Have you ever been on a road trip with kids before? If you have, then you probably know just how often they will ask for food (you know, when they’re not asking ‘are we there, yet?’). And, if you’re health conscious, then you’ll want to have healthy road trip foods on hand for when your kids insist they are starving and can’t go another minute without eating!
Even if you’ve never been on a road trip with kids before, you’re just anticipating the fact that kids think they need to eat every 5 minutes when it’s the most inconvenient.
For example, both my older girls (ages 3 and 6) just finished up breakfast; so I decided to sit down and write this post. Not even 5 minutes after I sat down, my 6 year old is asking for more food.
So, if you don’t want to spend a fortune feeding your kids food that isn’t good for them, you’ll want to check out the on the go snack recipes below! Get the ingredients (or find them in your cupboard) and start preparing for your road trip. Bonus if you can get your kids to help…without it taking more time!
Don’t forget to grab this list for more ideas on How to Eat Healthy on a Road Trip!
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The Best Road Trip Snacks
Be sure to check out the recipes below and make some before your next road trip so you’re not tempted to stop for fast food or buy packaged processed food like products!
There are 32 road trip worthy recipes below!
All could be considered snacks, and some could even be considered a meal. And, most are mess-free enough to eat in the car. Unless, of course, you have an issue with their even being a single crumb hit the seats or floors in your vehicle, then you may want to wait and eat them when you stop.
My girls and I love energy bites (or balls), and they are super healthy for you. This recipe in particular is only sweetened by dates and raisins, but is still delicious. You could probably find most of the ingredients in your kitchen already, I know I can. Go check it out!
These only have 4 ingredients and are soo much better for your kids than the kind you buy at the store! Just be sure to use maple syrup instead of honey if you need it to be vegan. And, make sure your kids have a way to get them off their teeth when done; maybe have it as a sweet snack before you stop for the night, so they can brush their teeth soon afterwards.
Do your kids have a sweet tooth and need some type of chocolate while on a long road trip? Maybe it’s just because I have girls, but these bars are the perfect healthy chocolate fix for in the car! If you or your kids are vegan, be sure to use maple syrup (or agave or another liquid sweetener) in place of the honey.
Raising Vegan Children: 6 Vital Questions Answered by a Nutritionist
My many thanks to Shawna for asking me to do a guest post and answer some reader questions. I love connecting with other vegans and enjoy helping people with nutrition on a plant-based diet.
What are the three most important things for parents to know when it comes to feeding their children?
I would say my top 3 suggestions would be:
Expose children to a wide variety of foods at an early age and encourage them to try new things. This will widen their palate and not fill them with pre-judgements of any foods.
Don’t make separate meals for parents and kids. It is fine to modify meals, such as leaving out spices (or something of that nature) but once a child is on solid foods, everyone should basically eat the same meal. This will help kids from being picky eaters and save the parents a whole lot of time and stress around meals.
Lead by example! If they see their parents saying “I don’t like vegetables/beans/etc.” or refusing to eat the same thing as the rest of the family, children will think that’s acceptable and follow suit.
What should I do if my child outright refuses to eat what I made for breakfast/lunch/dinner? Should I make them a different meal so they at least eat something, or what would you suggest?
Children can refuse to eat for different reasons. Usually saying “no” is an act of independence; a way for them to have a voice and start their autonomy. For young children, refusing to eat is considered a normal part of their development and this phase will pass. They will eventually get over their food fears and unwillingness to try new foods (especially if the parents and older siblings are leading by example). I would suggest giving them space and allowing them to figure this out in their own time.
I wouldn’t suggest making a separate meal. By doing so you would be catering to the child in ways that might lead to problems down the line, like picky eating which can then lead to nutrient deficiencies. It also will put more demands/stress on the parent who has to prepare these separate meals. As I mentioned above, once the child is able to eat solid foods, she/he should be eating what the rest of the family eats.
As parents, it’s your job is to create opportunities to eat several times a day (based on your child’s age) so that the child can meet his/her appetite and nutritional needs. You should offer a well-balanced meal (see last question for more on this) and set a positive environment at mealtimes so that children enjoy coming to the table.
I also want to add that it is best not to interfere with a young child’s eating habits by way of using pressure, rewards, punishment or other ways to get your child to eat. By engaging in these things, you could prolong the picky eating and damage his/her developing relationship with food as well as erode the trust the child has in you as a supportive parent.
If your children are older and just doesn’t feel like eating what you’re making, they might want to have more of a say in what they’re eating. Having them offer input into meals can help. Even giving the option of “would you rather have brown rice or quinoa with dinner?” gives them a feeling of having a choice (even though both choices are healthy). I find the most successful meals especially for older kids are the “build your own” style. This can be done with tacos, bowls, salads, etc. Mealtimes can go over better with kids when they participate and have choices.
Having said all that, if you think your child still isn’t eating enough or is not currently in that “picky/independence” age, check a children’s growth chart which will indicate if they are growing at a normal pace. You can also refer to this food portion post. While it’s not vegan, it gives you a reference and shows the appropriate portions of food for a child’s age. If you find your child is not in the appropriate height or weight on the growth chart or is dropping foods from his/her diet without adding them back in at some point, see a nutrition professional or feeding therapist that specializes in childhood eating.
My child is starting school in the fall and their elementary school is nut free; do you have any nut-free school lunch ideas that are nutritious?
Many schools are now nut-free but creating a healthy lunch that is vegan and nut free can be done. Below are a few ideas of “main” parts of the meal. You could also add in some fruit, low sugar granola, homemade trail mix, protein balls (with seed butter instead of nut butter) or a dairy-free (low sugar) yogurt to snack on as their “dessert”.
Veggie wrap, pita, or sandwich. Some options are:
Vegan deli slices, spinach, avocado, tomato and carrot shreds
Sunbutter & banana rolls (spread butter on a tortilla, top with thinly sliced bananas, roll it up & cut)
Hummus & veggie sandwich (use different flavored hummus and their favorite sliced/shredded veggies)
Mashed bean and avocado rolls (mash beans and avocado on a tortilla, add a few veggies, roll up & cut)
Baked tofu sandwiches with veggies and their favorite sauce/dressing
Hummus with dipping veggies
Veggie burgers or nuggets
Pasta salad (can sub in chickpea or lentil pasta to make it healthier) with beans and veggies
Vegan grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla (add in veggies like fresh spinach)
Bean, brown rice, veggie & vegan cheese burrito
Vegan quesadilla with beans & veggies
Rice or quinoa salad using their favorite veggies
Leftovers they enjoyed from the night before
Bagel or rice cakes with tofu cream cheese or hummus and thinly sliced fruit or veggies
Pita or bagel pizza with vegan cheese
*If you’re using vegan cheese, be sure to get brands that do not use nuts.
Do kids need to eat on a strict schedule, or is it alright if they simply eat when they are hungry and graze throughout the day when our schedule allows it?
I would say it is better for them to eat when they are hungry, particularly when they are young/toddlers. It helps them to become attuned to the need to eat. When they are just starting out on solid foods, you could introduce a variety of finger foods in front of them that have a variety of tastes such as a few berries, piece of apple, and mashed beans which will encourage them to be more adventurous in their eating and to try different foods without pressure.
For older children, I would say it’s also okay to have them eating when they are hungry, especially if they’re active in sports and have to be on different schedules. This will give them the energy and nutrients they need for an active life even if their schedule doesn’t allow for strict mealtimes. That said, you don’t want kids overeating or grazing on foods because they are bored. If they’re not very active, I’d stick to mostly mealtimes (using your judgement) especially if you see them looking for snacks because there’s “nothing else to do”. This can lead to weight issues which are becoming more prevalent in our society. You want to instill good eating habits as early as possible.
How do I know what to feed my kids on a daily basis? With so much information available online, it’s hard to pick through and know what to trust.
I hear you about all the information online. It can get very confusing and frustrating. If you’re looking for nutrition advice, I’d look on the site’s “about me” page to see the person’s credentials. You want someone with at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nutrition. The word “certified” doesn’t mean much since people can get a certification after a 3 week course but “licensed” is a good word to look for because states have specific education and examination requirements. A CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialists) or RD (Registered Dietician) are both high nutrition credentials.
As for what to feed kids on a daily basis, well rounded meals with a focus on veggies is a great place to start. Try to have them eat a good mix of macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) at each meal along with a large portion of colorful vegetables for their phytonutrients.
For a breakfast option, they could have a smoothie with their favorite fruit, a plant-based protein powder, dairy-free milk and some nut/seed butter (depending on any allergies they might have). You could add some greens to the smoothie as well (spinach and baby kale are the ones that don’t really change the taste of the smoothie). Don’t forget breakfast doesn’t always need to look like a traditional American breakfast of eggs with bacon and toast. Heated healthy leftovers can be a great breakfast…and kids often think it’s fun to switch things up.
For lunch or dinner they could have a veggie burger or tofu nuggets, a side of their favorite veggies with a tasty sauce/dressing and maybe some chickpea pasta or brown rice. Having salad as a side or starter is a great way to get more veggies in and get kids used to eating it.
Bowls are a great way to ensure the whole family is getting their macronutrients. For a healthy bowl you would choose a whole grain or starchy vegetable (brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, winter squash), add a protein (beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, peas, seitan), add veggies (maybe even have them choose so they are already agreeing on what they’ll eat) and top it with a dressing or sauce of choice. The fat portion can be: a part of the dressing/sauce if it’s made with a fat, a bit of high-quality olive oil, some avocado, ground flax seeds, or a small handful of nuts/seeds. Bowls are an easy way to put a meal together and can be so versatile. You can make all sorts of combinations using different veggies, proteins and sauces. I’ve done Mexican bowls, Italian bowls, Asian-inspired bowls – whatever cuisine the family is in the mood for that night!
Shawna also has some great “Healthy Plate Templates” so take a look at those!
How can I tell if my child is getting enough protein and other nutrients they need? We eat mostly vegan, and lately I’ve only been able to get my kids to eat beans (chickpeas) when I bake them in cookies!
Those cookies sound good!
I would suggest looking at a growth chart to see how the child is doing physically. Going to get a checkup and do blood work each year can also be a good way to ensure the child is having adequate nutrients. You can check out my other post on some vitamins/minerals that vegans should keep an eye on. If your child is low on the growth chart, is feeling extra tired, or getting sick more often than those around him/her, look into seeing a nutritionist or physician that specializes in vegan child nutrition. Please note that most doctors do not get much nutrition education in school so unless they did extra education outside of school, a nutrition specialist working with your doctor is the way to go.
In general, if you can stick to the macronutrient info that I mentioned in the above question and having a good multivitamin can help with any other nutrients they’re not getting from food, your child should be getting the nutrients they need.
Protein is always the most concerning nutrient on a plant-based diet. Beans can be hard for some kids but it depends on what age group you’re dealing with. Once on solid foods, well-cooked beans (especially white beans) can make a great finger food that most babies will enjoy for their mild taste and soft texture. Just make sure to purchase BPA-free cans or tetra packs and rinse the beans to get rid of excessive sodium.
Once kids get older and have heard something like “beans are gross” it might be harder to get them to eat beans outright. A few ways to incorporate them would be to add them to soups (blended beans can make things “creamier”), veggie burgers or nuggets, dips/sauces, muffins, in vegan quesadillas, or roasted (like roasted chickpeas). Some beans are more appealing than others to certain people. Try offering kids all different kinds and see if they take to any (lentils, white beans, and chickpeas might be the easiest to “sell”. Tofu (always buy organic) and seitan can also be a good option for protein if the kids are not yet into beans. Even if they’re not loving beans right now, keep trying – they really are a very healthy food.
Another thing to mention is that there are a number of meat alternatives available in many supermarkets or can be ordered online. While whole foods are always best, kids are going to want “fun” foods no matter if they’re eating meat or not so don’t worry about giving them some of the meat alternatives every once in a while. I’ve listed some of my favorite alternatives to animal-based products in my Vegan Products and Resource post.
In wrapping up this post, I’d just like to say do your best but don’t overly stress unless you feel there is something really wrong (you know your kids better than anyone) and in that case, seek out a professional.
It takes time, persistence, and discipline to change your diet.
But, I’m going to help you out since I’ve already been through the struggle and don’t want to see you having to struggle, too!
Stop struggling with beginning a vegan, or plant based, diet and learn how to do it with confidence instead! Find out how, here!
Keep reading to find the 7 best quick and easy vegan meals! (In mine and my girls opinion, that is, mother and child approved! YAY!!) Because sometimes when you search for vegan meals, they don’t always look the yummiest.
Want to Remember This? Pin 7 Easy Vegan Simple Recipes for Healthy Eating | Beginner Vegans to your favorite Pinterest Board!!
Why I Know You Need Quick and Simple Vegan Recipes as a Beginner
My goal with you reading this is to help you find delicious looking, and delicious tasting meals that the whole family will love!!
I have been trying to change my diet towards a healthier vegan diet, or plant based, for over 5 years. So, I’m not going to tell you it’ll be easy, but hey everyone is different, so it might be for you!
I may have had a little advantage over others when trying to cut all animal products out of my consumption; I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a kid. Not because I was made to or told to. It was my own decision, and I’ve kept it up for 20 years.
This vegan thing becomes even trickier when you have a family to feed, and when not everyone is willing or wanting to change their diet. But, if you’re the one who cooks, they don’t really have much of a choice, plus it’s better for them. The best tip I can give you for feeding a family that isn’t used to ‘vegan’ meals is to start with vegetarian meals and then start swapping out some of the ingredients to make them vegan.
Or, better yet, find some new ‘vegan’ meals everyone loves.
Kids may not care so much, unless you’ve already introduced them to cheese and they go without cheese for quite some time. (My 5 year old is like that.) Do you have any idea how addictive cheese is; it’s ridiculous how addictive it is. If you’re not already vegan, try cutting cheese, or better yet dairy, from your diet for a week. Let me know how it goes!
Finding the right meals for your family could take some experimenting.
It’ll take some time and patience; and, I’m going to tell you right now that you may not even like everything you cook.
But, it doesn’t mean you should give up. It’s good to try new foods and introduce new things into you diet. Especially when it’s new fruits or veggies, beans or rice, or maybe even tofu! The first like 10 times I tried making tofu, I hated it. About 6 months ago, I found a recipe I love, and now I eat it every week!
Whenever we try new things in my home, my 5 year old reminds us all of the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episode when they try new foods. Then, she’s ok with trying it.
But, to get to what you came here for, here’s 7 Easy Vegan Simple Recipes for Healthy Eating and beginners (and just so you know, they aren’t in any particular order; they’re all awesome). These recipes are also family friendly and won’t make you hate eating healthy! Many of them are pretty quick to make, too. And, we all know how valuable our time is.
So, I might be a little biased with this recipe. I created this burrito recipe on a whim with inspiration from Moe’s (Southwest Grill). I only ate from the restaurant once, but I loved the food I had from there! So, I had to try to recreate what I had. And, after my family moved from the east coast to the west coast of the U.S., this restaurant is no where to be found.
Plus, this meal contains complete protein (with the beans and rice combined), which is what most non-vegans complain about vegans not having enough of. Even my nutrition professor from when I was in college said to make sure you combine food together like this to get complete protein. What most non-vegans don’t understand though, is that there is protein in more than just meat and dairy products!
If you have never had quinoa before, this is a must try!
Quinoa boasts about being a complete protein all by itself. I know some people who have tried quinoa and didn’t like it, but I’m pretty sure the only way that can happen is if it’s completely plain.
This quinoa stew (found in this cookbook) however, is anything but plain! It’s super simple to make! And, it’s filling! My husband even loves this recipe, and he’s not a vegan (and doesn’t appreciate that I try to make healthy food).
My first time ever making pasta salad was about two years ago. I don’t even know if I’d had it before then. I didn’t follow a recipe or anything like that. But, I wanted pasta salad. So, I made it.
I cooked some rotini pasta. Mixed together some fruits and veggies, a little olive oil and a little lemon juice. Then cooled the pasta and mixed it in. My husband even liked it; it was that good. And, if you haven’t read any of my other articles, one thing you should know is that getting my husband to like something, or even try something, I make is very difficult. Check out the recipe here!
Whenever I crave a grilled cheese, I make one of these instead! It’s super simple and can be made in about 5 minutes or less. 2 pieces of toast, half an avocado to spread on both pieces of bread, 1 tomato thinly sliced, and some garlic and sea salt. Put it together, and it doesn’t even compare to a grilled cheese anymore; it is so much better, plus healthier!
My girls (2 and 5 years old) will eat these, as well. Sometimes my younger daughter will just pick the avocado and tomatoes out and eat those and leave the bread. But, she’ll also eat half an avocado plain and ignore a cookie on her tray, too. I’ve even tested this theory! Find the Recipe here
If you’re trying to add more veggies into your diet but don’t know how; try this simple soup. You pretty much just add in any veggie you want, some pasta, beans, veggie stock or bullion cube and a few other items; it’s done when it’s warm and the pasta is soft.
It’s usually only myself and older daughter who eats this when made, so I usually cut all the veggies up for a full recipe and freeze half of them. Or, I make a full recipe of this soup and freeze half of the soup for a week, for sometime in the future. This soup usually lasts all week, or at least 5 days, with half the recipe. I found it on 7dayvegan.com, they have many other vegan recipes, as well!
6. Vegan Pizza
How can you go wrong with pizza?!
It’s a favorite in many households and there are so many different ways to make it. I know, one of the main ingredients to pizza is cheese. But, guess what. I replaced the cheese on my pizza with nutritional yeast (yay! now it’s vegan and full of the nutrients I need! Hello vitamin B12!) and it doesn’t taste too bad, either!
Actually, the only difference I really tasted was that there’s not as much grease. With adding veggies as toppings, it also gives you more nutrients than the regular cheese pizza that I used to crave. You could make it even better for you and add some beans on top. Maybe next time. I’m currently eating what you see in the picture below, and it is delicious!
(My 5 year old helped make it, she put the toppings on the left side.)
This may be the last meal listed, but that does not mean that it’s not the best!
This mac and cheese is one of the reasons it has been possible for me to stay vegan; I can still eat the comfort foods I grew up with, just with different ingredients.
This recipe was not the first vegan mac and cheese recipe I have tried. I’ve tried recipes that required tofu or squash in it, and they just didn’t taste like something I could enjoy, long term.
Then I found this recipe and went out to buy a food processor (and by ‘went out’ I mean went to amazon.com). Once I had it, I bought all the ingredients and made this recipe. It was soo good, I immediately placed it on my meal list (the list I use when coming up with meal plans). You can get the meal planning templates I use here, for free!
Check out these posts Quick & Simple Vegan Recipes for Beginners and Busy People (AKA Parents).
(And, no, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the recipes in those posts; I simply find meals designed for kids are more appealing to us adults, as well!)
I hope this list of the 7 awesome meals for beginner vegans has inspired you to love the food you make and eat.
And, hopefully you have at least one new recipe to try and love, no matter which recipe it is!
All of these are some of my favorites, and like I said, I even got my husband to eat some.
So, good luck on your journey to becoming vegan or enjoying a vegan lifestyle the healthy way!
If you didn’t notice, one thing all these recipes had in common (other than being vegan) was that all contained 2 or more fruits and veggies in them! With the Standard American Diet (SAD) severely lacking in this area, this is so important!
Eating healthy during pregnancy should be a no brainer. But, finding healthy pregnancy recipes that you’ll actually enjoy; whether fighting with morning sickness or not, is a whole other story!
Below, you will find 6 different recipes for pregnancy that have vital nutrients in them.
Three of them are specifically designed for the rough first trimester when you may be experiencing morning sickness and can barely keep anything down; make sure you try those recipes! They could help you out more than just providing your body, and baby, with the nutrients needed; they could actually help relieve morning sickness, at least for a little while!
The other three are packed full of nutrients every pregnant mama needs in her diet! But, I’d wait til your morning sickness is gone to try those! All the recipes below are also plant based or vegan, so no having to worry about most common allergies!
Don’t forget to pin this and save it so you can come back!
Healthy Recipes for Pregnancy When You Have Morning Sickness!
Morning sickness is a pain!
You’re nauseous all day long and could vomit at the thought of something, anything really. A scent, or certain smell from the kitchen, that you used to love, could now be sending you to the bathroom to throw up what ever you just ate, or didn’t eat!
It’s not fun, to say the least. But, you still need to eat, and at least try to keep some food, and liquids, down. That’s why the recipes below are so great!
The recipes below have ingredients in them to help combat morning sickness, keep you hydrated, and get some nutrients to stay in your body for yourself and unborn baby! Go check them out.
Eating Healthy During Pregnancy isn’t Always Easy, but it is Possible!
It can be a challenge to eat healthy during pregnancy. Believe me, I get it! I seriously do.
The first trimester feels like it’ll never end with all the morning sickness, and you want to be able to eat and drink things are a healthy for yourself and baby; but keeping it down is a whole other story!
Eating While Breastfeeding: 31 Recipes That Make it Possible!
Not eating enough while breastfeeding can have some major consequences, for yourself and newborn! That’s why you would have always found me eating while breastfeeding my daughters, whether a small snack or a full meal.
When you don’t eat enough as a new mom, and choose to breastfeed your infant, you lack the energy that you so badly need, and can even make it difficult for your newborn to gain weight; a new moms worst nightmare.
Maybe you’re trying to eat enough food through out the day; you have it all prepared and ready to eat. But, every time you sit down to eat, your newborn starts crying in the way you know means they want to nurse!
This happened to me for both of my girls, and I’m going to make sure I’m prepared in case it happens with my third, as well.
It’s like they know you’re just about to eat, so they let you know that that’s just not going to happen; not unless they get to eat, too.
That’s why you need the recipes below!
Why you need to give up the idea of always eating at the table without an infant attached to your nipple.
If you want to eat while being a breastfeeding mom, you have to become creative and learn to multitask, and eat when your newborn eat; otherwise you won’t get enough food you need everyday.
What to ask for help with from others for when the baby comes
Want to Remember This? Pin Eating While Breastfeeding: 31 Recipes That Make it Possible! to your favorite Pinterest Board!!
Can Ieat while breastfeeding at the same time?
Maybe you’re wondering if it’s even possible to eat while you’re breastfeeding a newborn; after all, won’t it be messy?
While there are a few things you have to watch out for, and won’t be able to eat with a newborn on your lap; there are still plenty of healthy, nutrient rich options, for you to eat!
Food and drinks you can’t have while nursing an infant on your lap:
hot beverages, such as tea, coffee, hot cocoa, etc.
any hot foods (let them cool completely first)
foods that require you to cut them in order to eat
foods that could easily leak or be dropped on your baby
any food that is messy to eat or that requires two hand to eat
Luckily, there are plenty of foods, sweet and savory, for you to eat all day long while breastfeeding. You don’t have to resort to store bought meal replacement drinks or bars; they’re no good for you or your baby anyways!
Check out the 31 recipes below that will allow you to easily get in the nutrients while you’re physically nursing your newborn. You’ll thank me later, when you’re stuck nursing for an hour and a half with no end in sight and know you need to eat something!
One Handed Meals can be a Lifesaver When You’re a Breastfeeding Mommy
Whether you have already given birth, or are looking for ways to make the time after birth easier; I’m sure you’ll love some of the recipes above just as I do. They are all also plant based or vegan, since many vegan recipes tend to focus on wholesome nutrients and tend to be healthier than the standard American diet!
Even if you don’t like one of the specific recipes above, they should give you a great starting point and many ideas for things you’ll be able to eat during that fourth trimester while breastfeeding your little one. Because, when you choose to breastfeed, your child depends on you for everything. What and how much you eat affects them and how they grow.
Don’t fall into thinking you can eat because you are nursing, they need better than that. Even if that means you have to carefully eat all your snacks and meals when they do!
If you’re a breastfeeding mom, or plan to breastfeed; you NEED to find a way for eating while breastfeeding, and the above recipes will help you do just that! Share you favorite one-handed meals or snacks in the comments.
21 Vegan Christmas Cookies You’ll Want to Make this Holiday Season!
Nothing says Christmas time like baking cookies!
It’s always been a tradition for me to make an absolutely ridiculous amount of Christmas cookies during the holiday season. It started when I was little. I even remember my mom putting me in charge of making most, if not all, of the Christmas cookies one year when I was a teenager. Or, was it before I was a teenager I can’t quite remember.
We’d start a week or so before Christmas to start making them, and it didn’t end at Christmas, either. I remember my mom staying up late making more cookies on Christmas eve so that we’d have plenty on Christmas day. We ate SO many cookies.
Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve slowly started to remake the Christmas cookies I loved as a child to be a bit healthy and 100% vegan! For my kids, and for myself. (My husband seems to run away from any food I make that I call ‘healthy’ or ‘vegan’; honestly, he’s truly missing out. This is the only healthy vegan recipe I’ve been able to get him to eat…and love. And it’s only because I simply told him to try it…..he ate half a batch.)
So, if you’re looking for healthier, vegan, possibly gluten free Christmas cookies; take a look below and enjoy!
I usually opt for an easier cookie to make, but these are so adorable they are worth the time and effort you put into them. Plus, their great for impressing friends and family; just wait til you tell them they’re vegan, too! And, yes, these are egg whites free, which is why they are called vegan.
This was my all time favorite recipe as a child; now veganized and a bit more filling. You know, to help us from eating them all at once! Even this healthy version is the first type of xmas cookie to disappear in my home.
Peanut butter blossoms were another one of my favorites growing up. However, if you or your kids have a peanut allergy try out Laura’s peanut free recipe, so you all can still enjoy the glory of this Holiday time cookie!
Don’t you just love walking into the kitchen when Christmas cookies are baking in the oven?
It’s such a warm and welcoming scent, that’s probably why they make sugar cookie candles. Warm up your home this year with the vegan Christmas cookies above. Don’t be afraid to try them all, if you want, and make a ridiculous amount of Christmas cookies this year, like I always do! Don’t forget to share with friends and family, especially those on specific diets such as vegan, gluten free, and paleo!
What’s your favorite Christmas cookie? Let me know in the comments!
Thanksgiving would not be complete without the delicious desserts after dinner; because you know, we don’t stuff ourselves enough during dinner!
And, thankfully, because of the recipes below and many others, we don’t have to feel left out as vegans. There are plenty of vegan Thanksgiving desserts that will make us feel thankful we’re vegan and not adding to the cruelty of this festive Holiday.
From pies to puddings and more; you’ll be sure to find enough vegan desserts below to feed your whole extended family for Thanksgiving! They won’t even know these delicious desserts are vegan, either.
So, save a few animals from suffering this Holiday season, save some calories, and encourage healthy eating (without even realizing it); enjoy the recipes below!
You CANNOT have Thanksgiving without Apple pie, and Rhian’s recipes are some of the best recipes I’ve had. I am constantly going back to her site to try new recipes and feature them in my posts. Check out her apple pie recipe here!
Looking for a healthy alternative to sugar filled pumpkin cookies? You’ll want to try, and give your kids, these pumpkin cookies; made with oat flour instead of white, at least half the sugar you’re used to, and a secret ingredient! Check it out here.
There are so many vegan Thanksgiving desserts you can try, like the ones above, that you won’t feel left out when it comes to stuffing yourself at Thanksgiving.
Whether you veganize an old family favorite, like I did with the pumpkin cookies and apple crisp above, or find a brand new vegan recipe you love; you’ll be sure to get more nutrients in than fellow Americans eating a SAD (standard american diet).
You may not eat as much, either, keeping your health (and waistline) in check, with all of the filling nutrient rich desserts there are available!
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my family and I do. Don’t forget to save this post on Pinterest and share with friends looking for a vegan or healthy alternative to Thanksgiving desserts!
31 Vegan Thanksgiving Side Dishes That Even Your Kids Will Eat
Raising a vegan child, or coming up with food to eat on Thanksgiving as a vegan doesn’t have to be hard!
Even though this holiday is sometimes called ‘turkey day’ does no mean you’re missing out, or denying your child of Holiday fun, by replacing unhealthy non-vegan food with recipes that will actually provide nutrients and value to the diet!
Sides are a really simple way to add in more veggies to a Thanksgiving meal. Plus, most sides are already vegan, or only need a few ingredient swaps to make them so.
Check out the recipes below for some delicious ideas for vegan Thanksgiving side dishes that your children will actually eat!
Vegan Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving side. There’s also around a thousand (exaggeration, but then again, there’s probably more) ways to make mashed potatoes! So, there are certainly plenty of ways to make mashed potatoes vegan, check out the recipes below.
There’s even a purple mashed potato recipe below, to make things fun for your little ones who are picky eaters, let’s not forget to make this fun!
Gravy is a Thanksgiving classic, so be sure to check out the vegan and gluten free recipe of that below. Plus, kids love to dip their food in things, have them try the hummus below for a healthy alternative to store bought.
Whether you were looking for ways to turn your favorite side dishes into vegan side dishes, or find some new vegan family favorites; I hope you were able to find them here!
The recipes above are delicious, healthy, and ones that even my picky eater will eat! Be sure to save this post as a future reference for Thanksgivings in the future, and be sure to subscribe to receive my emails and get access to some great printables. (Like, the list of produce in season in the fall, questions to ask your children to encourage thankfulness, and plenty more!)
My Super Simple and Cheap Vegan Meal Plan for a Family of Four
So, you had an unexpected expense come up….again, and you’re determine to still come up with a way for your family to eat healthy. Even when you have a tiny budget to get your groceries; much less than the average amount people spend on groceries in this country!
Because, let’s face it, in the U.S. food prices are constantly creeping up; whether you eat a vegan diet or S.A.D. (Standard American Diet), and there’s no increase in pay to help even out costs.
According to the USDA, the cost of food for a family of four ranges from $130 and $300…a week! (Source can be found here, I’m not making it up!)
That price range simply blows my mind.
I knew I was a bit frugal when it came to my families grocery budget and trying to keep it around $60 to $80 a week. But, I didn’t know that wasn’t even close to the norm. It’s amazing what you find out when you do a little bit of research!
Even for families who aren’t really frugal, but are simply living paycheck to paycheck, can have difficulty keeping their grocery bill in line.
And, what about with your unexpected expense? How are you to lower your grocery bill then?
You may already feel like you’re stingy when you go to the store.
That’s where meal planning and being intentional about the food your family eats during the week comes in!
With a few tips and a super simple meal plan (with a few repeat meals) you can make it through the tough times and not have to give up eating healthy, or give in to eating non-vegan foods (that contribute to animal cruelty and the destruction of the planet).
Though, my husband thinks it’s perfectly alright to eat ramen during these times- sodium filled packets and all; I like to opt for meals that actually contain nutrients for myself and two girls.
A Few Quick Tips for a Vegan Meal Plan on a Budget
Make sure you make a vegan meal plan for a week!
You won’t stay in your small budget for the week if you don’t write down your families meals. And, then make a grocery list from your meal plan.
Being as detailed as possible when doing this is key.
Make sure you write down EVERYTHING anyone will be consuming that week, and include EVERYTHING that you will need on the grocery list. No one likes running out to the store because they forgot something they needed.
This includes items you’ll need that you have everyday but may not think to write down, such as if you need more coffee. That is something you won’t want to forget to write down!
Meal plan around the food you already have.
If you’re already used to making healthy meal plans on a budget, then you may have some ingredients you can use during the weeks where you’re barely scraping by.
Or, if you’re planning out your budget in advance and can see that money will be tight for a week in the future, consider stocking up on some cheap and healthy food now.
Some suggestions for what to stock up on:
bread (and freeze it)
oats (for oatmeal, baked goods, and more)
bananas (to cut up and freeze for smoothies)
avocado (to puree, freeze, and use for toast/sandwiches)
What you may want to stock up on may be slightly different than my list; what we eat tends to be a personal decision. I know many people who hate being told what they should eat. (My children included!)
This should be relatively easy, seeing as how you may not have the extra money to do so. And, with being on a vegan diet, there aren’t as many choices for eating out. (Unless of course, if you live in or near a city with vegan restaurants. And, in that case, I’m a bit jealous!)
Never Buy Name Brand
Name brand products are almost always more expensive than store brand products. And, in some cases the ONLY difference is the outside box or container; you’re literally paying for the name.
Don’t Forget Your Cheap Vegan Meal Prep!
Once you have your meal plan (or use mine below), your grocery list, and have bought your groceries; make sure you prep your meals as much as you can.
Doing this will ensure no one will have to eat out during the week; everything will be ready for them to take to work or school. And, if you’re a stay at home parent, like me, you won’t have to spend time making food everyday. Which means more time to get things done, spend with your kids, or read that book you keep trying to get to while your kids nap!
Ironically, many people associate a healthy or vegan diet with an expensive diet, but the opposite it true.
It’s the unhealthy, heavily processed food that is the most expensive. Plus, when you eat junk food, you have to eat more of it because your cells are starving for nutrients. So, not only are you spending more money because the processed food is more expensive to begin with; but you’re also buying more of it to try to fill yourself and family up.
(Along with increasing your chances of becoming obese, getting diabetes, and other food related chronic illnesses.)
By focusing on nutrition, you’ll be thinking of how to get healthy proteins, carbs, and fats. And, how to get them in your shopping cart as cheap as possible.
This is where your beans, legumes, rice, veggies, and fruits come in.
Dried beans and rice are ridiculously cheap and often overlooked. And, a cup of brown rice contains 5 grams of protein and 3 and a half grams of fiber. Combine that with half a cup or broccoli and your up to about 7 grams of protein and 5 and a half grams of fiber. (Who was it again that said vegans don’t get enough protein in their diets? This isn’t even a full meal calculated out.)
You can get a 5 pound bag of brown rice and 2 pounds of frozen broccoli for about $6 and it’ll last you quite awhile, seeing as how the rice doubles when cooked.
Now that you know a few of my inside secrets on how I’m able to spend so little on my families groceries every week, let’s get to My Super Simple and Cheap Vegan Meal Plan for a Family of Four!
My Super Simple and Cheap Vegan Meal Plan for a Family of Four!
I may meal plan differently than others, and as a fair warning I’m not a nutritionist, dietitian, or will ever claim to make a perfect meal plan (because a perfect meal plan doesn’t exist). But, I do consider myself to be fairly healthy and follow a vegan diet. I only ever want the healthier food being consumed by my children!
Instead of going day by day for meal planning; I meal plan by the meal or snack for each day. This allows me to move around different meals depending on what myself or family are in the mood for.
Like I said before, what we eat is a personal choice, and sometimes we can’t even stick to our own strict meal. Instead of driving myself crazy, I created a system to be more lenient, and that allows us more flexibility in what we eat when.
The cheapest and healthiest vegan breakfast options (that are also child approved and requested) are:
oatmeal (my 2 girls under 6 suggest apple cinnamon oatmeal- recipe coming soon!)
crepes (depending on the filling/toppings)
green smoothies (or peanut butter smoothies- recipe coming soon, you’ll just need to omit the cocoa)
All of these options are very cheap and the ingredients can even be bought ahead if you have some time to prepare for your low food budget week. Plus, many of the ingredients are ones you probably already have in your cupboards.
If you don’t have any the ingredients, it of course, will be a little more expensive. To give an example, let’s go over all the ingredients for my girls favorite oatmeal recipe (be advised prices may differ depending on where you live):
oats: just under $3 for about 3 lbs
apples: $3 for a bag of about 9 (you only need one apple per 1 cup of oats)
brown sugar: $2
(optional: raisins, but they can get a little pricey, as in almost $4 for the larger 20oz container)
water: free (it’s getting boiled, but you can use filtered water if you prefer)
So, there you have it; $10 for breakfast that will last your whole family at least a week. Feel free to mix it up, especially if you already have ingredients in your home for other breakfasts!
I am a huge advocate on eating snacks during the day, for children and adults alike!
Just check out the A to Z healthy snack challenge my girls and I did when they were a little younger, you’ll find over 130 snacks we tried in a 26 week time frame!
With that being said, I also admit that making 130+ different snacks over 26 weeks wasn’t the cheapest challenge we’ve ever done. Some weeks were much cheaper than others, and we felt that hit our bank account. Luckily, it wasn’t too expensive where we couldn’t afford it, but we would’ve saved money by choosing two or 3 snacks per week instead!
and single serving of fruit (my girls love cuties and bananas)
The cheapest way to buy smoothie ingredients is by buying the 64 oz frozen bag of fruit you find at stores, buying bananas in bulk (and cutting them up to freeze and save them), buying greens not prewashed, and using water instead of non-dairy milk. Anything else you add to the smoothie is an extra and not crucial, like flaxseeds or chia seeds; however, when bought in bulk they’re pretty cheap.
The bulk frozen bag of fruit may seem a bit pricey at first, costing almost $10. However, this bag should last you at least two weeks for smoothies everyday for your family, if not longer. It lasts my family about a month because my husband opts out of these.
You should also consider that this is much cheaper than buying fresh produce, even when bought in bulk. The frozen bag has the produce already peeled, cut up, and pits removed; all of which would be weighed and paid by pound if bought fresh.
You can also get about 10-12 bananas for around $3, which is plenty for the week, whether in smoothies, all by themselves, with peanut butter (my girls favorite), or used in baked goods. As for greens, you can get a enough kale for the week (or two weeks) for about $1 when it’s not prewashed or bagged. So, that’s less than $15 for a breakfast or snack that will last you about 2 weeks.
Lunch can be a tricky meal for some, as many people aren’t home to eat lunch, but rather at school or work.
But, one of the cheapest ways to save money for lunches is by simply eating leftovers from dinner the night before, whatever it may have been. I know, that’s vague and not too helpful, especially when you have picky eaters.
In this case, let’s get back to basics, and our childhood favorites!
If you can’t feed your family leftovers for lunch, what about sandwiches?
My picky eater insists on eating sandwiches for lunch at school; so, why not let her! They’re not that unhealthy and they can be good on the wallet, too.
To ensure a healthier sandwich than a simple peanut butter and jelly, try peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or avocado and tomato.
You can get bread for as cheap as $2 a loaf, which will make about 12 or so sandwiches (so you’d need 2 loaves). Or, make the bread yourself. This is my go to bread recipe.
Peanut butter is a bit more expensive, but you can get a 4 lb jar for about $6; which should last you a month. (Or, at least 2 weeks, depending on if your kids eat it right out of the jar with a spoon like mine do.)
So, you could get away with spending only $10 additional on lunch for your whole family for the week. (Bananas were calculated above.)
You can do one of other options for afternoon snack as was listed for morning snack, or make it more fun and something your children can look forward to for after school. Such as apple donuts (apples cut with a whole in the middle and peanut butter on top), or chickpea cookies!
If you check out the chickpea cookie recipe, you’ll see that it doesn’t have many ingredients, and most of the ingredients you probably already have. The ones you may be missing are probably chocolate chips, which you can get fairly cheap or omit, and chickpeas. A one pound bag of dried chickpeas is about $1.50, and is enough to make 6 batches of those cookies! (Hint- use the same amount of brown sugar mixed with water to replace the maple syrup, since maple syrup tends to be a little pricey, and omit vanilla.)
To help even more with your budget, and to prevent the ‘Mom, I’m hungry’ rant from your kids every afternoon; make sure this afternoon snack is full of protein. This is why I don’t mind feeding my girls my protein rich chickpea cookies!
Whenever I know my families budget for food is going to be tight; I always rely on the stockpile of brown rice, beans, and pasta I have, along with frozen veggies.
A common meal my family may have is a rice, tofu, and veggie bowl. Brown rice can be as cheap as $1.50 for a 2 pound bag, tofu as cheap $1.50, and the price for veggies varies depending on the type.
Another meal we rely on when on a tight budget is homemade soup. I tend to stockpile veggie stock, dried beans, and pasta.
The soup I make will sometimes be based off of this one, with the ingredients adjusted for my families preference and to ensure savings.
For this soup you’ll basically need veggies, veggie stock or a bouillon cube, beans, and pasta.
You could easily get all your veggies, including the onion and garlic, for under $5, pasta at $1, veggie stock for $2, and the beans at $3 (dried, and will last quite awhile). And, this soup make A LOT! As in, it lasts my family of four 2 weeks if I chop and freeze the veggies and don’t cook the beans or pasta til needed.
That’s $11 for dinner for 2 weeks, though, you may want to do the rice, tofu, and veggie bowl as well. So, it could creep up to $20 for dinner for 2 weeks.
If you may have noticed, everything you may consume in a week may not be noted above. Maybe you’re thinking, ‘but where’s the coffee?’
Extra items that we believe we need, we can simply go without when need be. OR, simplified to make them cheaper.
For the coffee that we, as parents, always need so badly; never buy it out, and buy the big container at the store that will last you at least a month. This way you won’t have to worry about your coffee fix when your budget is tight.
And, instead of buying non dairy coffee creamer, buy flavored soy milk instead! It’s a bit healthier and a lot cheaper, plus it’ll last you longer. If it’s not sweet enough, add some brown sugar to it; you probably already bought it for the oatmeal or cookies anyways!
So, what does this look like in a meal plan template?
Click here to download the meal plan! Feel free to print it out and use it for yourself, or use the extra adjustable meal planning template for your own cheap meal plan. (This also includes the grocery list for the meal plan, for your convenience!)
Grocery list for a super cheap vegan meal plan
To make this section as simple and as easy to digest as possibly, I’m just writing it out in lists depending on sections in a regular grocery store.
Veggies for soup: ~$5 (broken down below)
onion: ~75 cents
garlic: ~50 cents
yellow squash: ~75 cents
(optional) Avocados: ~$4
(optional) Tomatoes: ~$1.50
Mixed Fruit: ~$10 (will last at least 2-3 weeks)
Soy Milk: ~$2.50
Brown Sugar: ~$2
Peanut Butter: ~$6 (will last 2-3 weeks)
Baking Powder: ~$1
White Beans: ~$1.50 (dried- will make equivalent to 6 cans)
Kidney Beans: ~$1.50 (dried- will make equivalent to 6 cans)
Chickpeas: ~$1.50 (dried- will make equivalent to 6 cans)
Rice: ~$1.50 (should last all month)
Veggie Stock: ~$2
Pasta Sauce: ~$2
Olive Oil: ~$2
Italian Seasoning: ~$2
Alright, so if you added up all of those groceries you’ll end up with a grocery bill of about $66.50.
This may seem super cheap to some people, but a little high for others (such as myself) when thinking of a super cheap vegan meal plan for a family of four.
What you need to consider is the fact that you probably already have some of these ingredients, especially if you’re used to eating vegan on a budget.
For example, this is what I usually have already in stock (and recommend you keeping in stock as well) just in case the budget gets tight:
These ingredients are non-perishables and I buy in bulk when getting them, making them cheaper to buy for the long run.
Having these items already at home brings the grocery bill down to $24.50. That’s the power of buying in bulk when you can!
And, if that is still too much; don’t make avocado and tomato sandwiches and replace that with peanut butter and banana sandwiches. It’ll bring the bill down to $19, and even if your budget is extremely tight; you should be able to spend $20 on groceries for the week.
You can’t get much cheaper than that!
A few things to remember to for a super cheap vegan meal plan
To recap, let’s go over the gist of eating healthy (and vegan) when money is tight.
Make sure you make a meal plan
Make your meal plan based on food you already have
Avoid eating out at all costs
DON’T buy name brand
Write down your grocery list and stick to the list
Meal Prep as much as you can
Focus on Nutrition and whole foods
Don’t buy pre-washed veggies
Buy dried beans and rice
Buy in bulk when you can to save money when times are tough
It’s never fun to be on a tight budget, especially with kids or when it changes what you normally eat. But, it is still possible to eat vegan on a budget; just don’t expect to be eating something different everyday of the week or buying the highly processed fake meats, or anything else like that.
The closer we get to whole unprocessed, or even local, foods; the cheaper our grocery bill gets. If you live in a place where you’re able to grow your own produce, then you’ll be able to save even more money on your grocery bill. However, that takes time and won’t help out in an immediate situation.
So, take this for what it is; use it to the t, adjust it as need be, or only use the tips I provided. Anyways, I hope it’s able to help you out in a time of need, or if you’re simply trying to cut back on expenses to pay off debt or save up for something.
Don’t forget to grab the print outs for this exact meal plan, grocery list, and blank templates to help you become organized and save money!
p.s. Also share with friends and family; they don’t have to be vegan to appreciate this cheap meal plan!
Mac and cheese is a Thanksgiving classic, at least for my family! Luckily, you can still eat it when vegan; simply make a ‘cheese’ sauce, instead of using cheese made from cow’s milk. No need to buy the ‘alternative’ or dairy free packaged ‘cheeses’ either (I’m not a fan of those). Follow the recipe above or use this one which makes it’s sauce from veggies.
Need to through something together quick to bring to Thanksgiving, or hosting Thanksgiving and just found out you’re going to have a vegan guest; whip up this main dish in no time and help them feel more welcomed!
These are just a few of the many vegan Thanksgiving main dishes that are out there that you can make!
You can veganize almost any Thanksgiving family recipe, search for more on google, or on Pinterest. I’ve even started a board on Pinterest to collect some delicious vegan Thanksgiving recipes. Follow me @stresslessbehealthy
Comment below with your favorite vegan Thanksgiving main dishes and don’t forget to share with vegan friends, or Thanksgiving hosts who will having vegan guests. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the extra help. Maybe you could even make a board on Pinterest that you all share for recipes you might want to try for Thanksgiving; make sure to pin this post for some inspiration and the amazing recipes above!