Kids are notoriously picky eaters. This is perfectly normal, can be a nuisance when your child’s birthday roles around and you have to put food together for 15 picky eaters. Compound this with the issue that you and your child are vegan, and you’ve got yourself a seriously restricted menu – and you have to cook for all the guests that are used to dairy and meat products. Not to worry, though. There are plenty of vegan snack foods that will satiate anyone’s palate – vegan or not.
The first thing to remember is that you’re cooking for children. If you’re going to have a room full of parents accompany the children, they should be content with eating the same food as the children do. So, don’t stress yourself out by cooking two massive, separate meals – one for parents, one for kids – and just stick to a single menu.
Also, keep the party short. 2 or 3 hours is more than enough for kids to run their fuel tanks down to empty, and the parents tend to follow suit. Also plan the party for mid-morning or mid-afternoon, so that you’re not expected to provide an entire meal for everybody, but rather light snacks and beverages.
Children – especially young children – enjoy a variety of snack foods, rather than one big entrée. Being able to select what they want not only ensure they are getting the food that their body needs, but gives them a sense of empowerment in making their own decisions. Young children tend to eat in bulk anyways – they’ll eat an entire avocado for one meal, and only plain pasta for the next. Making a variety of foods and putting them out for kids to build their own plates with is the best way to go.
Here are a few vegan snack ideas to give you some inspiration:
Vegan Chicken Nuggets: This is always a hit with little ones, and are sure to be snatched up quickly. Provide a couple of sauces to go with them. Not the healthiest food, but they work well for snacks.
Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches: Prepare these on whole wheat bread and cut them into small squares. Children are more likely to select a food if it’s prepared with their size in mind – they can handle them better.
Fruit Plate: Pile a big plate high with all sorts of fruits and watch it fly. Bananas, kiwi, oranges, apples, and mango all work well. Again, chop in small pieces. When plating it, make sure to keep each fruit separate. The more color, the better!
Vegan Pizza: Grab a couple pre-made crusts from the store, or make up your own in the kitchen. Use simple tomato sauce and fake cheese and cut into very thin strips. This makes a great savory snack for children. They probably won’t even realize the cheese is vegan!
Veggie Platter with Hummus: Chop carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, and whatever else you’d like and pile them on a plate. Put out 2 or 3 varieties of hummus on the side, and let kids mix and match the veggies with whatever hummus they’d like. Parents will inevitably gravitate towards this, also.
Make A Trip To The Deli: All health food stores or co-ops have a deli section with a bunch of vegan food items. Stock up on a couple of these to bolster whatever else you plan on making. If they have Tofu Poppers, make sure to grab lots of them – kids will gobble them right up!
Make sure to enjoy yourself, through it all! You want to be present for your child on their special day, so be present for them. Kids tend to take care of parties themselves, so find relief in knowing that everything will go smoothly.
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