Since having children, I’ve found that in order to stop everything spiralling into disarray, I have to be really disciplined with planning ahead, particularly when it comes to mealtimes. If I just bought a load of stuff from the supermarket willy-nilly I’d probably be stuck for ideas most days, and would also create a hell of a lot more waste than we currently do (although baby-led weaning does mean that a LOT of food ends up in the food bin or on the floor…perhaps time to invest in a composter, although placing a toddler underneath the high chair helps too).
So, I thought I’d start sharing some of my weekly plans, starting with breakfasts. My breakfasts range from shoving some Weetabix into a bowl to a full-on full English. The best thing about all of these though, is that I’m not having to make separate breakfasts for everyone – on most days the adults will eat exactly the same as our 2 year old and our 8 month old (with a couple of tweaks to keep each of us happy).
So here we go, 7 days of yummy vegan breakfasts for the whole family:
Cereal with non-dairy milk, toast and fruit.
Monday is the day when I tend to struggle a bit to get back into the swing after the weekend, so I always go easy on myself and make breakfast nice and easy.
We generally cycle between Cheerios (the low salt and sugar ones so they’re more baby friendly), bitesize Shredded Wheat, Bear Alphabites and Weetabix because everybody in this house likes them but obviously you can have whatever takes your fancy.
Parent tweak: No adjustment needed on the cereal front but I like my toast with non-dairy spread and marmalade or Marmite.
Toddler tweak: My daughter loves “sprinkles” on her breakfast (no, not hundreds and thousands, that would be irresponsible), so I’ve got some milled flax and chia seeds with apple and cinnamon (a winning flavour) that I give her a little sprinkling of on top of whatever she’s having. This makes her feel like she’s getting a special treat, and me feel that she’s getting an extra boost of goodness. Toast-wise she loves Marmite or nut butter.
Baby tweak: If I’m giving cereal as finger food rather than on a spoon (my little one much prefers feeding himself), I’ll pre-soak some of it in milk so it’s nice and soft but still grabbable for little fingers. This works particularly well with bitesize Shredded Wheat and Cheerios. I cut his toast into fingers and spread with a tiny bit of Marmite (it’s quite salty), nut butter or a bit of mashed banana or avocado.
I cut blueberries and grapes into halves or quarters, and any other fruit into chunks about the size of my own finger, which make them easy for the littlest one to grasp.
These were a really recent invention for me but they work really well and pack a good healthy punch too.
Parent tweak: I like to serve mine in a stack of at least 3 with a generous dollop of yoghurt (I like coconut but any non-dairy yoghurt works), a load of berries and a good drizzle of maple syrup.
Toddler tweak: Serve with a separate little pot of non-dairy yoghurt for dipping.
Baby tweak: Cut into strips and spread some non-dairy yoghurt onto each piece.
Before turning vegan, I actually used to find porridge a bit boring, but since changing what we eat and therefore having LOADS of different toppings to hand (particularly fresh fruit) it’s become a bit of a taste sensation. We make ours with oat milk but any non-dairy milk works as well and 3 of my favourite combinations of toppings are:
- Dessicated coconut or coconut flakes, banana and pineapple.
- Strawberries, blueberries and golden syrup.
- Stewed apple, raisins and cinnamon
Parent tweak: Golden syrup everywhere. My guilty pleasure.
Toddler tweak: I’ll generally make Ready Brek instead of normal porridge for both of my kids because it’s fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. I’ll also give my daughter some extra raisins to sprinkle on by herself because she likes the responsibility.
Baby tweak: Plastic sheeting everywhere and a bib with sleeves. This one’s messy.
Eggless Eggy Bread
One thing I used to really like as a non-vegan was eggy bread. There are SO many recipes out there for “French Toast”, which is generally a sweeter version with cinnamon but I like a really simple savoury version. All you need to do is whisk together 2Tbsp chickpea flour, 120ml dairy-free milk, a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper then soak it up with thick slices of bread and fry until crisp and golden on the outside. Deeeelish.
Parent tweak: I add extra salt to mine – this is not the time to be healthy, people.
Toddler tweak: None needed!
Baby tweak: Cut into fingers and watch for flying fragments.
These are a relatively new phenomenon in our house but they’re an excellent way to get some hidden goodness into all of us. it’s a smoothie, but a bit thicker, and served in a bowl with extra fruit, nuts and seeds on top. There are loads of recipes out there and it’s easy to make up your own too but as a starting point, this one from Minimalist Baker takes 5 minutes and is lovely.
Parent tweak: Maple syrup again, I’M SORRY BUT I LOVE IT.
Toddler tweak: Give her a little bowl of cut up fresh fruit to sprinkle on top.
Baby tweak: Allow to come to room temp a bit if your baby likes to wolf stuff down like ours does. This prevents baby brain freeze. I also give him some fingers of banana or melon to chomp on for self-feeding practice
The Big Saturday Fry-Up
YESSSSSS. The one we all look forward to!
A fully-loaded plate with:
Sausages (we like Linda McCartney original or chorizo style sausages)
Hash browns or waffles (OR BOTH)
Avocado on toast
Sauteed spinach on the days we’re feeling in need of some extra greenery.
Parent tweak: A squeeze of lime juice and some chilli in our avocado.
Toddler tweak: Hold the mushrooms (only because our toddler’s not keen) and let her choose a tiny little squeeze of sauce (BBQ, ketchup or brown) for dipping.
Baby tweak: This one’s can be a little bit heavy on salt so he’ll just have a tiny taste of the saltiest items (hash brown and sausage) and then go a bit larger on the avocado, I’ll also give him fresh, raw tomatoes rather than cooked because they’re a bit cooler on his little teething gums and easier/less messy to eat.
Banana Bread (click for recipe) with Fruit Salad
I like to bake a loaf of this the day before to give the bananas a chance to go even more gooey and delicious then pop a couple of slices in the toaster to warm them up the next morning. Serve with dairy-free yoghurt and a fruit salad made with whatever fruit your family prefers.
Parent Tweak: Nothing…
Toddler Tweak: …nothing…
Baby Tweak: …nothing! We all like this one exactly the same way.
So there you have it – a whole week of breakfasts that will please the whole family.