Meatless Monday: My Healthy, Happy Vegan Toddler

Category: My Blog Comments: 11 comments Tags: , , , , , ,

This is a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, Keri over at I Eat Trees. I like to keep this blog family-friendly so today she shares how to feed a toddler and one of his favorite recipes!

Living in the Midwest, when we tell people we're raising our son vegan, they almost always look at us as though giant horns are sprouting from our foreheads. Or worse, start casually flipping through the phone book for the child services number while smiling and nodding. It may be true that vegan parents have gotten a bad rap with the "mainstream" crowd, but no one can deny our son is happy, healthy, and incredibly well-fed. Be it his diet and lifestyle or just pure luck, our little man, who turned 2 in March, has never had so much as a fever. We feel extremely blessed for his super-baby immune system, no matter the reason.

The most common question I get (aside from "Where does he get his protein??") is, "So what does he eat?!" Well, the thing is, I can lead a toddler to cauliflower, but I can't make him eat. I just offer him a plateful of wholesome foods at every meal, so no matter what he chooses I can feel good about it. As a mom I've become more inspired than ever to research proper nutrition and play with new flavor combinations. Plus, I have a 3 foot tall tester who doesn't know any better than to give me his completely honest opinion. I can usually put people's mind at ease with the guarantee my son eats more nutrient-packed vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds in a day than most kids on this block eat in a month. He even happily starts every morning with a blended green juice smoothie straight from the Vita-Mix! When I assure them pizza, PB&J, cupcakes, and cookies can all be made vegan, our horns magically begin to disappear.

This Cranberry Pepita Quinoa is definitely one of our little guy's favorites, undeniably full of flavor and packed with all the essential amino acids and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. It's an amazing fall dish, but because dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds are easily stored, I can make it especially for him year-round.

Cranberry Pepita Quinoa


1 cup quinoa

1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Soak quinoa in cold water for 30 minutes, drain, and rinse. Toast quinoa over medium head until dry and golden. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable broth and cranberries to a simmer for 4-5 minutes to plump. Stir in salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add toasted quinoa and pumpkin seeds to saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to simmer for 20-22 minutes. Fork-fluff gently. Enjoy!

Follow Keri on Twitter and be sure to check out her blog for more great recipes!

Comment List

  • Sarah S. 28 / 06 / 2010 Reply

    Great guest post! Keri is one inspiring vegan mama!

  • Keri's a doll…love her!  and this recipe too!

  • Rebecca 28 / 06 / 2010 Reply

    People always look at me strange when I tell them I plan to raise my kids Vegan one day. It's so inspiring to see other children being raised this way. Great recipe!

    • Christy Morgan 01 / 07 / 2010 Reply

      @Rebecca I think one day soon it won’t be so strange!
      @Averie She sure is a doll and her son too! Quinoa has to be my favorite grain hands-down!
      @Sarah She is inspiring to me too!

  • Hallie (@fit_by_veg) 03 / 07 / 2010 Reply

    This recipe sounds delish!!! And I too am proud to hear of you blazing the trail for us future mama's who will also grow horns in the eyes of carnivores! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Keri - I Eat Trees 03 / 07 / 2010 Reply

    Thank you so much everyone for your kind words and support!  

  • Buddy 20 / 07 / 2010 Reply

    I'm eating this right now over a bed of greens and it's awesome!

  • mpr 01 / 01 / 2011 Reply

    It is wonderful to see how others are doing it too, and the amazing results. Being a MD dedicated to using food as medicine I decided to raise my twin boys vegan too. They are now 3 years old and have enjoyed wonderful health so far. They are now at a stage where they make their own choices when out and faced with various choices, and guess what, they usuallu go for the vegan options!

    • Christy Morgan 13 / 06 / 2011 Reply

      Yay! More and more parents are raising their kids vegan and it’s awesome. I wish there were more doctors out there like you!

  • Brittany 12 / 06 / 2011 Reply

    hello, I have been moving towards an entirely vegan lifestyle for 4 months (still holding on to my leather bag…) but my 17 month old is vegetarian and I have been feeling more and more like I want her to be vegan too. It's hard for me to buy dairy for her and not feel guilty about why I'm giving it to her…Why am I giving it to her? !? anyway…I could use some tips/meal ideas for this little one. She has some major health issues so I want to make sure she is getting everything she needs. any book recommendations? thanks!

    • Christy Morgan 13 / 06 / 2011 Reply

      Hi Brittany! Yes, dairy is the worse thing you could be giving your daughter, especially if she is having health issues. Dairy will only exasperate any health problem. Check out Dr. Neal Barnard’s books. If you want to email me directly to tell me more about her health issues I can give you some more recommendations.

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