Monday, January 3, 2011

Vegan and Vegetarian Family 101

A friend told me her son was refusing to eat chicken when he understood what it really was. She is being supportive of his decision and exploration of his personal self, and asked for my help on some vegetarian alternatives that aren't all highly processed soy-based foods.

This got me to thinking about compiling a list of resources, which have been helpful to our family. These are merely a drop in the bucket, but a great place to start.

First and foremost, I wanted to share a site I came across, which chronicles real vegan babies and children's lives. It it a more detailed look at a vegan lifestyle, and demonstrates how a well-balanced vegan diet is a healthy option for children and babies.

The most common concerns for parents feeding their children a vegan or vegetarian diet are: nutrition, healthy recipes, and social implications.

My favorite books I have returned to time and again for raising my children vegan are: Raising Vegetarian Children by Joanne Stepaniak and Raising Vegan Children in a Non-Vegan World by Erin Pavlina.

Raising Vegetarian Children : A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony Raising Vegan Children in a Non-Vegan World: A Complete Guide for Parents

The second book is unfortunately out of print, but there are some used copies available. If you are having trouble tracking down a copy, I recommend checking the library first or local animal rights groups which may have a copy to loan or sell. Lastly, check around with friends to see if they have one you could borrow.

While my kids are not in school yet, I couldn't resist ordering Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann. It contains many great recipes and fun ideas to spruce up lunch time for your kids. There are recipes for quick meals and more involved ones - something for everyone. In fact, sometime soon I'm going to give away a copy on here, so stay tuned.
Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love!

Along with books for adults, I highly recommend Happy, Healthy Vegan Kids by Tracie DeMotte. It is loaded with lots of colorful pictures of animals, and my kids really enjoy it. I do edit it to keep it appropriate for the age. For example, there are a couple longer pages that give more detail than I think my children are ready for at their age.

Happy, Healthy, Vegan Kids: With Vegan and Gluten Free Recipes

Another favorite of my children is Victor's Picnic with the Vegetarian Animals by Radha Vignola. I like this one a lot, because it does a great job illustrating the myriad of vegetarian animals, from mice to gorillas to elephants.
Victor's Picnic: With the Vegetarian Animals
I help run a local vegan and vegetarian family group called Vegkins, through the Animal Rights Coalition. They helped to organize a story time conducted by Teaching Compassion MN for our group. It is an excellent local resource for teachers and parents. My favorite story from that event was Hey Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose.
Hey, Little Ant

For older children, I recommend That's Why We Don't Eat Animals by Ruby Roth. The pictures are somewhat darker in nature at times, and I personally decided to save this one for when my kids are school age.
That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things
There are numerous web resources available. Here are a few of my favorites:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great post. Thanks for all the book and website recommendations. Can't wait to check them out. :)