If you are looking for delicious, nutritious, and easy to make vegan recipes for kids, look no further! As a vegan chef and mom of one hungry toddler, I’ve put a lot of energy into making sure my child eats a balanced plant-based diet. These five star recipes for vegan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks will help you grow healthy happy eaters. Plus, these recipes can be enjoyed by the whole family; no need to cook separate kid-only meals.
5 Steps to Create a Healthy Eater
Before we get into the vegan recipes for kids, I’d like to share the most important steps I’ve used to raise a good eater. My 3 year old daughter will eat (or at least try) anything I put in front of her. Her favorite snack foods are sliced red bell pepper, avocado, fresh fruit, and PB&J sandwiches on Ezekiel bread. She often requests curry and salad, yes SALAD, for lunch and dinner. She will devour her whole meal without anyone threatening her, and in the rare case she doesn’t I know she is simply full. Here’s how I did it.
1. Be a good example for your child.
If you want them to eat salad, tofu, and beets and forgo junk food, you should be leading by example. Healer, heal thyself 😉
2. Start them early.
Your child’s first solids should be wholesome fresh vegetables and fruits, not processed rice cereal and pasteurized purees. Mash and puree fresh ingredients. Don’t be afraid to blend veggies and fruits. Introduce complex flavors and spices early. Your infant can enjoy the same food you are eating, as long as it’s prepared in a way they can manage––for example, blend soups and mash soft foods.
3. Don’t give them junk food. Ever.
They won’t get a taste for it if you don’t give it to them. Give them opportunity to develop their palate for natural wholesome foods. They’ll have plenty of opportunity to try junk food when they’re not at home.
4. Feed them what you eat.
Don’t coddle children by getting them used to low-nutrient mono meals like wheat pasta with butter and nuggets. They can handle complex flavors and textures. If necessary, present the meal in a way that is easier for them to consume. For example, I mince (nearly puree) massaged kale salad because my toddler has a hard time chewing the greens to completion. She doesn’t like large pieces of mushrooms, so I mince them. My kid will eat anything if it’s minced! These vegan recipes for kids are perfect for the whole family.
5. Don’t force them.
Instead of forcing children to try new foods, gently encourage them to try it. If they refuse, try presenting the food differently (mince it, puree it, mash it, roast it, put it on a healthy pizza, etc…) . Model patience, and continue eating those foods yourself.
Kid-friendly Vegan Breakfasts
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for children. Prioritize meals that have a lot of fiber, plant protein, vitamins, and minerals. If it’s a pancake morning, boost breakfast with a simple green smoothie.
- Teff porridge: High in fiber, protein, and iron. Serve with fresh fruit for a vitamin and flavor boost.
- Freekeh Quinoa Porridge: High in fiber, protein, and iron. Serve with fresh fruit.
- Sweet Potato Oat bran Muffins: Gluten-free, and made with fiber rich oat bran, shredded sweet potato, and almond flour.
- Tofu Scramble: Add mushrooms and frozen spinach for a nutrient boost.
- Sweet potato pancakes: Sweet potato adds more fiber and beta-carotene, an important antioxidant.
Savory Vegan Recipes for Kids
These savory meals are full of flavor and nutrition. Kids from 1 to 92 will love these comforting recipes. Invite your kid to help you prepare one of these recipes. Kids seem more interested in trying new foods and flavors if they were involved in the cooking process.
- Kale Caesar Salad: My daughter’s favorite salad. The sunflower seed dressing is creamy, salty, and tart.
- Carrot Chickpea Tuna: Shredded raw carrots are more palatable for many children. Try this in sandwiches.
- Black Bean Crust Pizza: Wholesome, gluten-free, easy to make pizza crust. Top with your family’s favorite toppings.
- Hearty Tofu Chili: Kids love this super meaty chili. Add frozen spinach to make it even healthier.
- Lentil Meatballs: Ultimate comfort food, but make it healthy! One of my favorite lentil recipes.
- Sweet Potato Falafel: Children love this protein and fiber rich finger food. Serve with tahini sauce.
Healthy Sweet Snacks for Kids
- Chocolate Black Bean Cookies: Black beans, coconut oil, maple syrup, and chia seeds combine to make this surprisingly delicious treat.
- Walnut Fig Bars: Just as delicious as a candy bar 😉
- Spirulina Chia Seed Pudding: I love this superfood super filling sweet snack! It’s easy to make, creamy yet crunchy, and delicious.
- Banana Nice Cream: When they want ice cream…
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