Tips and Recipes for Feeding Vegan Kids
Baked Black Bean Taquitos and Quick Drop Biscuits
Jamie Misner’s children have been vegan from birth.
It was a natural progression. As a vegan herself, she researched veganism in pregnancy and decided she could healthily maintain her lifestyle while pregnant. Her daughters, Margot, 4 ½; Juliette, 2; and baby Alice eat a plant-based diet just like their mom and dad.
We talked to Misner about what being plant-based looks like for her family, as well as how it might look for a family just beginning their vegan journey. As director of Tulsa VegFest, Misner is great at helping families navigate a path toward eating vegan.
“My advice for parents that have children who want to go vegan is to go for it,” she said. “Start by eliminating dairy and substituting tofu for meat at family meals.”
Misner said most grocery stores carry pre-baked tofu, so that’s a good option for beginners.
“I would also suggest going to the local library and checking out some vegan cookbooks and literature on nutrition for vegan kids,” she said.
Allowing kids to be part of the process, including letting them help prepare the food, is a good way to get them involved and interested.
Misner suggests keeping vegan meals basic and straight from the source. The more basic, the more likely kids are to eat it, she said. For each meal she keeps it simple, choosing a protein, a vegetable, a fruit and a starch. For protein, that might be baked tofu or beans. For vegetables, broccoli, edamame, carrots or olives. For fruit, berries, oranges or kiwi. For starch, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain bread or vegan cheese.
“My kids never seem to get tired of this simple concept, as long as I rotate a variety of each category,” she said.
And though the Misner family has embraced being vegan, it hasn’t come without its ups and downs.
“My first pregnancy was a surprise, and I had done no research on a vegan pregnancy. I was scared and frantically searching for medical advice on my choice to stay vegan during pregnancy. It took almost my entire pregnancy for me to not agonize over my choice and worry about my growing baby. I did much research on the internet, reached out to several medical professionals, and finally decided to stay vegan,” she said.
Having gone through three pregnancies while eating plant-based, Misner said one of her biggest hurdles has been not filling up on carbs.
“The first trimester is its own beast, as I have been very nauseous during all three pregnancies. But after the nausea subsides, it’s been important for me to find snacks that aren’t bread, crackers or some other form of processed carbohydrates. My go-to is tofu, Just Egg patties, peanut butter and fruit, nuts, dried fruit or olives,” she said.
This is a Misner family favorite for a snack, lunch or quick dinner.
Baked Black Bean Taquitos
- Tortillas of choice (Siete almond flour tortillas are good)
- 1 (15-ounce) can organic refried black beans
- Organic extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Fill each tortilla with 2 tablespoons refried black beans. Roll filled tortillas into thin burritos.
- Place rolled tortillas on baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 10 minutes. Serve with vegan sour cream, smashed avocado and mild salsa.
Jamie Misner makes these biscuits at least twice a week. “They are quick and delicious, which are two important variables when cooking for young children,” she said.
Quick Drop Biscuits
Makes about 6 biscuits
- 1 cup organic flour of choice (Jamie usually does 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 buckwheat, quinoa or almond flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon organic cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together dry ingredients. Add olive oil and water to dry ingredients. Mix until a sticky dough forms.
- Drop batter by the spoonful onto lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Top with vegan butter, date syrup, applesauce or your favorite jam.
3 Tips for Feeding Vegan Kids
Jamie Misner has many ideas for families who eat plant-based. Here are three!
You can find more at Tulsa VegFest, which takes place in June.
- For all children, vegan or not, keep food separated. It’s a bonus if you can make it look pretty, colorful or attractive.
- Make green smoothies daily.
- Add pureed vegetables as “dips” to as many meals as possible. Misner says her 2-year-old loves dipping all her foods.
Here’s Jamie’s advice for adults considering going plant-based:
“For adults that want to go vegan, I would suggest taking it gradually, and be kind to yourself. Start by cutting out dairy (cheese, milk, butter). There are great vegan alternatives now that can be used in place of dairy. Meal plans are critical to making the transition into a vegan lifestyle. They take the guessing out of each meal and help to eliminate habits of eating animal products. I also suggest adding more beans, fruits and veggies into meals and snacks whenever possible. Last but not least, find a friend or join a group of other like-minded vegan people – support and community is priceless.”
Natalie Mikles is a mom of three. She writes about food, sharing recipes for busy families and picky eaters. She has been recognized for her food columns as well as features on families and issues affecting local children. She loves pizza and movie nights with her family.