Veg Kids and Teens
Here is a sampling of easy fruit preparations that are a bit more exciting than plain fruit on a plate. For another nifty idea for using fruit, see Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits. And make sure to explore the entire Veg Kids and Teens page on VegKitchen for lots of easy, healthy recipes for vegetarian and vegan kids and teens. Recipes in this post adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.
The perfect thing to make after you’ve gone apple-picking or to celebrate the first crop of apples at local farmers’ markets. Please, use organic apples!
Serves: 4 to 6
- 6 to 8 large sweet cooking apples, such as Cortland or Rome,
peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons natural granulated sugar, agave nectar,
or maple syrup, or to taste
- Cinnamon to taste
Combine the apples and juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Add sugar and cinnamon to taste, and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Young children often balk at dishes in which ingredients are “touching.” However, I served this often when my sons were younger and had friends visiting. I found that if kids decide for themselves what’s touching what, they don’t seem to mind a mixed dish. In fact, most kids loved creating patterns in their yogurt with the other items, and often asked for seconds.
Serves: 4 to 6
- 1 to 2 medium bananas, sliced
- 1 cup (about half of one 16-ounce can) unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained
- 1 large pear, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup small seedless grapes
- 1/2 cup dark or golden raisins or dried cranberries)
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional
- 1 cup granola, optional
- 2 to 3 cups vanilla soy yogurt
Place all the ingredients except the yogurt into separate, small bowls.
Divide the yogurt among 4 to 6 individual serving bowls. Let everyone take a little of whichever ingredients they’d like to dress up their ambrosia.
CLASSIC STRAWBERRY OR BLUEBERRY-BANANA SMOOTHIE
If you’re looking for just one fruit smoothie combo to fall in love with, this strawberry and banana is a classic for good reason! It’s a good way to start the day
Makes: Two 12-ounce smoothies or three 8-ounce smoothies
- 1 large banana (freeze banana ahead of time
during warm weather for a refreshing effect)
- 1 heaping cup sweet strawberries, hulled,
or 1 cup blueberres (use frozen off season)
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond, rice, or other nondairy milk
- 1/2 cup orange, mango, or berry juice
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, optional
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smoothly pureed. For a thinner smoothie or more servings, add more nondairy milk or juice. Serve at once.
Cooking with the participation of my children and their friends, when they were young, was always an instant spirit-lifter for all. I found this activity particularly successful when my they and their friends were between the ages of 5 and 8, when hand-eye coordination is excellent and the willingness to do adult-supervised activity is still a plus. more→
Halloween used to scare me. My kids coming home with all that junk food sent shivers through my spine. But with a selection of healthy Halloween treats and snacks, it’s a joy, a chance to play dress-up with the kids, and parade around the neighborhood at night, greeting friends, nibbling on healthy, all natural candies, marveling at carved candle lit pumpkins and houses decorated with creepy masks and hanging skeletons. more→
Instead of loading up on store-bought snacks, which are high in sodium, sugar, and fat (nearly all supermarket snack foods contain unhealthy partially hydrogenated fats), try these simple home-made healthy snacks for kids.
Americans are a snack-crazed culture. And for better or worse, our children seem to be born with this passion for snacking. From the time you become a parent until you pack the kids off for college, snack foods will constitute a sizable portion of your food budget, and the interior of your car will be blanketed with crumbs and wrappers.
When my kids were really young, my idea of meal planning during those truly frantic days was to rush into the kitchen at six o-clock, thinking: “Quick! Cook the noodles!” Pasta is the perfect food when you want dinner in a hurry and need to accommodate both adults and children. Most varieties cook quickly enough to accommodate ravenous hunger, yet allow enough cooking time to prepare a simple sauce and a salad. It’s hard not to love pasta, and wonder of wonders, even kids will eat it — even if you have to leave the sauce you like off their portion and just add a little vegan buttery spread. more→
Potatoes are the most widely used vegetable in the United States, but unfortunately, that’s because french fries reign supreme. If your kids enjoy this versatile veggie, let them enjoy it as nature intended, fresh out of its skin—not deep fried in goodness knows what! Make sure to explore the entire Veg Kids and Teens page on VegKitchen for lots of easy, healthy recipes for vegetarian and vegan kids and teens. more→
Getting tofu to taste great and appeal to kid of all ages is easy when you have just the right recipes and tips at hand. If you’re ready for tofu to become a staple in your repertoire, explore our category Tofu Recipes: Easy and Versatile for lots more ideas. more→
If you’re like us, you start the school year with enthusiastic plans to send your kids to school with lunches that are nutritious, affordable, and easy to make. You promise that you’ll plan ahead. You’ll put more effort into it. You’ll cut out the junk. But somehow mid-year finds us settled once again into our old lunch-making routine, frustrated and in search of fresh ideas. But do not despair…making fresh lunches may not be as difficult as you think. Try some of these ideas:
The key to successful school lunches is variety. Finding healthy school lunch recipes and ideas for vegan and vegetarian kids adds to the challenge. Here you’ll find lots of ideas and tips, with links to other VegKitchen posts on creating easy, tasty school lunches. Many of the recipes and tips in this article have been adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.* more→
I’d like to share some thoughts on packing vegan lunches, in celebration of the release of my new cookbook Vegan Lunch Box.* The book features complete, well-balanced lunch menus that you can put together and pack for kids and for grownups. The menus range from easy, familiar, Western-style cuisine, to adventurous gourmet meals with dishes from around the world, like tamales, Greek phyllo triangles, Ethiopian injera bread, spring rolls, and more. more→
There are children who devour plates of crunchy salads and gobble up steamed broccoli, like it was candy, but what do you do if your kids refuse to eat anything green? Children need the vitamins and minerals vegetables provide. Vegetables from the cabbage family are exceptional sources of calcium, vitamins A and C, and beta-carotenes, especially kale and collards. Rather than trying to get your child to eat food she doesn’t like, fix the vegetables in a way that she will enjoy. And do add fresh fruit to the mix. Some children who are balky about veggies like fruit just fine. more→
Here are a few ideas for helping your child transition to a healthier diet, contributed by Amy Hemmert and Tammy Pelstring of Laptop Lunches.
Prepare your child. Talk with your child about nutrition and the importance of developing a healthy body. Together, come up with a family plan, including a list of steps the family wants to take to transition to a more healthful diet. Post the list in a place where everyone can see it. more→