Encouraging youngsters to eat plants is good for them, animals and the planet. It’s also a legal requirement under the Equalities Act 2010 to provide children with plant-based meals if wished (many ethnic minorities are lactose-intolerant). Many other children cannot eat animal foods, due to allergies or religious beliefs.
The PB3 Plate for Kids was designed by the authors of the recipe book below. Unlike other plate models, the three components take up one third of the plate, calling out nutrients of importance from each category. They recommend vitamin B12 supplements if your child is vegan and not getting it through fortified foods.
Use palm-oil-free vegan butter. Keep these recipes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (garlic, onion, leeks, chives, mushrooms, grapes, nuts, avocado, dried fruits, nutmeg, fresh dough, green potatoes/onions, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, jackfruit and xylitol).
Two schools already offering plant-based meals to all its students are Muse Global Schools (California) and Sion School (Sussex, England). The latter also uses locally-grown seasonal ingredients, and are working to produce a menu that eliminates all major allergens, using organic produce. The governor of the US state of Illinois (and the country of Brazil) have both recently signed Bills to ensure all students have access to plant-based meals.
A recent survey found that many children are so far removed from where their food comes from, that they thought cheese came from plants, fish fingers were from chickens (or pigs), tomatoes grew underground, potatoes grew on trees and that pasta and bread were made of meat! But on a positive note, the Devon town of Tavistock (a real foodie haven) became the first town where McDonald’s could not sustain business, and had to shut up shop. One local said ‘We feed our children properly here, so McDonald’s could not survive’.
Plant Based Juniors Nut-Free Plant-Based Lunchbox is a super e-book to download, for any family or school that wishes to offer allergy-friendly meals and snacks for children. After discovering that their children’s schools were nut-free, they needed foods to replace the protein, fat, energy and minerals found in nuts, so created alternatives that are free of peanuts and tree nuts. The book also includes info on navigating nut-free schools and has tips to get children to eat what’s in their lunchbox. The recipes can be adapted for families with compound allergies.
Whitney and Alex are founders of the Plant-Based Juniors community, both registered dietitian nutritionists, and certified personal trainers. After developing thousands of recipes and writing cookbooks, they started this resource for families who want to raise plant-based nourished children. They also have written:
- The Plant-Based Juniors Pregnancy Guide that covers all you need with 175 pages of evidence-based advice, to make the best nutrition decisions, for your growing family.
- Plant-Based Juniors First Bites for all you need to know to raise and wean a plant-based baby and toddler. Includes a first foods visual guide, tips on calcium and iron, a shopping list and simple recipes.
- Batch Cook E-book is a book of easy recipes, including tips on making foods safe for younger children.