People we love – Bianca Dungey: talks nutrition for kids

Each month we aim to bring you an intimate interview on people we love. Bianca Dungey aka Family of Vegans. We love her, not only for her AMAZING Instagram feed, but for her love for eating whole foods and raising her little one to have the same love.

WHAT ARE SOME DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS YOU ARE MINDFUL OF WITH RAISING A VEGAN TODDLER?

I guess with all diets it is super important that our children (and us adults!) are receiving adequate vitamins and minerals, such as iron, B12, calcium etc. There seems to be a misconception that all vegans should be supplementing iron but in reality there are so many yummy iron-dense foods such as lentils, tofu, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, quinoa, leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, oats and molasses. Iron is best absorbed alongside vitamin C so we ensure that Elijah eats lots of foods that are also high in vitamin c such as broccoli, strawberries, oranges, melon, sweet potato and mango. He eats plenty of foods that are fortified with B12 such as Weetbix and nutritional yeast, but to be on the safe side we also give him a spray of a sublingual B12 supplement once a week. From what I have read, even non-vegans should be supplementing with B12 as it is incredibly important for a healthy central nervous system.

HOW IMPORTANT FOR YOU IS IT TO CREATE HEALTHY HABITS FOR YOUR LITTLE ONE?

Ensuring Elijah has a healthy diet is extremely important to us. We make sure that his food is mostly organic, fresh and free from refined sugar and try to ensure that a substantial percentage of his daily food intake consists of fruit and vegetables. I truly believe that as a parent our main priority should be ensuring the health of our children (both physical and mental health) and providing Elijah with a diet rich in nutrients is how we have been achieving that.

WHAT TIPS/IDEAS WOULD YOU GIVE TO MUMS WITH FUSSY EATERS (VEGAN/NON-VEGAN) WHILST KEEPING IT NUTRITIOUS?

I am yet to meet a parent who says that their child has never been through a fussy stage with food, so I think it’s really important to remember that most children go through this stage and it is totally normal! Elijah certainly has the odd day where he randomly refuses to eat a food item that he loved the day before! It certainly keeps us on our toes.
We have always tried to involve Elijah in the cooking process and I think that has been a great way to encourage him to try new healthy foods. He loves helping to make smoothies and enjoys chopping up fruit, vegetables and tofu with us. On the days when Elijah just outright refuses to eat any of his vegetables I resort to just blending greens in his smoothie and masking them with plenty of cacao and dates to give a delicious chocolatey flavour. Even though I always said I would never “hide” veggies in his food, I’d much rather he ate them in some form rather than not at all! Having said that he is generally a really good eater and I never have concerns about his diet.

Another tip would be to ensure that if your little one is being fussy and refusing a meal you have prepared, make sure that the meal that you offer as a replacement is still healthy! Some evenings when Elijah is particularly tired he will reject the dinner I have made and instead beg for toast or something else simple. When it becomes obvious he absolutely won’t eat the meal we are eating as a family I will give him something like sprouted spelt toast topped with nut butter, hemp seeds and flaxseed meal and then give him a serving of fruit on the side. I know some people advise to just let their children go hungry if they are being fussy, but I definitely wouldn’t do that to Elijah. I guess everyone just has days when they don’t fancy certain foods and as long as your child is eating healthily I don’t think it necessarily matters if they have the odd “breakfast for dinner” every now and again!

WHO ARE YOU INSPIRED BY AND WHY?

There are so many people that inspire me including my family and friends but in terms of a vegan inspiration I am a massive fan of the author and illustrator Ruby Roth. She creates the most beautiful children’s books about veganism, such as “V is for Vegans”, “Vegan is Love” and “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals”. Elijah is 2 and a half years old and is now starting to love sitting down and snuggling us whilst we read him a book each evening. His absolute favourite is “V is for Vegans” as the pictures are ever so cute and I truly think he understands the message that animals are “our friends” and are not here to be eaten. Having access to books like these definitely makes vegan parenting easier as it is a great way to teach our little ones about the benefits of veganism and show our children just what a compassionate and healthy lifestyle they are living.

WHAT DOES YOUR MORNING RITUAL LOOK LIKE?

Elijah has always been an early waker so usually our mornings consist of us playing with toys until the sun comes up and then going outside in the garden to ride his bike, find bugs, and play in the sand pit. Elijah is super energetic so he just loves to be outside exploring 24/7. He usually has his breakfast at about 7.30am and that is when I get to finally sit and have my coffee.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO USE NUT MYLK BASE?

I absolutely love using the nut mylk base in homemade turmeric lattes. I simply warm a cup of Ulu Hye mylk with a tsp of turmeric, a pinch of cinnamon, ½ tsp of maca powder, a sprinkle of crushed black pepper, 1 tsp of coconut oil and 1 tsp of maple syrup. It is absolutely delicious and has so many wonderful health benefits.

WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST NOW THAT IT’S COOLER AND CAN YOU SHARE YOUR RECIPE?

We have been loving “chocolatey” overnight oats recently. I prepare them each evening by placing 2 cups of oats in a Tupperware container with 1 mashed banana, 1 tbsp of chia seeds, 1 tbsp of flaxseed meal, 1 tsp of maca powder, 1 tbsp of raw cacao, 1 tbsp of organic blackstrap molasses, 1 tsp of maple syrup and 1 cup of Ulu Hye mylk. I leave this mixture in the fridge overnight and then in the morning I gently heat the oats (adding more mylk if needed to get the desired consistency) and then serve it in a bowl with a giant dollop of natural peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and sliced banana.

If you’re not already following Family of vegans on social media, then get on board!

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