Various FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation, UN) studies have shown that veganism is beneficial for humans as well as the environment. Vegan diets tend to be rich in fiber, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. With
Scrumptious vegan creamy nacho dip; inset: Aradhana (left) and Pooja
veganism becoming a popular choice of the compassionate and environmentally friendly, people are coming up with many variants of a vegan diet, which constitute majorly of legumes, vegetables and fruits. But feeding it to children can be challenging. “Children are extremely picky about eating vegetables. Their palates are attracted to vibrant colours and dishes that are loaded with cheese, cream or sugar,” says Pooja Bhimra, a yoga instructor and long time vegan who recently held a class on vegan recipes for children in New Delhi.
Aradhana Misra, a wellness facilitator, who shared her popular vegan recipes alongside Pooja in the cooking class, says, “Vegan food can do wonders for young children. With a rise in child obesity, it is time to look for food alternatives that gel well with children, and are equally nutritious.”
According to her, a great way to add vegan dishes to a child’s diet is by presenting them as alternatives of their favourite dishes. Popular dishes like pasta, nachos and even fruit smoothies can be turned vegan by substituting dairy with a combination of vegetables and nuts. Aradhana’s recipe for making alfredo sauce pasta, for example, contains a sauce made out of soaked cashews, boiled cauliflower and potatoes instead of the usual heavy cream and cheese. Similarly, for a rich and creamy nacho dip, Pooja prefers a mixture of carrots, potatoes and cashews to give it a vibrant yellow colour. She advises to use dates or molasses instead of refined sugar in the desserts. Her no bake chia pudding, made with almond milk, dates and fresh seasonal fruits, is an excellent example of a healthy and delicious vegan dessert for children.
“Veganism for kids is about providing better choices for the same kind of food. For it to work, it has to be gently introduced to them,” says Pooja. With most of our food choices being governed by the preferences of our children, introducing them to vegan food is a great way to ensure that we continue to eat healthy down the years.
Contact Pooja Bhimra at firstname.lastname@example.org, 9167558007
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