Whitney and Alex are founders of the Plant-Based Juniors community, both registered dietitian nutritionists, and certified personal trainers. After developing thousands of recipes, they started this resource for families who want to raise plant-based nourished children.
Encouraging youngsters to eat plant-based foods is good for them, animals and the planet. It’s a legal requirement under the Equalities Act 2010 to provide children with plant-based meals if wished (many ethnic minorities are lactose-intolerant). Many children cannot eat animal foods, due to allergies or religious beliefs.
The PB3 Plate for Kids was designed by the authors of the above recipe book. Unlike other models, the three components take up one third of the plate, calling out nutrients of importance from each category. They recommend vitamin B12 supplements for vegan children, not eating fortified foods.
Two schools already offering plant-based meals to students are Muse Global Schools (California) and Sion School (Sussex, England). The latter uses locally-grown seasonal ingredients, and are working to produce a menu that eliminates major allergens, using organic produce. The governor of Illinois (US) and Brazil both recently signed Bills to ensure all students have access to plant-based meals.
A recent survey found many children are so far removed from where food comes from, they thought cheese came from plants, fish fingers were from chickens (or pigs), tomatoes grew underground, potatoes grew on trees and pasta and bread were made of meat! On a positive note, the Devon town of Tavistock (a 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, so they could not survive’.
Plant Based Juniors Nut-Free Plant-Based Lunchbox is filled with allergy-friendly meals and snacks. All rich in the protein, fat, energy and minerals found in nuts, but free peanuts and other tree nuts. The book includes info on navigating nut-free schools and lunchbox tips. Recipes can be adapted for families with compound allergies.
Use vegan butters with no palm oil. Use a reusable silicone baking liner or unbleached parchment paper (in compostable packaging). Keep recipes away from pets, due to toxic ingredients.
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.
The Devil’s Kitchen (Gloucestershire) is a catering wholesaler from eco-entrepreneur Dale Vince (who bought a football club and turned it carbon-neutral). It offers a range of tasty plant-based meals that are all also free from palm oil. Keep these meals away from pets, due to toxic ingredients like onions, garlic, mushrooms and spices.
Made with renewable energy from his own company Ecotricity, the meals use seasonal ingredients to replace (not mimic) meat and meet government guidelines for fat, salt and sugar content. They are free from air-freighted ingredients and packaged in home-compostable case liners and FSC-certified boxes.
The company also makes school food for little green devils! And the range is so popular, it’s now also in many colleges and universities. The growing range is never fried and free of the major allergens, produced in its own dedicated facilities with handpicked ingredients, and detailed audits on each one. The range includes:
Shiitake mushroom burger (made with a savoury blend of herbs & spices). Spicy Vegan Burger is made with textured pea protein and oyster mushrooms. Also as Southern Style (Deep South y’all!), Thai Green Curry and Jamaican Jerk Burger (sweet potato, spring onion, lime juice, herbs & spices.
Spicy vegan balls (pea protein is combined with red pepper, onion and a wickedly spicy seasoning). Also in Thai Green Curry (with coconut cream), Moroccan Style (cinnamon, coriander & cumin) and tomato ragu plant balls.
Typically football food is hideous. Burgers are really awful, unappealing products that are cheap as dirt. We’ve replaced them with quality delicious food that doesn’t damage the planet. Kids really get vegan food. They’re more open-minded and want more choice. Our products are simple – great food made from vegetables. I am really excited about what the future holds, we’ve had so much positive feedback. Dale Vince