Summer vegans

Summertime is a wonderful time to be a vegan -- fresh fruits and veggies are in abundance, and the sunshine provides lots of vitamin D!  But summertime is also a challenge for vegan children as the ice cream trucks roll along and carnivals are filled with buttery popcorn and other unhealthy treats.  So how do you combat the munchies amidst all this temptation?

The answer is mainly: be prepared.  We keep our freezer stocked with fruit juice popsicles and coconut milk ice cream, our pantry full of vegan ice cream cones and healthy snacks and our fridge jam-packed with strawberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches, watermelon, etc.  So if we have to be caught out in public at an event where temptation abounds, we can always say, “hey, afterwards, we’ll go home and have our own ice cream...I’ll even put sprinkles on top!”  Most of the time, however, I bring along some fruit or some other snack that keeps the hunger at bay so the kids can enjoy the event itself, not the food.

There are plenty of other summer traditions that can be veganized and healthified (I’m sure that’s a word...) -- BBQ’d tofu dogs or eggplant, or my favorite -- grilled corn! can be substituted for meat products, and the sprouted buns are delicious and a healthy alternative to the white flour versions.  Watermelon is nature’s candy, and lemonade made with agave nectar, rose water, and fresh mint is delicious!
Focusing on the activity rather than the food makes family time much more enjoyable -- I have found that food-centered traditions are more often passed down through the parent’s example rather than the environment.  Meaning that kids don’t instinctively have a connection between the circus and cotton candy; only when parents consistently buy it for them at the circus do they put the two together and it forms a tradition.  Don’t feel like you are doing them a disservice by not giving them the same experiences you had as a child -- not every experience is worth passing down.  It’s much better to give them health and confidence and to teach them lessons like self-control and mature decision-making.

For example -- my husband grew up in Iran and ate oranges and apples and nuts for his snacks.  Since he never ate candy bars and regular ice cream (he had rose water ice cream which is really yummy!), he doesn’t associate treats with sugar, but rather with fruit.  Imagine raising children who crave veggies more than Goldfish!  It can be done!

So have a great summer -- enjoy the zoo, the amusement park, the water parks!  But above all, enjoy the energy and health that is yours with the smart vegan lifestyle.  🙂