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Are your children vegan?

The Princess

The Princess

One question I get asked a lot after I tell people that I am the vegan mother of four children is:

Are your children vegan?

I always think it  is an odd question. I can’t imagine being a vegan and raising meat eating children.  The idea of cooking separate meals within a family environment is just plain silly.  To answer the question, yes my children are vegan and they will eat vegan as long as I purchase and prepare their meals.

With increasing rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes among American children, raising my children as vegans is the best choice for our family.  I know that I am blessed, having given birth to four healthy children without any complications, however I do feel that excellent health is much more about maintenance rather than luck.

The constant in our household is lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Most meals (we indulge from time to time) are cooked from scratch and more often than not, nothing goes to waste because my children clean their plates  and ask for more at almost every meal.  We don’t buy a lot of juice.  If we are thirsty we mainly drink water.  We go through a lot of broccoli, fresh garlic, onions, parsely, cilantro, green onions, apples, bananas, pears, carrots, and peppers of all types.  We eat basmati rice, cous cous, we buy dry beans (pinto, black, navy, garbanzo) and soak them before cooking, we also eat a lot of other grains (barley, quinoa, bulgar, millet).  We cook brown and orange lentils.  We us olive oil, sesame oil, vegetable oil and vegan margarine.  With such an interesting variety to choose from we manage to keep the menu exciting.

Cooking with fresh wholesome ingredients plays a big part in whether or not your children will eat healthy for a life-time rather than part-time.  My eldest will eat an entire container of cherry tomatoes.  My middle son will beg for a banana smoothie to start his day.  My youngest son will eat just about anything you place in front of him.  All of my children have been or are currently breast-fed.  I believe that breastfeeding is absolutely the single most important thing that you can do for your baby.  Breastfeeding helps children develop healthy appetites as well as a healthy immune system.

Vegan children are not as picky eaters and tend to be just as adventurous as their parents.  I love this.  I don’t get strange looks when I use curry spices or when making a sofrito for my spanish yellow rice, or when I use seaweed or any other not so average spice or flavor combination.

I would love to hear from other vegans out there who are raising vegan children and vegans who are not raising vegan children.  What are the choices of the different households?  What is grocery shopping like?  Are you a meat eating parent with a child who refused to eat the Standard American Diet?  Are your children vegan?

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5 comments to Are your children vegan?

  • I’m a vegan mom and I’m raising my son vegan. Anything else would seem like less than the best I could do for him. He has pretty grown up tastes for a 3 year old; hummus with carrots and bell pepper, salad (especially radishes) with vegan Italian dressing, almost anything with garlic, . He’d probably eat nothing but a variety of fruit if I let him, and drinks as much soymilk as I will give him. He does enjoy some classic little kid foods, too, like peanut butter and jelly or vegan baked beans. I’m very careful to make sure he gets adequate nutrition but he always surprises me with how much healthy food he will eat compared to non-vegan children.

  • I don’t have any children, but in my experience with them and food, I’ve noticed that the children who are exposed to more processed, sugary, chemicalized, artificial junk foods are less likely to be open to try real food than kids who grow up with their caregivers preparing real meals and/or veg*n dishes.

    Every food we come to like is a result of acquiring a taste for it. There are many vegetables I am just now eating as an adult because I learned to prepare it differently than how it was presented to me as a child.

    My boyfriend’s 7yo son (omnivore) amazes me whenever I’m around him, because he’ll go through a 5oz container (at least 4 cups) of arugula like they’re potato chips, and then look at you like, “Oh, I thought this was for ME. You should have bought another one for yourself.”

    He loves olives, and is surprising open to bitter greens (he’ll eat arugula and dandelion raw)

    And I know he doesn’t eat like that at home with his mother, so sometimes you just have to figure out how to present healthy foods to kids without labeling them as something they MUST eat or punishing them for not liking it.

  • I just had to add one more comment: Look at those cheeks! I bet her whole face just lights up when she smiles.

  • RM

    We are not vegan, but trying to get our children to eat healthier cand more fruits and vegetables, more vegan faire because its better for our bodies. We have an autistic 8 yr. old who we have slowly weaned off of junk food and into “real food” over the last 2 yrs. Going gluten and casein free really helped. He still will not eat vegetables. He has to drink them disguised with fruit in smoothies. I would give anything to witness him eating a salad of dark greens,or even carrot sticks.
    I know regret exposing him to junk food as a young child.

  • laviyah

    Small steps. What greens do you enjoy? Sometimes if they see you eating something really healthy but it is evident that you are enjoying it as well, they ask for a taste. Keep trying, he will come around as his taste buds mature and adapt. Thank you for sharing!

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