10 Healthy Plant-Based Meals for Kids - Plant Based Juniors (2024)

Healthy plant-based meals for kids! If you need vegan meal ideas, we’re sharing some of our favorite plates for plant-based kids.

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We all want to feed our kids well, but it’s easy to run out of ideas sometimes! Not to mention, making plates that include a variety of healthy foods can feel overwhelming after a while.

But the truth is, all it takes to make a healthy well-rounded meal today is using a mish-mash of leftovers from last night, a piece of cut of fruit, a snack-y item, a spoonful of nut butter, a small amount of a favorite sweet treat, a simple sandwich or pasta, or even some canned and drained lentils or beans, for example.

If you don’t already, we recommend using the PB3 Plate to help put together well-rounded meals.

Below are 10 quick ideas for inspiration when you’re putting together plant-based plates for your littles.

Meal 1:

Making healthy breakfasts can be a source of anxiety for many parents, especially on busy mornings. We like making a batch of pancakes or waffles in advance that can be used more than once during the week – just pop them in the toaster! Serving with a healthy source of fat, like nut butter and seeds, with a side of fruit creates a delicious, well-rounded breakfast in no time.

Meal 2:

We love legume-based pasta, like ones made from chickpeas, black beans, or red lentils, because they’re a nice extra source of protein for our littles.

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Meal 3:

  • Tortilla roll-up slathered with hummus
  • Roasted sweet potato cubes
  • Strawberries and cherries
  • Sunbutter dark chocolate cup from Trader Joe’s

We suggest offering some of your babe’s favorite sweets alongside meals or snacks on a fairly regular basis, instead of always saving them for an after-dinner reward. Research shows that putting sweets on a pedestal, or restricting them, can actually backfire and create more cravings for unhealthy foods. Stick a little treat in their lunch box or alongside a snack, instead.

Meal 4:

  • Sushi rice with a few sheets of nori
  • DIY trail mix of seeds, raisins, and chocolate chips
  • Edamame
  • Pineapple chunks

We like to throw together our own Trail Mix concoction at home and store it in a mason jar in the pantry. This can be a great source of fat, protein, fiber, and textures– and versatile to what your kiddos like!

Meal 5:

  • Tofu Tea Sandwiches made with thinly sliced tofu and cucumber rounds between bread layered with vegan cream cheese (we like Kite Hill chive cream cheese)
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Baby carrots with hummus

Sometimes it’s hard to think beyond PB&J but plant-based sandwiches don’t have to be fancy! This is one of our most frequently made simple sandwiches for lunch. You can switch it up by using other veggies like grated carrots, tomatoes, spinach, or all of the above.

Meal 6:

  • Vegan meatballs with pasta
  • Tofu chocolate pudding (recipe in our Nut-Free ebook)
  • Raspberries
  • Slice of sourdough bread

Tofu is super versatile – why not use it to make pudding? It’s a healthy protein-packed sweet treat that’s also compatible with nut-free school and daycare environments.

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Meal 7:

  • Red lentil pasta primavera
  • Cantaloupe
  • Roasted broccoli and cauliflower florets

To encourage acceptance of more vegetables, it’s important to offer them consistently and in a variety of ways and settings. Your kids may or may not try them the first ten times, but including them regularly helps normalize and encourage their consumption. Even roasted veggies leftover from last night’s dinner will do the trick – serve them with a yummy dip if you have one!

Meal 8:

Lentils may not be one of the most widely consumed foods in western culture, but they should be! Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and other micronutrients. You can find them dried or canned and use them to make these yummy tacos, Sloppy Joes, or add them to soups and salads.

Meal 9:

  • Tempeh bacon BLT sandwich
  • Vegetarian baked beans (we usually do canned for ease)
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Chickpea pasta tossed with kale pesto (pesto recipe in our book)

Tofu isn’t the only soy food that makes great sandwiches – give tempeh a try! Plus, leafy greens like kale, spinach, basil, and arugula can be presented in sauces like pesto and tossed with pasta.

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Meal 10:

Chickpeas are one of the coolest plant-based alternatives to tuna or chicken salad. Drain a can of chickpeas, rinse them, and mash them with a fork – mix in your tuna or chicken salad ingredients and serve in a tortilla, between bread, or with crackers.

We suggest offering a glass of fortified soy or pea milk alongside meals to help boost protein, fat, and micronutrients. Plus, check out our supplements guide to see what we recommend for plant-based kiddos in addition to their meals and snacks.

For more ideas for healthy plant-based meals, be sure to follow us on Instagram @plantbasedjuniors – we share full-day eats from our kids for inspiration every week!

Chime In: What are some of your favorite healthy plant-based meals for kids? Share in the comments!

If you found this post helpful, we think you should check out these too:

  • Nut-Free Lunch Ideas and More
  • 5 Plant-Based Family Meal Plan Tips
  • 7 Plant-Based Family Dinner Ideas That Include Everyone
  • How to Prevent a Hangry Toddler

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert and enthusiast, I have personal experiences or emotions, but I can provide you with information on the concepts mentioned in the article.

Healthy Plant-Based Meals for Kids

The article discusses various plant-based meal ideas for kids. It emphasizes the importance of providing well-rounded meals that include a variety of healthy foods. The article suggests using leftovers, fruits, nut butter, sweet treats, sandwiches, pasta, and legumes like lentils or beans to create nutritious meals for children. It also recommends using the PB3 Plate, a tool to help put together balanced meals.

Here are some key concepts mentioned in the article:

  1. PB3 Plate: The PB3 Plate is a tool recommended in the article to help create well-rounded meals for kids. It is a visual representation of a plate divided into three sections: one for protein, one for grains, and one for fruits and vegetables.

  2. Plant-based meals: The article focuses on plant-based meals, which are meals that primarily consist of foods derived from plants, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Plant-based diets can provide essential nutrients and have been associated with various health benefits.

  3. Variety of healthy foods: The article emphasizes the importance of including a variety of healthy foods in children's meals. This can include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Providing a diverse range of nutrients can support children's growth and development.

  4. Leftovers: The article suggests using leftovers from previous meals as a way to create quick and easy plant-based meals for kids. Leftovers can be repurposed and combined with other ingredients to make new dishes.

  5. Legume-based pasta: Legume-based pasta, such as those made from chickpeas, black beans, or red lentils, is recommended in the article as a source of protein for kids. Legumes are a nutritious plant-based protein source and can be a good alternative to traditional wheat-based pasta.

  6. Including sweets: The article suggests offering some of the child's favorite sweets alongside meals or snacks on a regular basis, rather than always saving them for after-dinner rewards. This approach can help normalize and moderate the consumption of sweets.

  7. Roasted vegetables: The article mentions roasted vegetables as a way to encourage children to consume more vegetables. Leftover roasted vegetables from previous meals can be served with a dip as a healthy and tasty option.

  8. Chickpea alternatives: The article suggests using chickpeas as a plant-based alternative to tuna or chicken salad. Mashed chickpeas can be mixed with other ingredients and served in a tortilla, between bread, or with crackers.

These are some of the key concepts discussed in the article about healthy plant-based meals for kids. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice and guidance on children's nutrition.

10 Healthy Plant-Based Meals for Kids - Plant Based Juniors (2024)
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