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Vegan teens

In recent years more and more children and teenagers are turning out to be vegetarians and vegan. Feeding kids is a challenge that too when they start fussing about eating meat and other non- vegetarian food.  In countries like US , UK and Canada this number shows drastic increase and more than vegetarians, vegan diet has been increased amongst kids and young adults. Several reasons can be attributed for this: love towards animals, concerns about environment, growing knowledge about plants, nonviolence, concern about animal based food diet, understanding advantage of eating plant based diet and effect on health etc.

Here we give general information regarding vegan diet and some recipes for vegan kids. For more recipe please visit Go green menu in this website.

“Veganism is not about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peace within yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable” — Gary L Francione

What is a Vegan diet?

Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products. A vegan rejects all forms of animal exploitation – for food, clothing or any other purpose. When someone says I am vegan that means they are avoiding milk & its products, meat, eggs, honey, wool, leather, fur, pearl, silk and all other animal products.

Why Veganism?

People become vegan to – live longer, healthier lives or do our part to reduce pollution. Others have made the switch because they want to preserve Earth’s natural resources , passion for animals and opposed eating meat .

Vegan Nutrition

A healthy and varied vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Plenty of foods are available that can replace egg, meat and dairy and all these are plant based.


It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein as long as calorie intake is adequate. Vegan sources of protein include: lentils, chickpeas, tofu, peas, peanut butter, soy milk, almonds, spinach, rice, whole wheat bread, potatoes, broccoli, kale. To meet daily protein intake – 

  • 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, 1 bagel
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup vegetarian baked beans
  • 5 ounces tofu, 2 Tablespoons of almonds
  • 1 cup broccoli, and 1 cup brown rice.


Vegan diets are free of cholesterol and are generally low in saturated fat. Thus eating a vegan diet makes it easy to conform to recommendations given to reduce the risk of major chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin D

Ample of  vitamin D is not found in the vegan diet and Sun is the best source for them. Food sources of vitamin D include vitamin D-fortified soy milk and rice milk.


Calcium, needed for strong bones, is found in dark green vegetables, tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice, and many other foods commonly eaten by vegans.

Calcium sources are: Sesame oil, sesame seeds, Soy milk or rice milk, jaggery, molasses, tofu, orange juice, leafy vegetables, tahini, almonds. Other good sources of calcium include: okra, turnip greens, soybeans, almond butter, broccoli, commercial soy yogurt. Some vegetables like spinach, chard and beet greens binds with calcium and reduces calcium absorption.


Vegan diets can provide zinc at levels close to or even higher than the RDA. Zinc is found in grains, legumes, and nuts.


Dried beans and dark green leafy vegetables are especially good sources of iron, better on a per calorie basis than meat. Soybean, lentils, blackstrap molasses, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, Swiss chard, tempeh, black beans, prune juice, beet greens, raisins and many green vegetables.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In order to maximize production of DHA and EPA (omega-3 fatty acids), vegans should include good sources of alpha-linolenic acid in their diets such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, tofu, soybeans, and walnuts,

Vitamin B12

It is especially important for pregnant and lactating women, infants, and children to have reliable sources of vitamin B12 in their diets. Nutritional yeast, Red Star T-6635+, has been tested and shown to contain active vitamin B12. Tempeh, miso (soy and Aspergillus oryzae fungus) and seaweed are supply good amounts of vitamin B12. 

General Suggestions for vegan teen parents

What families need to understand? Families and parents need to remember that your teen is not just one type of food they are disliking, it is total liking towards living beings. And, it is totally a different type of diet they are asking for. Talk to your teen often and understand why they are vegans. You will get perfect answer. Encourage them for being vegans. Support them for being kind and good to all animals. Do search and talk to your doctor about your teens diet. Modify the recipe with vegan diet and prepare vegan food to show your appreciation. There are plenty of options are available for vegan replacements for meat, poultry and dairy. Understand your kids liking and disliking’s and prepare recipe accordingly.

Here are some important points to remember when you are talking to your vegan teen:

  • Plant based food is rich in fiber, low on saturated fat, and contains no cholesterol. Contrastingly, all animal foods are very high on saturated fat and cholesterol, containing zero fiber.
  • No species in nature drinks another species’ milk, or any milk at all post infancy. Every animal’s milk is tailor-made for her species. The hormonal structure and biology of a cow are drastically different from those of a human.
  • Meat too is unnatural. Our so-called canine teeth do not make us omnivorous, as canines are also found in several herbivores (e.g., gorillas, horses, hippos). From laterally moving jaws to long intestines, humans possess a dozen physiological traits that make us plant-eaters, not omnivores.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency is equally common in non-vegans & vegans, so don’t be alarmed. It is a modern lifestyle issue. B12 comes from bacteria.
  • Clichéd but crucial: The more raw fruits, greens and vegetables you consume, the healthier you will be.
  • Vegan or non-vegan, fried & processed junk foods are unhealthy, and should be avoided as much as possible for gaining good health.
  • Getting regular sunlight is important to ensure adequate Vitamin D levels

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What vegan kids can eat at home?

  • Milk: Some examples are soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, coconut milk, peanut milk, oat milk. The best thing about plant based milks is that they are cholesterol free and growth hormone free. Hence, they do not cause high blood pressure and heart disease. They don’t promote diabetes, either.
  • Cheese: Tofu tastes just like paneer, and is healthy too. Rich in protein & calcium.
  • For cereals: Almond milk, cashew milk & soy milk are good choices for breakfast cereals.
  • Replace ghee, butter, cheese with: tofu, cashew, dairy-based milk with coconut/cashew milk.
  • Curd: Peanut curd goes well with buttermilk, raita etc. For other usages, cashew curd is a good choice.

Recipe Examples :

Plant based milks

Nut milks [from cashews, almonds and peanuts]

Ingredients: ½ cup almonds/cashews/peanuts,  Water (2 cups or more)


  • Wash and soak nuts in water (almonds overnight, cashews/peanuts for 3-4 hours).  Rinse well and blend with water. First make smooth paste with little water, and then add the rest of the water.
  • Sieve with a thin cloth (optional).
  • Nut milks can be stored in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Coconut Milk

Blend grated coconut with equal amount of lukewarm water. Sieve the mixture with a thin cloth. Save the fiber. Once all the milk is extracted, repeat the procedure with the fiber, and a little water to extract the remaining milk. Discard the fiber. This can be stored in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Rice Milk

Ingredients: 4 cups water, ½ cup uncooked rice (white or brown) or 1 cup cooked rice


  • Cook rice and water until very soft.
  • Let it cool and put mixture into blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth.
  • Let it stand for at least 30 minutes, and then pour the liquid on top into another container. Be careful not to let the sediments in or strain it. Refrigerate. It can be kept for at least 48 hours.

Peanut/Cashew curd

  • Use 2 cups of lukewarm cashew/peanut milk. (While using peanut milk, let it boil fully, and then let the temperature come down).
  • Add 2 teaspoons of curd as a starter, and mix well.
  • If you are starting the curd for the first time, then make the curd starter by adding 10-15 chilli stems in small quantity of warm milk and keep overnight. Use this to start the bigger batch of curd.
  • Most vegan curds stay well in refrigerator up to 7 days.

Simple vegan fruit-based ice-cream

Blend ½ kg of any pulpy fruit (such as mangoes, chickoo) with a handful of cashews (or even lesser) and 2 spoons of sugar.  Let it blend for 3-4 minutes. Freeze the mixture for at least 2 hours, and scoop!

Peanut curd-rice


  • 1 cup slightly overcooked rice (optionally it can be smashed a little)
  • Peanut curd – quantity according to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Jeera(cumin) powder – 1tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2tsp
  • Grated carrots – according to taste
  • Finely chopped mint leaves
  • Grated ginger,
  • Lemon – according to taste
  • For tempering – cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilly, white urad dal, chopped green chilli (3-4)


  • Boil rice with water (take 3 times more water than rice)
  • When rice is half cooked, add carrots, ginger, mint leaves, cumin powder and salt. Mix rice and curd together.
  • In a bowl, take a spoon of oil (optional), and add urad dal, mustard & cumin seeds. Once they pop, add green chillis, red chillis and curry leaves. Pour this over the curd rice mixture. Add curd and lemon according to taste.

Simple cashew cheese spread:

Ingredients: ½ cup cashews soaked for at least 3 hours; 3-4 cloves of garlic; salt and black pepper to taste, pinch of turmeric

Procedure: Blend all the ingredients in the chutney jar of the blender with a little water. Add water one spoon at a time, and blend till its consistency becomes creamy. Refrigerate it overnight for better results.

Overnight Oats

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup vegan milk (soy, almond, coconut, hemp)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 handful fresh fruit sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • Drizzle of maple syrup or agave nectar

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. You can eat it cold straight from the fridge, pack it with you for eating at room temperature, or heat it up.

Green Smoothie

  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 sliced frozen banana (freeze when banana is very ripe, when brown spots begin to form on the peel)
  • 1 handful frozen mango
  • 1 handful frozen pineapple
  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk (add more or less depending on how thick you like your smoothies)

Using a blender, blend the spinach and almond milk. Doing this step first helps prevent green spinach flakes in your smoothie. Next, add the mango and pineapple and blend well.

You can easily modify this recipe by swapping in your favorite fruits—but avoid any red or purple fruits which, when combined with spinach, will turn your smoothie an unappetizing brown color.

Vegan Yogurt Parfait

  • Vegan yogurt (soy, coconut, almond)
  • Granola (check to make sure there is no honey)
  • Fresh fruit, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Raisins or other dried fruits or nuts

Pour the yogurt into your favorite tall glass, interspersing a layer or two of granola, fruit, and raisins. Top with fruit, raisins, or nuts.

Many of Indian foods are totally plant based.

1) Daal: Avoid seasoning using ghee.

2) Chutneys: Green chutney – coriander, coconut, mint.

3) Saambar: Avoid seasoning using ghee.

4) Rasam: Avoid seasoning using ghee.

5) Curry: Individual or mixed vegetable curry.

6) Chapathis: Home made – avoid mixing flour using milk or  donot add ghee when making dough.

7) Rice dishes: Pulav (do not add ghee or butter instead use vegetable oil), lemon rice, puliyogare, jeera rice, bisbelebaath, methi rice, spinach rice, coconut rice.

8) Breakfast items: Idli, upma, dosa, parata without ghee, butter.

9) Juices: Mango juice, orange juice, watermelon, mint-lemon, pomegranate etc.

10) Sweets: Chkki (peanuts or cashew with jaggery), sessame laddo,  chocolates without milk, rice & mung daal pudding with saffron and coconut.

For more vegan recipe for your kids visit ‘Go Green’ menu in our website and visit following websites: