganRD.com on facebook which I thought were good ideas for the presentation part which can be important with children:
dolphins.jpg

cars.jpg
 

Blobbenstein

.......
Location
UK.
I think I lived off Ryvita and Marmite at that age..

I eat veggie sausages uncooked, and have also eaten tofu raw....I'm ok.....*touches one of my two heads*
 

emmaline

Well Known Member
Great suggestions!

I have been slowly transitioning my two young kids to a plant-based diet. They are not super picky, but they sometimes balk at new foods. They don't seem to miss meat and these days I don't offer it at home. They love beans, lentils, nuts, tofu (uncooked!), quinoa, sunflower seeds and nut butters, and enough other fruits and veggies to make me feel like they are getting good nutrition. Plus, they are healthy and growing, so as long as that's happening, I feel like they are okay.


My big struggle is cow's milk. Both my kids love cow's milk. I don't feel that just swapping it for plant milk would be effective for a couple of reasons. What are good non-animal means to provide the calories and nutrients in dairy products to preschool-aged children? They don't really eat raw leafy greens right now (thinking of calcium). Would adding those kinds of veggies into, say, pancakes or muffins be a legitimate approach?
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
I have been slowly transitioning my two young kids to a plant-based diet. They are not super picky, but they sometimes balk at new foods. They don't seem to miss meat and these days I don't offer it at home. They love beans, lentils, nuts, tofu (uncooked!), quinoa, sunflower seeds and nut butters, and enough other fruits and veggies to make me feel like they are getting good nutrition. Plus, they are healthy and growing, so as long as that's happening, I feel like they are okay.
Doesn't sound like they are picky at all!
My big struggle is cow's milk. Both my kids love cow's milk. I don't feel that just swapping it for plant milk would be effective for a couple of reasons. What are good non-animal means to provide the calories and nutrients in dairy products to preschool-aged children? They don't really eat raw leafy greens right now (thinking of calcium). Would adding those kinds of veggies into, say, pancakes or muffins be a legitimate approach?
Of course, there isn't any vegan food which has exactly the same nutritional content as dairy milk. Fortified soya milk would be close in many respects, I think. You can compare the nutritional content e.g. here:
Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Soymilk, original and vanilla, with added calcium, vitamins A and D
Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat
Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Milk, reduced fat, fluid, 2% milkfat, with added vitamin A

It looks like the fortified soya milk has as much calcium as does cow's milk. (Slightly more, actually.)
 

flyingsnail

Well Known Member
My big struggle is cow's milk. Both my kids love cow's milk. I don't feel that just swapping it for plant milk would be effective for a couple of reasons. What are good non-animal means to provide the calories and nutrients in dairy products to preschool-aged children? They don't really eat raw leafy greens right now (thinking of calcium). Would adding those kinds of veggies into, say, pancakes or muffins be a legitimate approach?
At least in the US, there is such a strong emphasis on children drinking milk that it makes one think there is something important about dairy milk but in realty you can easily get the same nutrients from other foods. After all, billions of people weren't raised on dairy.

As someone else mentioned, soy milk is a good replacement for dairy milk...especially in terms of fat and protein. But, at least personally, I wouldn't give them more than 1~2 servings of soy a day.

She has declared that she doesn't like beans, but I've told her that her taste preferences might change as she gets older, and also that she'll need to eat beans to grow.
What about lentils and peas?

Children should eat what what they are given and what their parents eat, I think the fact that so many people in the west have trouble getting their children to eat wholesome and healthy foods is due to the ubiquity of funk food in the culture and the parents at times trying to get their kids to eat better than they eat. Its difficult to acculturate your children to, for example, bitter greens when they are being given sweet and highly palatable processed foods.
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
Indian Summer,

be aware that I also just recently (a few days ago, on FB, of all places) learned that uncooked tofu can be quite dangerous.

The individually wrapped pieces should be fine.
But the "unwrapped, floating in water" variety found, among others, at Asian shops, can be contaminated with harmful bacteria.

EATING WELL; Fresh Tofu: Safe Cooks Buy Carefully - New York Times

Best regards,
Andy
Thanks Andy - I will try to stick to reputable brands and sealed packages. (Which is what we do near 100% of the time already.)

It does say the article is from 1995. One would hope hygiene standards have improved since then, but then again, who knows ...
 

GingerFoxx

No effin' whey!
She eats uncooked tofu and hot dogs? Is that safe? I would also think the taste would be rather unpleasant.
I make tofu pudding from silken tofu and that's not cooked, it's just blended from the packaged state and refrigerated. I am pretty sure the soybeans are cooked in the first place just to make the tofu, so the only way it would be harmful that I can think of is if it was left out at room temperature for too long.
 

Jon

Well Known Member
Location
NG19
What kind of healthful and/or nutritious foods or dishes can generally be trusted to be a favourite with children? How can you prepare or present the foods in ways that appeal to children? How do you convince a picky child to try new foods?

My now 3 y.o. daughter has always loved uncooked tofu (preferably the firm type). She also eats a lot of raw fruit, olives, cucumber, avocado, plain seitan, plain bread, bread with pâté, bread with hummus, smoothies (banana, avocado, soya milk, berries, spinach etc.) and soya-based hot dogs (uncooked). Also rice, spaghetti, cous-cous.

She has declared that she doesn't like beans, but I've told her that her taste preferences might change as she gets older, and also that she'll need to eat beans to grow. And I've let her in on a dark secret: Tofu (which is one of her favourite foods) is made from beans! And actually, so is chocolate! I think it's made an impression, but so far only in conversation, and has not yet lead to changes is her eating.
As the 1st, or at least one of the earliest, vegan child in GB as far as I know, none of these foods were available in the 40's-50's. My mum made what she could out of the available seasonable vegetables, nuts and soya flour. Granose came in the late 40's I think with packaged nut based mixture of ingredients which mixed with water to make a bake and followed it up with tinned meat substitutes such as, Nuttolene, good for sandwiches, Saviand, which was awful whichever way you prepared it! I'm sure there were others which came later which I can't remember. It's so easy now by comparison with those early days. I'm now 76, healthy and fit for my age, so I've proved it works. Now I hear they're growing meat in laboratories and hope to make it viable for mass production so no animals are involved. Whilst I wouldn't eat it under any circumstances, I am pleased that the awful cruelty involved in animal farming may be coming to an end. I don't think the world will ever become totally vegan or vegetarian, but it is a step in the right direction. Jon Cross
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
Indian Summer,

be aware that I also just recently (a few days ago, on FB, of all places) learned that uncooked tofu can be quite dangerous.

The individually wrapped pieces should be fine.
But the "unwrapped, floating in water" variety found, among others, at Asian shops, can be contaminated with harmful bacteria.

EATING WELL; Fresh Tofu: Safe Cooks Buy Carefully - New York Times

Best regards,
Andy
An update on this: We decided to microwave the tofu a bit before serving it to her to kill off any bacteria that may have been growing in the vacuum packs.
 
M

Moll Flanders

Guest
As the 1st, or at least one of the earliest, vegan child in GB as far as I know, none of these foods were available in the 40's-50's. My mum made what she could out of the available seasonable vegetables, nuts and soya flour. Granose came in the late 40's I think with packaged nut based mixture of ingredients which mixed with water to make a bake and followed it up with tinned meat substitutes such as, Nuttolene, good for sandwiches,
I can't stand Nuttolene.:D I would have thought you must have eaten a lot of Heinz baked beans back then.:)
 
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