I try to feed my kid healthy foods. Really, I do. I try to limit junk food as much as possible. Candy, cookies, cakes, and chips are not often consumed in our house. At least, not by Zach, and not when he’s awake. I mean who among us hasn’t raided the ice cream the second the kids are in bed? I cannot be alone in this.
The main reason we eat healthy at home is that I want Zach to learn good habits. I don’t want him addicted to sugar like I am. I don’t want him struggling with food addiction, weight problems, or the diseases linked to a poor diet. That’s why we try to stick to sweet healthy snacks when we’re at home. The other reason I try to keep things healthy at home is that I have no delusions.
I know that when we leave him in the care of the grandparents or aunts and uncles, all bets are off.
Grandpa will be handing out whatever snacks the little guy asks for. None of them are healthy. Most parents deal with this same problem. We try to feed the little ones healthy and the grandparents pump them full of sugar. I get it, that’s what grandparents like to do. We accept that this is part of the “circle of life,” if you will. Our grandparents ignored our parent’s requests not to spoil us, and now it’s their turn.
This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t that as vegans, we get hit with a double whammy. In addition to being ridiculously unhealthy, the treats are also definitely not vegan. Like lots of vegans, we are the only vegans we know. Most people in our lives do not have vegan treats. They have what most standard Americans have; cheesy, milk based, sugary treats.
This makes it really difficult when we are leaving Zach with others for any period of time outside of our home. Many people don’t understand what is or isn’t vegan. Many people, my family included, tend to think vegan food is “specialty food.” It’s more expensive, organic, and all natural. It’s sold in special aisles or stores. It’s produced and/or sourced differently.
Generally speaking, they think it’s difficult to be vegan and hard to get vegan treats.
Are vegan treats harder to find?
I have great news for all of the non-vegans desperately trying to figure out what treats are vegan. It’s not!
There are a lot of misconceptions about vegan food. But this isn’t a post to convince anyone of the health merits of a vegan lifestyle. Nor is it to sway anyone over to this way of life. I’m not going to address the moral, ethical or religious views surrounding the choice to eat or not eat meat.
I want to address just one common belief people hold about vegan food. Vegan food does not have to be special.
Non-vegans think there is something special about a food in order to make it vegan. This isn’t true of all vegan food. The term “accidentally vegan” is used in the vegan community to refer to regular, everyday items that people aren’t even aware are technically vegan. These foods have no special labeling noting that they are vegan. They are not any more expensive and are sold in regular aisles in the grocery store.
Basically, they take no extra effort to purchase than the non-vegan options.
A little bit of junk food I’m okay with. Indulging whole-heartedly in a lifestyle that we don’t agree with for several reasons, I’m not okay with. As long as the junk-food is vegan, I can accept it.
That’s why I decided to compile this list of “naughty” treats that are definitely not okay with mom and dad because they’re not healthy. But they will be okay with them because they’re also vegan.
I promise it is not difficult to be a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin who spoils. You can give the vegan little one in your life treats that will still be in line with their beliefs, even if it’s junk food.
Without further ado, here is my list of vegan treats sure to please any child in your life, annoy their parents, and make you feel good about sticking to their deeper dietary beliefs.
25 Simple Vegan Treats for Kids*
- Swedish Fish
- Sour Patch Kids
- Dum-Dum pops
- BBQ Pringles
- Oreo’s (most flavors)
- Jelly Belly
- Jell-O Cook & Serve Vanilla Pudding
- Nutter Butter cookies
- Luigi’s Italian Ice
- Poptarts-Strawberry unfrosted
- Bottle caps
- Jolly Ranchers
- Red Vines
- Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter
- Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies
- Nabisco Teddy Grahams (Chocolate & Cinnamon)
- Edy’s Whole Fruit Bars
It’s difficult to strictly follow a vegan diet in a non-vegan world, but it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve chosen to live by a plant-based vegan diet. This means we consume no meat of any kind, no dairy, and no eggs. It’s a decision we’ve made based on research and evidence that a plant-based diet limited or void of animal products is overall healthier. (Although some of us have made modifications over time.)
No one else in our lives follows a vegan diet. When we go to dinner at relatives homes, we bring our own food and eat whatever is there that we can. We’re still transitioning, so on occasion, Andy and Zach will indulge in small amounts on special occasions, such as a small piece of cake on a birthday.
Armed with this list, we don’t have to worry that Zach has to compromise on our beliefs. He can still be spoiled by the grandparents with the indulgent sweets that grandparents are known for. He can still have a normal Halloween trick-or-treating experience. We’re allowing him to partake in part of what it means to be a kid. All without throwing our deeper beliefs about our diet completely out the window.
So if there is someone in your life that needs to know what is acceptable, even though it’s not really acceptable, to give your vegan child, share this list with them. We can’t expect everyone to understand our lifestyle choices or how they work. But we can make it easier for them to go along with it. In the process, we’ll make it easier on ourselves by reducing the worry when we send our little ones off without us.
What vegan treats do you allow your kids? Let me know in the comments below!
-To your Better Life-
*Please double check the ingredients list before purchasing. These are, to the best of my knowledge through extensive research, all vegan foods at the time of this posting. If you find anything on this list that you know to be not vegan, please let me know asap. Incorrect or vague ingredient listings may allow for inaccuracies. In addition, manufacturers change recipes without warning and it may need to be updated if that occurs! The list also includes items made with sugar which some vegans do not find acceptable. Please consider what is acceptable to you when using this list. Thanks!