Friday, 23 January 2015

When Your (Vegan) Kid Won't Eat Vegetables

For the juicer: Broccoli stalk, celery, cucumber, kale, ginger and one apple. 

I serve my daughter greens every day. Every day of her life, she sees me eat green vegetables. And every day, she throws them on the floor. 

Vegan nutrition isn't as complicated as some would have us believe, I don't think; protein and calcium are a LOT easier to come by than I'd have assumed, and you need to make sure you're getting B12, iodine and some good fats. We do take a few vitamin supplements, namely B12, and have a few fortified foods regularly (I happen to like vegan margerine and non-dairy milk), but mostly this is coming from whole plant foods. They currently recommend a vitamin D supplement for ALL children in the UK, so we have that as well. You can get into the exotic superfoods (and we do), but you can also do pretty well eating peanut butter, soy milk and broccoli. (BTW, Vegan for Life is my favourite nutrition resource. Highly recommend. I'm just a layperson!) However, as a parent, you may start to worry when all your kid wants to eat is bread, banana or scrambled tofu. This is us. I'm sure it's a phase, but it's still bothering me. We are coping thusly:

This morning she had a smoothie with breakfast that included protein powder (I like Sun Warrior best for her), kale, banana, avocado, spirulina and soy milk. If it's sweetish, she will have just about anything in smoothie form. And I do mean 'ish' - she has enthusiastically consumed green smoothies so butch that even I had trouble choking them down. 
I have caught her trying to share with Rufus though. 
Other bonus add-ins: shelled hemp, flax, omega oils, chlorella, nut butters - all give good nutritional bang for your buck. 

Green Juice:
She's been having this since she was really small, and will tolerate a very high vegetable ratio! The only flop I can recall was parsnip. If we get a green juice out and about, I nearly die of pride watching her glug the whole thing while other parents look on amazed. Win. She's never had all-fruit juice, and I aim to keep it that way for a while.

In the summer. Loving that juice!
Pasta (and Pizza) Sauce:
Been wanting to try a butternut alfredo? Kale and walnut pesto? She will almost always eat pasta, so it's time to get the processor going. A particular favourite of hers is 'cheesy' nutritional yeast sauce. Tonight we're going to try blending some red lentils and greens into our pizza sauce. Fingers crossed.

I make these ALL THE TIME, because they work! The basic template is starchy veg + green veg + bean + grain, or 3 out of 4, shallow fried in coconut oil. So, could be sweet potato + black eyed peas + millet, or squash + chard + lentils + quinoa. Can add breadcrumbs and flax to help bind, garlic, spices - you get the picture. Obviously a great vehicle for leftovers.

I know that's obvious, but it helps to remind myself that picky eating is a common problem for ALL parents, not just vegans. The other great piece of advice I've heard is to aim for a balanced week, rather than day. In the meantime I'm taking the victories I can; she likes kale chips? I'll buy kale chips. Sweet potato only consumed in fry form this week? Fries it is. Corn on the cob again? Ok by me! I don't know if my way is the best way, but I do know that she's absolutely thriving. After all, that's the goal, isn't it?


  1. I'm pretty sure Atti are pb&j for a week once. Lol as long as they eat and sleep and are happy .. I love this blog lady!

    1. Thank you!!! And hell yes, PB&J - you know British people think that's weird?