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What to fix for lunch for a toddler?

(post, Tiffanie McCoy)

Feeding a vegan toddler can be a bit intimidating at first, and lately I've felt like I'm falling into a rut. So I bought a cookbook! Actually, two -- Vegan Lunch Box and a vegan Japanese cookbook.

First thing I tried (after a lovely trip to a Japanese grocery store for supplies) was basic miso soup. I somehow forgot to buy konbu seaweed, so I used dried shiitake mushrooms to make the stock. That turned out to be a bonus, since the boy loves mushrooms. The rest was easy -- put the hot stock in a bowl, chop up the shiitake mushrooms into small pieces, add some reconstituted wakame seaweed, some diced firm tofu, and a spoonful of organic light miso. I found a Chinese soup spoon to add novelty, and a new favorite was born! It was a huge hit. He ate the entire bowl, asked for more repeatedly... I ended up making it three times that day for him. And twice more the next day. I gave it a break the next day, then gave him a bowl yesterday, which he did not quite finish. He ate all the mushrooms and wakame and most of the tofu, but not all the broth.

Today I'm making a red lentil and carrot soup. It has coconut milk in it, which seems like a nice way to get more fat into the boy. Other recipes I'll be trying out soon: sweet rice balls with nut butter on the inside, rolled in nori; puff pastries with an interesting mix of walnuts, chickpeas, brown rice, and oat bran, plus lots of tasty spices and I may add mushrooms, too. Also planning on making some popcorn balls with sunflower seeds, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. That one may be a real pain to clean up afterward when he's done eating it. I'll have to strap him into his highchair so that my sofa doesn't have rice syrup all over it.