by Jasmine H of nourishedbodynourishedmind
Considering going plant-based, or reducing your meat intake but just don’t know where to start? It can be so overwhelming, with all of the information out there. What about protein? What about calcium if I’m not having dairy? Fear no more, this is a great time to go plant-based, with so many alternatives available in the supermarket, and of course, eating an abundance of fruits and veggies.
My name is Jasmine and I am a local mum who has a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and 5-month-old and I’m solo for lunch & dinnertime! As you can imagine, quick, easy, nutritious meals are a must. I focus on whole foods and aim for protein, carbohydrates & good fats throughout the whole day, being mindful of all the vitamins and minerals to ensure their little bodies are receiving what they need to!
There are quite a few vegan cafes and restaurants now, with Newtown being a great little vegan hub, including Gigi’s Pizzeria, Golden Lotus, which serves a buffet of Vietnamese cuisine, and the one and only plant-based ice cream shop, Gelato Blue.
In Balmain, there’s a yummy donut shop called Nutie that is completely gluten-free and has a great range of vegan donuts. Balmain is also home to the Green Lion, which is a vegan pub restaurant.
In the Entertainment Quarter, you’ll find the Sydney Vegan market, which is family and pet-friendly with a craft corner and free face painting. They offer an abundance of food, both sweet and savoury!
Closer to home in Carlingford, there’s a great little vegetarian restaurant called Carlingford Vegetarian Cuisine which is actually vegan except for less than 5 dishes on the menu!
Even Event cinemas even do vegan choc tips, and their popcorn is also vegan!
Here are some of my go-to recipes that I use regularly, that are approved by my toddler and preschooler!
For yummy pancakes this recipe is a hit, it does use oats so if you are coeliac even the gloriously free oats may not be suitable, so you may need to omit, however if not, enjoy!
These are incredible zucchini fritters which are egg, soy, & gluten-free as well as vegan, and perfect for lunches. They’re made with chickpea flour which you can easily find in Coles, usually in the international food section.
Gloriously Golden Red Lentil Dahl
My absolute all-time favourite meal is Dahl. The first time you make it, it might take a little longer as you get used to the recipe, but once you know it you can whip it together in no time. Make sure to deseed the chilli or omit it completely for little ones. I usually serve this with coconut rice, and always make extra to freeze for meals.
Nachos are also a big favourite in our house. In place of the meat, I use refried beans or jackfruit & add in taco seasoning sautéed with some onions. For the nacho cheese sauce, this is my absolute favourite recipe. It uses nutritional yeast, which you can find in the health food aisle at Coles and Woolworths, or any health food store. It’s a great staple to have on hand and is used as the base of any cheese substitute sauce.
Rice Bubble Bats
My little ones are huge snackers, eating hummus and crackers, veggie sticks etc daily. For a healthy treat, I make these rice bubble bats, which never last long.
I hope this helps you – I know it can be quite a process to think outside of the ‘meat’ box. I’m actually gluten-free and eat minimal soy, so going plant-based was even that bit more overwhelming for me, but is something I find so easy to manage now.
Transitioning my little ones to plant-based was not a decision I made overnight. It was a slow transition and was done in consultation with a paediatric dietician to ensure that they were going to continue to flourish into the best little humans they can be.
Whether your decision is due to health reasons, for the animals, for our beautiful earth, or a combination of all of the above, start easy, make things you genuinely love and surround yourself with like-minded individuals, making the journey enjoyable and sustainable.