Teaching Good Eating to
Children - A Lesson in Vegan Food Pyramid Building
As a vegan, you get all the usual questions: If you don't eat meat or
animal products, how do you get your protein? How can you make cakes
and cookies and such without using eggs? If you don't eat cheese or
drink milk, how do you stay bone healthy? What the heck do you eat?
By Cynthia Mosher
Vegans eat a variety of different foods, including fruits, vegetables,
and grains. In fact, these foods make up the base of the vegan food
pyramid. The upper portion of the pyramid contains legumes, seeds, and
beans, and fortified dairy substitutes. At the top are vegetables
oils, vegetable fats, and nuts.
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Raisoing a child as a vegan is fairly straightforward when they are
young. It's when they get a bit older and are exposed to non-vegan
family, friends, and peer pressure that it gets a bit more
complicated. Food choices are questioned and challenged. Nutritional
health becomes compromised as junk food invades their world and they
begin to make their own choices of what they eat from a menu outside
the home kitchen. As the parent of a vegan child, you can use all the help available to educate, support, and reinforce the importance and benefits of a good vegan diet.
"Eat Liberally," "Eat Generously," "Eat Moderately" and "Eat
Sparingly" are four key phrases that we should teach our children to
embrace as eating guides, along with the foods that they should learn
to associate with each of them. Most of us know these basics but in
raising vegan children, it comes in handy to have a visual reminder of
just what a vegan should be eating every day. Having a pyramid guide
to encourage daily servings and good food choices can make all the
difference in helping kids learn how to meet their daily nutrition
needs. And yes, there IS a vegan food pyramid! Similar to the standard food
pyramid for meat eaters, this one is just for vegans. It floats in a
sea of water (get 8-10 glasses a day, it tells you).
You can purchase a 36"x24" poster of the Vegan Food Pyramid here. It makes an
inspirational and educational picture to grace your kitchen or dining
room wall. Homeschoolers will find it especially helpful as a teaching
aid for nutrition lessons. Or you can make your own pyramid by
clipping food pictures and making a project out of it with your kids,
reinforcing the ideas of food groups and their place in the triangle
Teaching the basics of good eating is one of the most important steps
a parent can take to prevent childhood obesity and help children
understand excellent nutrition. Another important step is to live
what we teach.