Following a vegan diet can be difficult and restrictive at times, and as most vegan parents will know, vegan children can often be much more of a challenge than their adult counterparts when it comes to meals.
But in order to tackle the difficult task of balancing healthy meals which meet kid’s nutritional needs, while also making sure selective – or ‘miniature connoisseur’ – eaters around the table are satisfied, these recipes will make sure the repeated demand of ‘not too many greens!’ is met, while making vegan eating habits a bit more fun!
Though fruit smoothies are perfect for an early morning nutrient kick and a few five-a-day, sometimes a glass of green goodness just won’t go down well! So ensuring your kids are well-fed and ready to face the day, this Strawberry Pancake Stack will leave them screaming for seconds – and doesn’t scrimp on the fruit!
For 8 pancakes you’ll need:
- 150g whole wheat flour
- 75g desiccated coconut
- 1tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- 180ml coconut milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 180ml warm water
- Cooking oil
- Strawberries and a frozen banana
- Preheat your oven to a low setting (gas mark ½, 250?F, 120?) and in a medium sized bowl, whisk your dry ingredients together (flour, coconut, spices, baking powder and salt). In a separate bowl, do the same for your wet ingredients (coconut milk, vanilla extract, water and syrup), then whisk into the dry ingredients until a smooth batter is formed.
- Over a medium heat, heat a little oil in a pan and add some batter (you should have enough batter to make 8 small pancakes). Smooth each pancake into a circle with the back of a spoon straight after pouring, and cook until each side is golden. Reduce the heat if needed, and place cooked pancakes on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
- While waiting for the pancakes, blend your frozen banana and a few strawberries together to make a fruit sauce, then slice your remaining strawberries to serve alongside.
- To serve; stack the pancakes, drizzle on some fruit sauce, add your sliced strawberries, and add a little maple syrup for a little extra sweetness!
The perfect vegan lunchbox?
Lunch can be tricky when kids are in school and you still want them to eat well. Avoiding questionable canteen food and packing a homemade lunch can be popular, but it’s important to make sure, as nutritious and filling as that lunchbox may be, with kids image is everything and they won’t want their lunch to look too much like ‘rabbit food’ in front of their friends!
Avoiding the plain salad and rice cakes stereotype, pasta and pita salads are great for introducing a little variety and favourite foods, and by using vegan cheeses, mayonnaise, and tofu or faux hams, you can make a whole range of salads and sandwiches to suit your child’s taste – and peer awareness!
Room for dessert?
Kids wouldn’t be kids if they didn’t enjoy treats! (And of course, that goes for the occasional adult too!) So for special occasions, try these Chocolate Chip Cookies (they’re also gluten free!) – but only after picky eaters have finished all their greens!
For 18-20 cookies you’ll need:
- 7 tbsp of vegan spread, such as Earth Balance, plus 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 90g brown sugar
- 25g cane sugar
- 1 flax egg: 1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 150g gluten free oat flour (blend the oats into a flour)
- 120g almond flour
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 150g chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to a medium heat (gas mark 4, 350?F, 176?C) and grease or line a baking tray. Prepare your flax egg in a small bowl and leave to one side.
- In a medium bowl, beat your olive oil and spread until fluffy, then add the sugar. Continue to beat for 2 minutes until creamy, before beating in your flax egg and the vanilla extract.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and chocolate chips – you should now have a good sticky cookie dough!
- Using wet fingers, scoop and shape balls of cookie dough, and place them into the baking tray a good distance from one another. As these will flatten and spread into cookies while baking, there’s no need to squash them down. You should have enough mix for 18 – 20 cookies.
- Place your cookies in the oven and bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the edges turn golden. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes (if possible!) before enjoying!
Suzanne runs a business called Bundles of Joy which sells quality baby gifts and other gifts for special occasions. She loves cooking vegan food for her family and friends when she gets a spare moment in her busy schedule.