3 Vegan Moms Share Tips for Raising Veggie-Loving Kids
Most moms know that getting kiddos to eat their veggies can be a bit tricky. Whether you’re making a creative plate of cut veggies into animals or turning your healthy green smoothie into a fun monster face, you know that a daily serving of fresh fruits and veggies does your children’s body good. Believe it or not, there are moms out there who have been feeding their kiddos a plant-based diet way before Beyoncé started her vegan food delivery company (holla, Yoncé!). If you’ve ever thought about raising your tot on less meat and more plants, these three vegan moms — Jessica Schoech, Marisa Miller Wolfson and Michelle Schwegmann — are here to share their advice for healthy, happy kids.
1. Read up on vegan kid nutrition. Just like with an omnivore child, it’s best to know what nutrients your growing babe needs daily. Marisa, mom of two-year-old Gabriel, highly recommends Raising Vegetarian Children, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Eating for Kids and Disease-Proof Your Child as great resources for learning the basics. For vegan mommy blogs, all three recommended Bonzai Aphrodite and Plant-Powered Kitchen.
2. Always be prepared for events. Cooking for your child at home makes it easy to be vegan, but before attending another child’s birthday party, Michelle recommends to “Bring a special treat for your child whenever there is a celebration.” She also points out that, “Most people these days go out of their way to be nice and provide something for everyone. In those times when they aren’t prepared, we are ready so Ruby isn’t left out.”
3. Connect with other vegan parents. Community is super important for new parents, and that’s why chatting online with other plant-based parents can be so helpful. Marisa suggests Facebook groups such as Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting and What Vegan Children Eat, as well as Pinterest for menu-planning inspiration “based on what other vegan parents are posting.”
4. Pack awesome school lunches. Michelle posts her daughter Ruby’s school lunches on Instagram as a way of showing the variety of yummy snacks and nutritious meals she eats every day. Michelle often packs fresh fruit like grapes, strawberries and bananas, and even snap peas straight from her garden. Search #rubybirdslunch on Instagram for instant lunch inspiration (adults included!). (Photo via @HerbivoreClothing)
5. Buy some family-friendly vegan books. All the mamas cited Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Familiescookbook as a must-have for easy whole foods ideas. Michelle says, “All of Ruby Roth’s children’s books are great for vegan kids of different ages.” During pregnancy, Jessica said The Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide was her go-to resource. (Photo via Herbivore Clothing)
6. Get creative in the kitchen. Some of the most requested meals that these vegan moms make are ones that they’ve crafted themselves. “One of my son’s favorite meals is something we call ‘noochy noodles.’ I mix quinoa lentil pasta, vegan butter and lots of nutritional yeast — it’s packed with protein and B12 — and he loves it,” says Jessica. Marisa says Gabriel loves “avocado toast with homemade cashew cheese, chia pancakes or healthy muffins with almond butter on them” for breakfast.
7. Keep the conversation going. Curious kiddos will ask questions about why some people eat meat and some people don’t. When Jessica’s son asked why they don’t eat honey, Jessica explained to him, “Honey is made by bees who collect nectar from flowers to make honey for their families in hives. If we eat it, then they won’t have anything to eat.” Michelle suggests keeping the discussion age appropriate and tailoring the talk as your child grows. “When Ruby was very small,” says Michelle, “We would simply say, ‘We love animals and don’t want to hurt them. It hurts them when people eat them, so we don’t want to do that.’ ”
8. Visit a farm sanctuary together. Sanctuaries such as Gentle Barn, Farm Sanctuary and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary are great places for children to meet animals who are typically seen as livestock. During a recent trip, Jessica said her son saw a turkey and declared, “I like turkeys. We don’t eat turkeys. We eat plants.” (Photo via Farm Sanctuary)
9. Respond with logic rather than an emotional outburst. Curious omnivores might ask you tons of questions about feeding your child a vegan diet. “I have found the key is to stay calm when people ask tons of questions. I simply take a deep breath and respond with logic and well-researched information rather than from a place of emotion,” says Jessica.
10. Don’t fret that it will take you forever to make your child’s meals. A common misconception is that vegan cooking involves expensive shopping trips to Whole Foods and hundreds of hours in the kitchen. Marisa disproves that and says, “Every parent, omnivore or vegan, who wants to feed their kids well will have to spend more time in the kitchen.” Michelle agrees: “It is incredibly important to me to make healthy, delicious food for myself and my daughter, so I make it a priority.” (Photo via Herbivore Clothing)
11. Learn how to answer the inevitable question, “What if your child decides to eat meat some day?” This is a common question that these three plant-based parents are asked by well-meaning friends and family curious about their lifestyle. Marisa handles this question by answering honestly, “He might. He will probably decide to do all kinds of things I won’t be thrilled about like dating the wrong people or wearing ridiculous clothes. Parenthood at some point is an exercise in surrendering control.”
Would you consider raising your children vegan? Tell us in the comments!
(Featured photo via Herbivore Clothing)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.