Vegan diets can be healthy for children, but it can take a bit more planning. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA
Vegan diets can be healthy for children, but it can take a bit more planning. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA

RECIPES: Nutritious vegan meals for kids

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Jul 12, 2021

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Vegan diets can be healthy for children, but it can take a bit more planning.

There are some essential nutrients easily found in foods such as meat and fish, so vegan or vegetarian diets need to be well planned for both adults and kids.

With help from dietitian Ezette Oosthuizen and cookbook author Chantal Lascaris, here are some of nutritious vegan meal ideas for kids.

Chantal Lascaris’s picks:

Baked Courgette Fries

Who doesn’t love chips? So how about some baked courgette fries as a snack. Courgettes, also known as baby marrows, are high in antioxidants and because they’re baked and not fried, they’re low in fat without sacrificing the flavour of crunchy chips.

Butter beans

Butter beans make great sauces. I like to use them for pasta sauce. Add nutritional yeast to give it a creamier texture and some cashews to make it richer and keep the bean sauce softer. Butter beans are rich in protein, fibre, and iron, perfect for your child’s growth. Sneak in some shredded baby spinach which is sweeter and more tender than normal spinach. Then add some garlic and herbs such as origanum to give a bit more flavour. Look out for pasta that contains the most protein.

Pita bread

Being vegan, pita bread is perfect for all kinds of fillings. Hummus is pita’s perfect partner and, made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil, is full of goodness. Chickpeas are high in protein and tinned chickpeas will become staples in your pantry as they’re so easy to use. Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can get, being rich in healthy mono-unsaturated fats and is loaded with antioxidants. Pitas are ideal for feeding your kids as many of the veggies that they like. Most children like sweeter flavours so bell peppers are a good choice as well as carrots for a bit of crunch, along with cucumbers which are high in liquid, giving them a mild flavour.

Ezette Oosthuizen’s picks:

For breakfast

Oats with fruit and a variety of nuts and one teaspoon of chia seeds. This meal contains carbohydrates, protein, fat, and omega 3 from the chia seeds.

Vegan spaghetti bolognese

Made with lentils which are a source of protein. Add extra vegetables to make it more nutritious and nutritional yeast for vitamin B12.

This article was first published in the IOL Food digital magazine.

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