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)
Your relationship with your finances is one of the most important relationships you'll ever have, and you can't avoid it. That said, for many of us, the pandemic only added to our financial stress. If you find yourself feeling frazzled, just remember that financial insecurity isn't a net-worth issue — it's a mindset issue. And, we happen to have plenty of advice on how to turn your money mindset around so you can take charge of your funds once and for all.
To start, feeling secure begins with a strong foundation, and there's no better time than now to get started stacking the bricks. It's easy to get swept up in the January "new year, new me" mentality, but really? Any time is the right time to get yourself in order. You don't need to wait for a new year, a new moon, the right moment, or a sign from above. You don't even have to start on the first day of the month — you just need to start.
Introducing NerdWallet: A Safe and Reliable Money App
To help with that, we've put together a list of the just-right-for-you ways that NerdWallet can help you monitor your financial outlook. Haven't heard of them yet? NerdWallet is a personal finance company that helps consumers make smarter financial decisions. Their website and app let you compare different financial products, find articles and tools to make financial decisions with confidence, and keep tabs on your finances (hey there, credit score, I see you!) all in one place. Plus, NerdWallet has over 75,000 glowing reviews in the App Store (and a 4.8 star rating) if you want to read up on any more testimonials.
Tim Chen, NerdWallet's CEO and co-founder, started this financial journey in 2009 after his sister needed help finding a credit card. Even with an economics degree and a Wall Street background, it took awhile for Tim to find the right recommendation (so don't feel too bad when it takes you a while, too). Their mission is to bring clarity to all of life's financial decisions.
So it's safe to say that NerdWallet is a pretty good sherpa for your journey, too.
Get the most from your money
Did you know that the money you park in a savings account can lose value? Harsh, but true. If your money isn't earning interest that's on pace with inflation it will actually be worth less to you in the future. And if the bank charges fees? Forget about it. Make sure you're earning the interest you deserve and come out on top. NerdWallet has researched dozens of financial institutions to help consumers find the best options. The hard work has already been done for you, so you can just select the account that works best for you and your nest egg.
Keep an eye on everything, securely
Once everything is set up, tracking and managing your finances is what will keep the money machine running smoothly. You can create an account either through the site or the app and link your bank accounts, then keep tabs on all your finances in one place. Get a clear picture of your saving and spending, get insights into how to master your money, and even build your credit score all in one place.
Get extra credit points
Do you have the best credit card for your lifestyle? Some cards give cash back on every purchase, ones with travel perks, and ones that charge way less interest than you're paying now. NerdWallet takes the guesswork out of choosing the right credit card with simple side-by-side comparisons of different credit cards so that you feel confident choosing the right one. Whatever you want to do, NerdWallet can help you find the best credit card to get it done.
Know your options for settling down
Mortgage rates are pretty low and it looks like they're going to stay that way for awhile, so buying a home might be the move sooner than you think. But there's so much more to a mortgage than just the interest rate! To help you choose a mortgage lender, NerdWallet has in-depth reviews on multiple lenders in a mixture of categories so you get the home loan with the mortgage rate, term, and fees that's right for you.
Settle an old score
NerdWallet helps you monitor your credit score for free and helps you see how little things (like raising the limit on your credit card or paying your bills on time) can increase your score. NerdWallet partners with TransUnion® to provide your VantageScore® 3.0, based on information in your TransUnion® credit report. Your score and credit report information are updated weekly. But that's not even close to all:
- They provide you with tips from experts on how you could build or optimize your credit score
- You'll get a detailed look at your credit score and all the factors that go into it—your payment history, credit utilization, the age and type of accounts, balances, and any recent inquiries
- The credit simulator tool gives you an idea of how your credit score would change if you applied for a new credit card, closed your oldest credit card, or got a new auto loan
- You also get free, unlimited access to your credit report
When it comes to managing your money, safe and reliable is where it's at. Establishing a healthy relationship with your finances begins when you take control and practice habits that build wealth. Signing up just takes a few minutes. Set your intentions to build a solid financial foundation, it will only strengthen your relationship with your finances. And don't be afraid to get a little nerdy while you're at it.