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)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com