Plant based Munchies

A journey towards whole food, plant based, healthy eating….


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Children and healthy eating

By far, the biggest traffic inducer to this blog has been discussing healthy eating for kids. It seems many, many parents are on this venture to know HOW to get their kids to eat better. Let me start by saying that we tend to be really patient with kids learning to walk, read, write, and learning how to ride a bike but want them to eat well NOW. And some kids do right from the start, but for many, it is a learnt skill.

My eldest was about 4.5 when he finally clicked into gear with natural foods. And his eating improved not long after ours, so I do think it was partly modelling. All kids want to be like their parents in some way so if they see you drinking green smoothies and eating salad and veg primarily then they will – eventually – want to do the same.

Mr 3 is still a battle but we are working on colours of food with him. You can present food in rainbows for example and tell them they need to choose 2-3 colours. My youngest LOVES yellow – so matching his yellow clothes, we have grown yellow tomatoes and serve up yellow capsicum, pineapple, banana, and whatever else is yellow.

This is going to be a long post but in the meantime for those desperate for ideas, here are some we have done:

IMG_0657-001          Vegetarian kids: dippy egg with loads of “sticks” to dip with.

IMG_0686 They will eat anything if it is wrapped up with hommous.

IMG_0902  Anything healthy baked   into  bread scrolls.

IMG_0803-001     The sensational tomato sauce in pastry scrolls.

IMG_0784  Salads with mango, macadamias and avocado (so they get used to the feeling of eating salad)

And no photo for these (yet) but pasties are a hit (cumin spiced veggies in pastry triangles) as well as nachos. I use ORGANIC corn tortillas (GMO corn is scary),  the sensational tomato sauce (packed full of nutrition) and mashed avocado with lemon on top. The kids ADORE that. Just leave out the cheese and sour cream (they don’t need it), use fresh avocado and a goodness-packed tomato sauce and it is quite an awesome meal. I’ll post pics and a recipe next time I make it!

Also for snacks, the vege chips and carob, oat and banana balls are a hit. And the baci balls disappeared!

Hidden foods
There was a book that came out some time ago about how to hide good veggies in ‘bad’ food for kids. Chocolate, zucchini slice and chicken nuggets dipped in cauliflower puree etc. Part of me does a happy dance when I see the boys eating lovely nutritious food that they don’t know they are eating!

But on the whole, I actually think that if we hide veggies, kids don’t learn that they are a normal part of eating and learn to enjoy their natural flavour. KJ has now started raw broccoli dipped in hommous. I could not believe my eyes at first but it is testament to – if you keep serving it (without fuss), eventually they will try it. It needs to become normal.

Eating out

I detest children’s menus. Chicken schnitzel and chips, fish and chips, hamburgers… apart from the fact that I’m vegan, I just despair that restaraunts don’t see the value in salad and veg for kids. They know what parents want: something salty and fatty that will keep the kids happy and quiet when eating out!

I remember a pizza place in New Zealand served a “Healthy kids platter” and it was totally divine. It was a snack plate of nibbles – carrot sticks, cheese, ham rolled up, celery, bread triangles… that was in our pre-vegan days too but I LOVE that restaurant for valuing a healthy food option for children.

My kids would probably prefer rice, stir fry veg and some veg spring rolls. That’s their ‘norm’ for eating out. I just think we shouldn’t underestimate them.

School

This leads me onto school. What.the.heck is our school thinking calling themselves a healthy eating canteen when they serve hotdogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, nuggets and my most horror of horrors, SLUSHIES. NO children need a cocktail of petrochemicals and sugar at school. It is going to inhibit their learning, lead to difficulty in controlling their behaviour and thus, likely to end up getting them into trouble. I will most definitely be tackling the canteen at some point in our life together 🙂

Artificial colours are dangerous for kids. I’ll post  more on that another day.

See spoonfed blog

Fed up with food additives has a HUGE amount of information, this link is particularly to artificial colours/additives numbers to avoid in foods. Print it out, take it with you. And their recipes

Jamie Oliver’s food revolution – recipes included.

In the mean time, see below for a birthday cake we made for my eldest’s 5th birthday. This is done using absolute natural, plant based colours.

Naturally coloured rocket cake

Naturally coloured rocket cake

And so was this one for his 4th:

Naturally coloured monster truck cake

Naturally coloured monster truck cake

The boys have never had a smartie in their life so this was a cheeky first for them. But they are also naturally coloured (although do contain dairy). The rest of it is dairy free and petrochemical free.

There are loads of options available these days where we CAN avoid the nasties in food. It takes a little research when you are getting into it…feel free to ask questions and as you’ve requested, I’ll put some more posting energy into kid friendly food snacks. 🙂

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A month of green smoothies

I found a fantastic post today via pinterest. This is from All Things Good – go have a look if you are into green smoothies!

green

It is just a way to organise your smoothies to take the morning stress of preparation out of the equation (if it is a stress). It is  also a way not to have a bunch of kale go feral in your fridge waiting for smoothies 🙂
I’m going to do this. Though I think mixing it up with raspberries or lemon/mint etc would be good too so they are not the same everyday.

Hope this helps.


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Asian style mega salad

Asian style mega salad

We were having on of *those* nights and figured today was a day for takeaway. After getting the kids into bed and flicking through the menus, Dave realised that takeaway options really aren’t going to be anywhere near as healthy or tasty as something we would make :).

So this is what he came up with! A colourful, extremely tasty, healthy crunchy salad with a delicious Asian dressing.

What is in the salad you ask?

Mixed leaf lettuce

wombok cabbage

Capsicum – red and yellow

Carrot – slithered

Brocolli – little florets

Almonds

Fried shallots

Dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

2cm of ginger, minced

1 leek, diced

1/4 tsp ground chilli

1 T dark soy sauce

1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp rice malt syrup

Juice of half an orange

1 t rice wine vinegar (splash of)

Saute the garlic, ginger, leek and chilli in coconut oil. Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer until slightly reduced. Add in some water until you are happy with the consistency of the dressing.

This is a seriously lovely salad. Dave has told me the ingredients of the dressing but I have to say, he’s like me and makes up recipes so feel free to alter it to whatever suits your tastes and requirements. Enjoy!


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Vegan raspberry yoghurt ice-cream

Vegan raspberry vegan ice-creamI was remembering my early high school days when I loved nothing more than getting a vegemite roll and a frozen yoghurt from the school canteen for lunch. Nutritious, yes? 🙂 We weren’t so worried then about nutrition as we seem to be these days.

But it did give me an idea. As discussed in prior recipes, we buy a non GMO plain Soy yoghurt. I don’t use it much and thus found myself with a large tub that needs to be used up! This yoghurt has some sugar in it but I think in the scheme of things it is the best of a bad bunch! And I quite like the taste of it in breakfasts sometimes.

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Anyhow…

Ingredients:

1 cup Organic plain soy yoghurt

1 cup frozen raspberries

2 ripe bananas

1 T Agave nectar

Blend the bananas in a food processor until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend.

Freeze!

Alternatively you could freeze the bananas, and if you need an instant icecream, blend yoghurt with frozen bananas and berries and it will be immediately creamy and delicious. I chose to make this one in the day and freeze it again, just for time’s sake.


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Baci energy balls

Baci energy balls

My all-time favourite ice cream back in the day was baci. Baci, in Italian, means “kisses”. I have just started learning Italian so I figure this was an appropriate place to start: I absolutely adore the choc-hazlenut combination.

Let it be said though, this is not a rich, sweet creamy dessert. But they are delicious, healthy, choc-hazlenut energy balls all the same! You could easily press it down into a container and cut it up into brownies too if preferred.

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Ingredients:

1.5 cups hazelnuts

1 cup Medjool dates (pitted)

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1/3 cup pepitas

1/4 cup raw cacao

1 T rice syrup (or agave nectar)

1 T coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

It really is as easy as putting it all in a food processor and waiting for it to combine. I find the balls work better though if you grind the hazelnuts down before adding anything else, however. I don’t mind if the pepitas are still chunky in the balls, a bit of texture is good I figure.

I add the rice syrup more for moisture than sweetness – if you like extra sweet, you may even need more but if you’re not a huge sweet tooth, you could well leave the rice syrup out and use 1 T of water. It just helps to combine the mixture.

My last tip on making balls is to use a melon baller if you own one? It helps for measuring for the same sized balls and also begins a perfect round shape 🙂

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Sunrise breakfast

Healthy sunrise breakfast

Healthy sunrise breakfast

This breakfast is a zingy, fresh, gorgeous start to a day: and that is coming from someone who would generally prefer not to eat breakfast!

1/4 cup mashed/blended raspberries

1/4 cup puffed amaranth

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 T chia seeds

1/2 cup almond milk

2 fresh dates, chopped

1/2 cup chopped nuts/seeds

1/2 nectarine, chopped

Place the blended raspberries on the bottom of the glass.

Next, top with combined amaranth,vanilla,coconut, chia and milk (I prefer this to be soaked – even for half an hour but preferably overnight. I like it a little mushy!).

Add a 3rd layer of nuts, seeds and dates.
Add a 4th layer of fresh chopped nectarine!

I actually think this would be a beautiful dessert as well. But for now, breakfast sunrise it is 😛


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Plant based eating with kids

It can be a struggle. My 5 yo now is right into spinach, celery, cucumber, carrot etc but it has taken us years to get him there. Our 3 year old…not so much. He likes cucumber without the skin and he likes carrot…cooked. But that’s about it.

Vegan eating with kids

So this is what I am trialling. Snack plate trays they love! Colour, texture, size, crunch, taste…all sorts and they can choose. The deal is though, they have to eat at least 3 different colours.

This night they had the Roast tomato soup (which has lentils in it), baked carrot chips (carrot slithers, baked like the vege chips), baked pita bread, carrot/celery/capsicum/cucumber strips, basil pesto, cashew cream, and baked cauliflower. On the whole it was great! My 3 yo would still prefer to live on air but he got there with some coaxing from my  his brother, who actually loved the soup, and LOVED the cauliflower. Normally he refuses to touch cauliflower so I was happy with this development and he announced that this is the ONLY way he will eat it. Baked? Fine by me!