Being a vegan mum, one of the most prominent questions I get asked is “if you guys don’t eat meat or dairy or eggs, what do you eat?” and “What do you feed your children?” I hate answering with beans, grains, veggies, legumes, fruit, nuts and seeds because to be honest, although it is true, put like that it sounds completely boring and unappealing and like rabbit food! The food I eat and serve to my family is hearty, nutritious, filling and most importantly delicious. Here is an example of a typical day of food for our little vegan family, that is sure to answer the question of what do vegans eat.
Rise and Shine!
Unfortunately for me, my girls are early risers…Malia, 7 months wakes for her first feed at 6:30am sharp every morning and Leilani wakes shortly after that. Breakfast for us can range from porridge cooked in vanilla soymilk with blueberries to wholegrain toast with all-fruit jam and peanut or cashew butter or even just cold cereal like weetbix topped with soy milk and banana. With that, Leilani has a glass of rice milk or water, I have a cup or two of tea and Rob, my husband has coffee. On the weekends or when we have extra time we will make vegan pancakes or acai bowls or French toast or a hot breakfast with toast, baked beans, avocado, tomato, mushrooms and spinach.
Morning tea comes along fairly quickly after a busy morning of playing and usually consists of fresh fruit and a drink of water – Leilani loves grapes, strawberries, watermelon, pears and blackberries the best. Morning tea is also sometimes a smoothie, aka “Fairy Milk”, in our house which we all enjoy. It is known as “Fairy Milk” because it is pink or purple depending on the berries used! Other morning tea snacks popular in our house are cashews , almonds, sunflower seeds or some puffed corn or rice or some dried fruit such as dates or sultanas.
When lunchtime comes around, typically on the menu are toasted sandwiches (avocado and tomato are our favourite), salad rolls with lots of avocado, tomato, grated carrot, mixed green leaves and tomato, hummus or tahina with pita bread, cucumbers, carrots and capsicum for dipping, falafel wraps, pasta with Napoli sauce, soups with bread or veggie sushi. I admit to finding it a little annoying that Leilani won’t eat ordinary sandwiches like most other kids – I wish I could just slap together a peanut butter sandwich on those busy days but I have a better chance of her eating it if it is toasted. Sometimes if Leilani is still hungry after lunch, she will have some vegan yogurt, a piece of fruit or an icy pole (usually homemade and made from fresh fruit). Rob and I quite enjoy a piece or two (or three or four) of vegan chocolate after lunch.
It’s Dinner Time…
Dinners are probably the most varied meal we have at our house. We are blessed that Leilani is a good eater and to name a few common dishes, we often eat pasta either with lentil bolognaise, avocado pesto, Napoli sauce or sautéed mushrooms, garlic and onions, Mexican inspired dishes such as tacos, burritos or enchiladas with beans, rice or quinoa, guacamole and salad, Noodles or rice with sesame stir fried vegetables, homemade potato and rosemary pizza, lentil loaf with roast vegies, spinach and tofu ricotta pasties, lentil and sweet potato shepherd less pie, mushroom pie, sausages with mashed potatoes and peas, veggie burgers and fries and various soups such as pumpkin soup, butterbean and herb soup, sweet potato and coconut soup and roast tomato soup all usually with fresh bread.
We don’t do desserts too often, but when we do it is usually sorbet, my chocolate mousse or a couple more pieces of vegan chocolate.
So I guess my point is that we have a very typical and ordinary diet. There is nothing overly exotic about our diet, and on the contrary her diet isn’t boring and rabbit-food like! If we want something, it is not an impossible task. Feeding a vegan family needn’t be a complicated process – I find there are always ways to veganise typical family-friendly dishes – brown lentils are a great replacement for mince in dishes such as bolognaise or burgers, veggie sausages are widely available these days, coconut cream replaces cream quite nicely in soups or desserts and using lots of herbs on dishes that otherwise use cheese will make you wonder what on earth you ever used cheese for in the first place and if you or your child really do miss it there are tons of vegan cheese options around these days!
Cover image: TVW.