These are a few of my most favorite foods to give my 18 month old vegan. These foods have clean ingredients, are either pre-made or easy to fix, and your toddler will love them.
I recently discovered these veggie burgers and veggie bites. They are delicious and they only take a few minutes to make. Just heat them up in the oven or on the stove. I really appreciate these because they are organic and made from whole foods such as various beans, roots, quinoa, and greens. I have found the veggie burgers at sprouts for $2.99 for 2 patties and $4.29 for veggie bites.
I try to limit the amount of flour in my toddler’s diet, however, any parent knows how handy finger foods can be. That being said, I prefer to use these when he needs a quick snack if I don’t have any other option, rather than as a meal. My go to “o” cereal is the H-E-B organics toasted o’s because they have few ingredients, and are made with whole grain oat flour and rice flour. They are $2.98/box and are USDA organic.
One of my favorite foods to give to my son is oatmeal. There are many options when it comes to oats, but quickest option is most likely going to be the Quaker 1-minute oats. I just fill a bowl half way with oats, cover with water and cook in the microwave for two minutes. I also like to add some flaxseeds, cinnamon, and turmeric as well. For an organic option, try the Bob’s Red Mill brand.
One of my son’s most favorite meals is gnocchi. Due to the quality of ingredients, it is an infrequent meal, but if I’m going to give him gnocchi, it’s going to be sweet potato gnocchi. The thing I like most about this gnocchi is how quick it is to cook and the fact that it is mostly made from sweet potatoes, so it has few ingredients. All you have to do is put the gnocchi in hot water for a few minutes, then serve with your choice of a sauce (my son prefers marinara). Just be sure to cut them to the appropriate size for your child to eat. You can find these at H-E-B for $2.49 each.
Pouches are my son’s favorite snack, so much so that I buy them by the case. Beech-Nut and Plum Organics are the brands I buy most frequently. I will only purchase pouches if they are organic and have the necessary ingredients only without any preservatives. Be cautious about relying on what the front of the package says when buying pouches and always read the ingredients. The pouches I buy typically only contain fruit and vegetables as well as some lemon juice, rather than citric acid or other preservatives. Having at least two pouches a day, they are the biggest staple in my son’s diet. I always have a few handy because he will never turn down a pouch whether he’s teething, tired, grumpy, or sick. His favorite flavor is pear, purple carrot, and blueberry by Plum Organics.
Pupusas are something I recently discovered on a shopping trip to sprouts. Similar to the Hilary’s burgers and burger bites, this brand of pupusas has a regular sized pupusa, as well as bites, which would be ideal for toddlers. It contains few ingredients and are gluten free.
It may seem like common sense, but potatoes are actually one of my favorite foods to give my son. Whether it be white potatoes or sweet potatoes, they are so versatile and my son loves them. I typically either cook the potatoes in a microwave and serve them mashed, or I chop them and cook them on the stove top with seasonings. For sweet potatoes, I tend to serve them as dessert with either honey or pure maple syrup, and cinnamon. When I serve white potatoes, I season them to taste, occasionally add vegan butter, or even some beans and guacamole on top. Potatoes are always a go to for me due to how quick and filling they are.
8. Zucchini Spaghetti
One of my son’s favorite foods is zucchini spaghetti. All you have to do is either spiralize your own zucchini, or get it pre spiralized from the store, boil for a few minutes until they are as soft as desired, cover in marinara (or sauce of choice), then cut into toddler size bites.
When it comes to vegan milk options, there is no shortage. My son’s favorite types of milks are almond, rice, and oat. Vegan milks are even pretty easy to make at home, if you’ve got a bit of patience. I tend to lean towards unsweetened milks. If you are making them at home, sweeten with dates, or stevia drops if you are wanting to sweeten it up a bit. Sometimes it can be hard to get my son to drink as much water as he should, but he has no problem getting the water he needs from vegan milks due to their high water content.
I have loved this rice ever since I discovered it. You just have to heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds, then it’s ready to serve. If you don’t have access to this brand, I’m sure there is something comparable at your local grocery store. My requirements for packaged, pre-cooked rice are vegan, minimal ingredients, and ideally organic.
Chickpeas are one of my favorite foods to serve at home. I just buy organic canned chickpeas, rinse them, season them, and pop them in the oven for a few minutes. Make sure to either cut them in half, or crush them before serving to your child. Hummus is also another one of my son’s favorites, however, I have not found hummus in store that didn’t have preservatives his diet doesn’t allow him to have.
12. Amy’s rice mac & cheeze
This is for sure a treat. I don’t serve this to my son very often because in my opinion, it has a few unnecessary ingredients. However, it is SO delicious and the ingredients are so much cleaner than some non-vegan quick mac & cheese options. Even if you enjoy non-vegan mac & cheese, you are likely to enjoy this dairy-free option. It comes frozen, so all you have to do is heat it in the microwave for a few minutes and it’s ready to serve.
13. Daiya cheese
My favorite vegan cheese is the block of smoked gouda cheese. My son loves to eat the slices by themselves and it’s a great topping as well. I have made vegan barbeque sandwiches and vegan chicken sandwiches and it is amazing on top of both. I appreciate that it doesn’t have terrible ingredients, especially compared to other cheeses, vegan or non-vegan.
Katelynn Quain is currently studying to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She’s passionate about preventing chronic disease and childhood obesity by educating people on plant-based lifestyles.
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