If you’re looking for a few simple ways to engage your kids with vegetarian and vegan food, then look no further! We have five easy and fun ways to get children excited over veggies and dairy alternatives here.
Show them where it comes from
Before introducing your kids to vegetarian and vegan food, it is important to show them where their food comes from. Doing this will give them a better understanding of what exactly they are eating and could interest them in dairy and meat alternatives.
There are some platforms such as Twinkl that contain plenty of resources to learn about food and where it comes from. Twinkl has worksheets you can complete with your kids to learn about the origins of their food, as well as PowerPoints and posters.
Simple Happy Kitchen is a fantastic website where you receive simplified information packs about the environmental impact of meat and dairy. You have access to free blog posts about the environmental impact of different milks and the overall impact the meat and dairy industry has on the planet.
Another way to get kids to engage with a vegetarian and vegan diet is through games. We’ve picked a few of our favorites that we think are good fun for parents and children to do together. First, we’ve chosen the Vegetarian Resource Group Quiz, which has different difficulty and topic settings.
The University of Illinois also has an extension website that contains plenty of fun games about fruit and vegetables.
A great way to get kids interested in vegetarian and vegan food is by getting them involved in the process of preparing their own dishes. According to the Government of Canada’s Food Guide, this is a great way to help your child develop healthy habits. They can develop skills for life by measuring ingredients, learning how to read recipes and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.
Meal prepping and cooking with children may seem overwhelming at first. We have selected some easy and healthy vegan recipes for you to start with. An easy vegan snack to begin with is No Diets Allowed’s Ants on a Log – the peanut butter and fruit adds sweetness, whilst the celery is healthy and refreshing.
If you want to explore more advanced recipes with your children, It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken has a vegan and gluten free Tofu Bolognese. The Petite Cook’s Sweet Potato Fritters recipe is also vegan and gluten free, with very simple and wholesome ingredients.
D.I.Y. dairy-free milk
A great way to teach your kids where their food comes from is by making your own dairy milk alternative. This is a fun activity you can do together, and it’s zero waste too! The Minimalist Baker’s Oat Milk recipe requires only two ingredients and takes ten minutes to make. You can also use the leftover pulp to make sweet treats – two delicious recipes are Simple Vegan Blog’s Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles and Vegan Gluten Free Donuts.
The Minimalist Baker also has an Almond Milk recipe, which requires two ingredients and much like the oat milk, only takes ten minutes to prepare.
Making your own milk has many advantages. You can add vanilla extract to sweeten the milk, or change the amount of water to make it thicker. The dairy-free milks last four to five days and can be used in almost anything.
Make it fun and tasty
An activity most kids love to partake in is baking, a perfect excuse to try vegan and vegetarian alternatives. Baking with these alternatives is not only as delicious as recipes requiring eggs and dairy, but is healthier too!
You can find a few vegan baking recipes at Kitchenbar.net that are simple to make with kids, as well as mouth-watering.
Healthy Living James has two vegan baking recipes that both require six ingredients and take under half an hour to make. His Banana Bread & Butter Pudding is refined-sugar free and serves enough for the whole family! Alternatively, his Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies look exactly how they sound; soft, doughy plus they’re gluten free! Another baking recipe to try is Little Green Duck’s Vegan Banana, Pear and Cinnamon Pinwheels, extremely fruity and only taking ten minutes to cook.
One of the most important things when it comes to encouraging children to eat vegetarian and vegan food is having a positive attitude. Don’t enforce your views upon your kids. Instead, show them the benefits of having a vegetarian or vegan diet for themselves, the environment and the animals.
The Vegan Society website provides useful facts to remind your kids that they’re doing a great thing by eating vegetarian and vegan food:
- Those who eat meat spend a whopping £645 extra a year on food, compared to those on a meat-free diet.
- If every UK family stopped eating meat once a week, it would have the same effect as taking 16 million cars off the road.
- John Hopkins University found that, on average, a vegan diet is the most environmentally friendly of all diets and would cut emissions by 70%.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Kid holding sugar snap peas. Featured Photo Credit: Markus Spiske