What a Vegan Kid Eats in a Day: My Toddler’s Typical Daily Menu

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What does a vegan kid eat in a day? As a mom of an almost two year-old vegan toddler, I find myself answering this question quite often. So today I’m going to share one day’s worth of my vegan daughter’s meals and snacks as an example.

What my vegan kid eats in a day: an example of my vegan toddler's menu for a day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. | Vegan Runner Eats

Before I became a mom, I thought that planning a menu for vegan children would be very complicated. Fast forward two years into my experience of raising a little vegan, and I’m glad to report that it’s actually not a big deal.

I’ll admit that we’re lucky that my daughter baby J is an adventurous eater, and that she eats pretty much the same foods we do. Of course I try to follow some nutrition guidelines for vegan kids, but at this point it has become so second nature that I don’t even think about it when making her meals.

Below are a few rules I try to follow to ensure my vegan toddler’s menu is nutritious, varied and fun:

Things I Keep in Mind When Planning My Vegan Toddler’s Menu

– I offer a large variety of foods to my daughter, and introduce new foods regularly. I try to make sure she gets plenty of calories to maintain her growth and keep her energy levels up.

– I try to include plant-based foods that contain protein, fats, and quality carbohydrates into every meal (but don’t stress when some meals aren’t as balanced).

– I make sure to include sources of vitamin B12 (sprinkle fortified nutritional yeast on some foods, and use a B12 supplement), vitamin D3 (supplement), omega-3 fatty acids (ground flax seed, seaweed snacks), iron (blackstrap molasses, beans), etc.

– I try not to stress about feeding her only “super healthy” foods: I believe that offering treats like cookies, muffins, etc., and kid favorites like veggie nuggets and French fries from time to time forms a healthier relationship with food in the long run compared to putting those foods on a no-no list and thus giving them a status of a forbidden (but oh so desired) fruit.

What My Vegan Kid Eats in a Day

Below are the meals and snacks my vegan (almost) 2 year old had on a recent weekday.

For her meals, I usually offer 2-4 different things with the thought that if she doesn’t like one thing, she will have something else to eat. Plus, this helps provide a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients.

The meals I’m showing below may seem like a lot of food, but obviously she doesn’t always finish everything – she’s a toddler, after all 🙂

Breakfast

On this day, I woke her up at around 6:40 am. At around 7 am, she sat down to eat a breakfast of steel-cut oatmeal, peanut butter, soy yogurt, and fresh blueberries.

What vegan kids eat for breakfast: a typical breakfast for my 2 year old vegan toddler

Steel-cut oatmeal has been one of her favorite things to eat for breakfast. I make it in my Instant Pot following my Instant Pot steel cut oatmeal recipe. To add nutrition, I mix in a little bit of blackstrap molasses for iron, and ground flax seed for omega-3 fatty acids. Oftentimes I’ll add a few drops of a liquid B12 supplement.

Baby J loves peanut butter, especially when it melts under the heat of the oatmeal and can be mixed into it. Fresh blueberries are also a nice addition, but she usually prefers them on the side rather than mixed in.

Non-dairy yogurt has been a hit or miss for us. Baby J always tries it, but doesn’t always finish. On this particular day, I gave her mango-peach flavored soy yogurt by Silk.

Nutrition: Protein from soy yogurt and peanut butter; carbohydrates from oats and blueberries; fats from peanut butter and oatmeal; vitamins C and A from blueberries; vitamin B12 from a supplement; iron from blackstrap molasses and oats.

Morning Snack

This was baby J’s daycare day – she goes there 3 half-days a week while I go to work. The daycare provides a morning snack, but the kids have to bring their own lunch.

Most of the time the snack is not vegan-friendly, but they try to accommodate baby J if needed by offering fruit, rice cakes, hummus, etc.

If I have any baked goods at home, I’ll send those in with her to have at snack time. On this day I had my healthy vegan chocolate muffins that I made in a mini-muffin pan (it yields 24 instead of 12), so I put two of those into her daycare bag.

Vegan chocolate muffins - a healthy snack for vegan kids

I dropped baby J off at daycare at around 8:20 am. The morning snack time is at 8:30 am.

Lunch, 1st Attempt: Daycare

For baby J’s lunch, I packed rotini pasta with tomato sauce, chickpeas, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (more vitamin B12); cubed polenta (one of my original vegan baby food recipes); chopped avocado; fresh blueberries for dessert.

Baby J’s daycare can microwave her food for her, so she’s OK with meals of this kind.

What vegan kids eat for lunch at daycare: a typical vegan lunch I pack for my vegan toddler to bring to daycare.
Baby J uses this lunch box to take her meals to daycare

Nutrition: Protein from chickpeas and pasta; carbohydrates from pasta and polenta; fats from avocado; vitamins C and A from blueberries; vitamin B12 from nutritional yeast on pasta and in polenta; iron and lycopene from tomato sauce.

Lunchtime happens at around 11 am at daycare, which is quite early for baby J. Most of the time she doesn’t eat a lot, so when I pick her up at 12:30 ad bring her home, she sits down to eat some more of whatever wasn’t eaten at daycare.

Lunch, 2nd Attempt: Home

On this day, she didn’t eat much at all at lunch time, so almost all of the pasta, polenta and avocado were offered to her again when we got home.

What vegan kids eat for lunch: pasta with chickpeas and tomato sauce, polenta cubes, and avocado.
I’m using this silicone plate to serve baby J’s meals in these pictures

If this wasn’t a daycare day, she would get all this for her regular lunch at 12:30 – 1 pm.

After her lunch, she always has some fresh fruit for dessert. On this day it was sliced nectarines:

What vegan kids eat in a day: sliced fresh fruit as a snack

Afternoon Snack

After baby J wakes up from her nap, she likes to have a snack. Some of her favorite afternoon snacks include hummus and rice cakes or crackers, a slice of vegan cheese (the Follow Your Heart Creamy Original is her favorite), cookies or muffins if I have any, fresh popcorn that daddy makes every now and then, etc.

I have a post with lots of ideas for vegan snacks for kids – as baby J’s eating capabilities are becoming more sophisticated (i.e. she can chew better and doesn’t gag as much), I’m adding more of those into her ratio.

On this day, I offered her some roasted seaweed snacks, and she happily gobbled down about half of the package. I realize that not every kid is so adventurous in their eating habits, but I’ve always been a fan of seaweed and nori sheets in particular, so she must have inherited this from me.

What vegan kids eat in a day: seaweed snacks as a plant-based snack option for vegan kids

Tip for saving $$ when buying seaweed snacks: they tend to be quite pricey at regular grocery stores when sold in individual serving-size packages, but if you go to the nearest Asian grocery store, you’ll most likely find a huge selection priced way cheaper. I buy the snacks pictured above in bundles of eight for about $3.99.

Nutrition: Seaweed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and iodine, which can be tricky to find on a vegan diet.

Dinner

On this day, I made a veggie stir-fry with tofu as a main course, and served it with brown rice. Stir-fries can be a hit or miss with baby J, but she’s always a big fan of rice.

I gave her a small amount of stir-fry to see if she would eat it at all (she didn’t eat much of it, but she picked at tofu). I also offered her some leftover curried lentil stew, which she has loved since she first started eating solids, so it’s always a nice option to fall back on.

I try to offer fresh vegetables at most meals if possible, so tonight I cut up some baby tomatoes. Baby J had helped me pick them in our garden earlier. I’m trying to establish an understanding of where our food comes from, so going to the garden together is a part of that process.

What vegan kids eat for dinner: an example of a dinner for my vegan 2 year old

Nutrition: Protein from lentils and tofu; fat from tofu and oil in the stir-fry; carbohydrates from rice and lentils; iron, folate and magnesium from lentils; vitamins C and A from tomatoes and vegetables in the stir-fry.

After dinner, baby J usually has some more fresh fruit or berries. I didn’t take a picture of what it was on this day, so you’ll have to trust my word.

Trying to make being vegan easier both for yourself and your family? Check out my favorite vegan finds on Amazon, from useful cookbooks and vegan pantry staples to kitchen tools, products for vegan kids, etc.!

This wraps up my description of what my vegan kid eats in a day. In my future posts, I’ll share the nutrition rules I follow when planning out my vegan toddler’s menu, and offer more ideas for kid-friendly vegan meals that she loves.

Other vegan bloggers share their experience of feeding their vegan children: see what Candace at What Vegan Kids Eat, and Emmeline at Positive Vegan Parenting are saying.

Question for you: If you have vegan kids, what are their favorite meals and/or snacks? Please share below!

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About Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Being vegan eventually opened her eyes on the issues of animal welfare, environmental protection, human rights and feminism. Alina hopes that her blog will help its readers on their path to making this world a better place.

7 Responses to What a Vegan Kid Eats in a Day: My Toddler’s Typical Daily Menu

  1. Suzy says:

    Hi Alina. I would eat all of that! And I love that little dish! Question: Are you worried at all about the amount of soy? I keep getting well-intended advice about women getting too much soy and the “harmful effects.” Can you address this perhaps in a future blog? Or maybe you have and I missed it! Thanks much!

    • Hi Suzy! Thank you, and that’s a gret question! Honestly, I’m not concerned about soy: I read a lot about it, especially in articles by Drs. Michael Greger, Neal Barnard, and the like. From what I understand, the phytoestrogens in soy (the stuff all soy haters bring up) are way weaker than the real estrogens people consume from dairy, meat, etc. Cancer cells, especially in the most common type of breast cancer, need estrogens for growth, but if they find the weaker phytoestrogens instead, their growth will be way slower.

      Besides, soy contains various components that are good for heart and bone health, especially in post-menopausal women. I’ve read somewhere – I think it was Dr. Greger’s article – that populations where women traditionally eat soy starting from a young age tend to have less heart disease and breast cancer when those women are older. That’s why I think I’m doing my daughter’s health a favor by offering her soy.

      And obviously, there’s that plant-based protein that all vegans love so much 🙂

      Hope this covers your question! I’ve touched upon this subject in my post about baking tofu, but maybe I should go back and expand what I’ve written there.

  2. Sharon Bates says:

    Alina, My mostly vegan 3 yr old loves smoothies (especially green) for breakfast, or anytime of the day for that matter. Sometimes substituting for ice cream!
    I also recently ordered him a peanut butter & banana (no honey) sandwich, which came with apple slices, and he gobbled it up! I made it at home this morning- for all of us- and we all enjoyed it. ;P
    He also enjoys Avocado Toast, Rosemary (& Almond Meal) Crackers, Juice Pulp Muffins, Açaí Bowls, Bean & Avo Burritos, and is just now finally getting into chopped salads. (Check out Chef AJ’s Sensational Salad recipe on YouTube.)

    It’s great to know, my lil’ guy isn’t the only one that skims through his meals often.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

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