Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vegeatrian Diet - advantages for children

Found this at the PCRM

Tips for Parents

Vegan diets are safe and offer health advantages, but how does this translate into practical guidelines for parents? Here are some tips for dealing with common situations.

School Lunches / Snacks

It would truly be a challenge to find a classroom where every student eats the same foods. Lactose intolerance, food allergies, ethnic preferences, and religious or dietary restrictions all influence food choices. The classroom can provide an opportunity to introduce students and teachers to healthy foods. Fresh fruit, veggies cut into fun shapes served with bean dip, muffins, and crackers spread with nut butter and fruit, are all healthy, delicious snacks.

Be sure to discuss food issues with your child’s teacher. Find out if the teacher has any classroom rules regarding foods. For example, some teachers may not allow candy or other sweets to be eaten in the classroom—a sign of helpful nutritional interest and concern. Discuss the reasons that your child follows a vegan diet and provide the teacher with nutrition information. Airing these issues ahead of time helps head off problems by familiarizing the teacher with vegan diets. Donating books or cookbooks to the school library is helpful. It’s also useful to link up with like-minded parents for mutual support.

The variety of vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits available can make for interesting school lunch fare. For parents concerned that their child’s meal will be “different,” try meat analogs, soy cheese, or soy yogurt. Leftovers are another quick and easy lunchtime alternative. Experiment with these suggestions:

* Sandwiches—Try hummus or another bean spread with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and shredded carrots in pita bread. Many whole foods stores and some grocery stores sell vegan deli slices that look and taste like bologna, Canadian bacon, roast beef, and turkey. Serve on whole-grain bread with soy cheese, mustard, lettuce, and tomato. Peanut butter is an old standby. For variety, try other nut butters, such as cashew, almond, or hazelnut, with sliced banana or peaches on whole wheat bread. Cutting sandwiches into novel shapes is fun for kids.
* Hot meals—Fill a wide-mouth thermos with just-made or leftover pasta and tomato sauce, hearty bean soup, veggie chili, or stew. Or make your own vegetarian version of “franks & beans” using vegetarian hot dogs and vegetarian baked beans.
* Soups—Warm your child with homemade vegetable or bean soups. If you are short on time, try a low-sodium instant soup. Just stir hot water into the soup mix and pour into a thermos. Round off the meal with some crackers, crunchy baby carrots, and soy or rice milk.
* Side dishes—Choose a couple of the following suggestions to complete your child’s meal: individual boxes of soy or rice milk, soy yogurt, chopped vegetables and dip, whole grain breads or crackers, homemade muffins, rice cakes, pretzels, or fresh fruit. Although the United States Department of Agriculture still mandates that cow’s milk be served with school lunches, many schools will allow juice to be substituted, if you present a physician’s note.

Birthday Parties

Whether the celebration occurs at school or at home, your child needn’t feel like an outsider. If the celebration is for another child, offer to bring a dish or dessert to the party. Some popular foods are listed below:

* Hot dogs—Vegan versions of the traditional meat hot dogs are widely available. Try some of the following brands: Lightlife Smart Dogs or Tofu Pups, Yves Veggie Weiners or Tofu Weiners. Sauerkraut, relish, ketchup, and mustard go well with any of these.
* Hamburgers—Many types of vegan burgers are available in grocery stores or whole foods stores. Try some of the following brands: Boca Burgers, Garden Vegan, or Harvest Burgers. Allow children to add their own toppings—ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, lettuce, tomato, or relish.
* Pizza—Spread tomato sauce on plain bagels or English muffins and have children top them with a variety of fresh vegetables, such as chopped onions, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, or olives. Add a sprinkle of soy cheese for more flavor. If you have time, make or purchase pizza dough and cut the dough into a variety of shapes. Have the kids add the toppings and bake.
* Dessert—Try fruit smoothies using soy or rice milk and frozen fruit. Watermelon slices always go over well with kids. Or prepare a fruit salad, cutting the fruit into a variety of shapes.

If you are making a cake or cupcakes, try some of the following suggestions for replacing eggs and/or dairy in the recipe:

* To replace eggs in baked goods, substitute 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) soft tofu, 1/3 cup applesauce, or 1/3 cup pumpkin for each egg. Half of a small mashed banana can also replace each egg—and tastes great in pancakes or muffins. Commercially prepared substitutes such as Ener-G Egg Replacer (a mixture of potato starch, flour, and leavening) can also be used per package instructions.
* Replace milk with soymilk or rice milk, cup for cup, in any recipe. For buttermilk, substitute each cup with 1 cup of soymilk or rice milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar. For yogurt in recipes, replace each cup with 3/4 cup soymilk or rice milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the great info.

    I made vegan cupcakes for my son's first birthday. They were a hit, one of my friends even repeated the recipe for her son's birthday. I think I openned some minds :)


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