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 Post subject: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:51 am 
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Saggy Butt
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Hi all,
My friend is going vegan and she has 3 kids. I need to help her with ideas on snacks/meals that they will like that she can do on a limited budget. She's feeling frustrated today because she went to her friend's house whose pantry is full of junk snacks and her kids love being at their house. She said this friend is spending $600/month on groceries and she spends $1000 a month and her kids don't like it. She says 1 kid won't eat fruit, and will only eat cooked vegetables. Her kids are 11, 8 and 2.
Since I was raised macrobiotic and rebelled for a long time I definitely know the importance of not restricting them too much and providing foods they will like. But since I love all this veg food I have a hard time thinking of foods that appeal to super-picky kids. Also I don't have kids so there's that. LOL.
Ideas? Sorry if this is a FAQ, it probably is, but wanted some fresh voices & ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:10 pm 
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It sounds like a pretty difficult situation. There are a lot of junk snacks that happen to be vegan, but they're still junk. My only idea is popcorn. It's super cheap to buy in bulk and you can make it on the stove with whatever butter substitute you favour. We like to use coconut oil in our house.

If you have a more specific idea as to what your friend's kids like eating at her friend's house, it might be easier to come up with vegan versions or healthier alternatives.


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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:20 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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Broseph--popcorn is a good idea, thank you. I will find out from her what it is they like eating at the friend's house and post here. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:32 pm 
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She might try dried fruit - like raisins or dates. They're so sweet that most kids like them. Trail mixes too. And just google "vegan snacks" and you'll come up with thousands of ideas. Same with vegan family meals.

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:38 pm 
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i have a junk food monster kid and we try to have some homemade alternatives in the house (or the freezer) as much as possible like muffins or oat bars or something. we do a lot more scratch baking than most people probably do but you can't beat the price.

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:43 pm 
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Mmmm, popcorn with nutritional yeast flakes ...

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:26 pm 
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There are recipes out there for homemade cheezits and goldfish crackers, nacho cheeze, granola bars, mac and cheese, etc. And of course almost any baked good is easy to veganize.


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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:17 pm 
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Spagetti (to be a little healthier she can mix some whole grain pasta with regular)
Mac & Cheese (I find that Peas & Thank you's recipe isn't as healthy but it is more like real cheese)
Homemade pizza, let the kids make their own on tortillas or english muffins
banana bread or muffins for a snack
kids love pancakes
A favorite of mine is grilled cheese with daiya cheese, avocado, & tomato


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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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All great ideas, keep em coming, thank you! She hasn't responded with what they like to eat yet. I'll update all y'all.

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:36 pm 
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Lots of good ideas already! I'm sort of confused about who is spending $1000 a month on groceries?

Also search around for threads on budget meals and in the playground for the "what did you make your kid to eat today" thread. There will be some good ideas in there. It's definitely important to find out what they like and then make recommendations based on that. If they hate all the stuff we're mentioning, then it's pointless. I like the mini pizza idea. You can also make them on pitas. This doesnt' work for all kids, but often kids who help in preparation of certain foods are more likely to try them.

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:51 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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She (my becoming-vegan friend) is spending $1000k on groceries. This includes herself, her husband (who is not and does not want to become) vegan, and her 3 kids who she is trying to convert to vegan. She started out doing it herself, for health reasons, and now has been becoming more conscious of the animal-welfare aspects as well. For example after I told her about honey not being vegan she looked up what they do with bees and now, no honey for her.

Her husband has also been giving her a hard time and thinks that her new diet is going to scare off friends. But that is neither here nor there for this particular topic.

ijustdiedinside, thanks for the thread referrals! Also I <3 your avatar, I am watching Totoro tonight :D

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:00 pm 
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In the Kitchen there is a grocery spending issues thread that has lots of good general ideas.

Beyond that, I'd recommend the PETA "Accidentally Vegan" list of convenience foods that are already veg, the two Vegan Lunch Box cookbooks for good kid-friendly food, and the "It's Not About Nutrition" blog for good info on expanding kids' culinary horizons. I think I said it in the thread I mentioned but definitely check out the cookbooks "Vegan on the Cheap" and "Supermarket Vegan."

I mean, without knowing what the kids will or won't eat or seeing where that $1000/month is going, it's hard to make any recommendations. If she's buying a lot of vegan frozen meals from Whole Foods or something, yeah, that's going to add up fast.


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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:01 pm 
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oh wow, so your friend has $1000 a month on groceries? That really doesn't sound like a limited budget (unless I'm misunderstanding something). If that's the case then that's good news for her and she really should have a lot of options to choose from. Is the problem that she wants to make healthy snacks for her kids, but they don't like the healthy stuff?

If they are jealous of snacky foods at friends houses, maybe they'd like packaged things like fruit leathers and Barbara's Snackimals (my favorite cookie!) and things like that. they are fun snacks, but better than regular junk food.

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:21 pm 
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How limited is her budget? You mention she is spending $1000 a month on groceries, and I think you could get some really nice food for that. We get snacks at Trader Joe's like Apple Sticks, Flax Tortilla Chips or Lentil Curls that are tasty, vegan and yummy. And as mentioned above popcorn is always a winner and if she has the time and inclination to bake, there are lots of yummy treats out there for kids!

Its also useful to look at what food means to the kids. A friend of mine is going through a divorce and while she keeps her house filled with vegan snacks, at her husband's house they get the conventional junky snacks, so they complain to her about the food they get at home. Not necessarily because they don't like the food, but because they don't like the situation.

In my own experience, I would focus on empowering her to find her own solutions, because they are out there, instead of coming up with them for her. I find that makes people more vested in the choice if they feel more like the change in diet is something that they have generated organically themselves

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:38 pm 
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Oreos in the US are accidentally vegan

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:49 pm 
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Food at other people's houses is always better than what's at your house when you're a kid.

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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Fee wrote:
Food at other people's houses is always better than what's at your house when you're a kid.


LOL This.

OK: Yes--she is currently spending $1k on food a month and needs to not be. It's becoming a hardship. That is definitely not a limited budget by any stretch of the imagination--I guess I should have chosen my wording better--she needs to limit her budget.

She doesn't have a TJ's anywhere near her unfortunately, or Whole Foods. (We are just now getting TJ's in Colorado, but she lives on the Western Slope).

I will definitely give her the Accidentally Vegan list from PETA. I think she knows about Oreos. It is important to her to have healthy food for her kids as well as of course it being veg. She says she tries to make them things (example: Oatmeal breakfast cookies) and they won't eat them.

True that coming up with stuff on her own is important. She has done that to some extent but came to me because she is frustrated and we are vegan-support buddies right now :)

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i hate to be all negative nelly but if the husband is not on board, it's going to be very hard to expect those kids to be happy about becoming vegan (unless she can share her reasons with them, in a persuasive way). she can do what i've done and only provide vegan snacks/food and let the kids get used to it, but it'll be hard to expect them to accept it happily if dad is still munching away on cheezy pops and they're expected to eat lentils instead. (but tings, man, tings!)

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:00 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
Is the problem that she wants to make healthy snacks for her kids, but they don't like the healthy stuff?


Yes. This is the problem. Thank you for clarifying me!! I guess I didn't express it the way it was in my head, lol.

I like the Barbara's idea. Gave her the ideas so far. They go crazy over dried fruit and that is good but I guess they eat too much of it.

I'm sure part of the issue as you guys have said is the kids not liking the situation. It's certainly a drastic change to what they're used to, though I know she's been trying to health-ify for a couple of years.

Good point about her husband not being on board, that's difficult. As I mention I was raised vegan (Macrobiotic actually) and until my parents split that was a definite source of arguments between my parents (Mom veg, Dad not.)

I'm going to email her all the thread links and the blog and cookbook recommendations as well as your ideas. Thanks so much!

(Gosh, sorry I was so bourgeouis as to say $1k was a limited budget! I'm embarrassed now! :blush )

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:03 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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Oh and BTW even though I was raised that way I have no idea what veg foods kids like cause as macrobiotic all I remember is tofu and brown rice and seaweed and gross mushy tempeh squash stew. I'd have killed for some Barbara's stuff or Tings or any of that. My mom's a better veg cook now. LOL!
Thanks so much for the help everyone! I am happy to have found this board!!
ETA: She said thank you so much for the resources and she is going to sit down and talk to her kids and get their ideas. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Meals
Pasta! Cheap and kid-friendly. Marinara and soy crumbles or just garlic oil and some frozen broccoli.
Soup! The veggies are super soft which helps kids that have texture issues.
Beans, beans, beans! Baked beans (mmm sweetness), refried beans, chili, homemade hummus or bean spread for sandwiches or dipping.
Fake meats like hot dogs, chik'n nuggets, deli slices are more expensive but super convenient.

Snacks
The 'Accidentally Vegan' list is a good resource.
Homemade trail mix
Baby carrots
Fruit juice popsicles

My opinion is that eating vegan and healthifying a diet are two separate things. She might find it easier to first transition to vegan versions of their favourite junky snacks and then change the nature of the snacks themselves. Too much change is hard! Things like spaghetti marinara, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and vegetable soup don't seem "strange" or different so I would focus on foods like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:24 pm 
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For the kid who doesn't like fruit, how about suggesting some ways to dress it up to make it more fun. For example, a baked apple stuffed with cinnamon, nuts and raisins or a banana smoothie made with chocolate soy milk?

Other snack suggestions:
- whole wheat tortilla chips with homemade vegan cheese sauce and beans
- fun dipping sauces for veggies
- check out Dreena Burton's cookbooks for healthier baked good options
- wheat toast with vegan cream cheese, banana and cinnamon (this is one of my favorites)
- english muffin pizzas

(As a note, I agree with you about not restricting kids food choices too much. Growing up, my parents didn't keep junk food, sugary drinks or sugary cereal in the house, but we had those items from time to time as a treat. I'm really thankful I was taught to enjoy junk food as a once-in-a-while treat rather than having it become either an all-the-time food or forbidden fruit that I was tempted to binge on. If I were converting my [hypothetical] non-vegan kids to veganism, I would definitely let them have the occassional vegan cupcake or cookie).

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 Post subject: Re: Help for my friend--3 kids, going vegan, limited budget
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:29 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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Abelskiver, texted all your ideas last night to her. Thank you!
bcakes: those are great ideas too! and now I want toast with tofutti cream cheese, banana and cinnamon, that sounds awesome.

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