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Vegan baby going to daycare soon

What should I start doing to prepare the daycare that my daughter will be going to in August. I have already toured there and the people seem really nice. The price of the daycare includes food and drink. We went during snack time and they were eating cookies and drinking juice. Should I start talking to them now about what she is to eat. I will bring her own food and water. The woman in charge said that they sometimes go on field trips to the park and stop at McDonald's on the way back. She is NOT to eat McDonald's. I guess on those days she would have to have a packed meal. Am I making her into an outcast already if she is eating differently that the other children.?

speaking as being 'one of those kids'.....yes, she will, more than likely, be considered different/weird by her classmates. The only thing you can do is talk to her and tell her why you eat the way you do and work on how to deal with various situations as they may arise.....Plus making her *special* meals exactly that! *Special*!! Make it look pretty/include a big cupcake/muffin that'll make her the envy of her classmates.

One of my elementary school friend's mother would look forward to long breaks/vacations, because it meant that he wouldn't be asking for all that 'weird' food I'd share with him at lunch!!!  8-) (I've never even been a *real* vegetarian....I've always been pescatarian)

There are several veg*n moms on this board....I'm sure they'll chime in as well.

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If the daycare knows about veganism, you're probably good just telling them a few times, but if not, you may want to put them down as allergies...My daughter started preschool this year, and we bring her own snack everyday(everyone brings a lunch). If she can eat the snack, they give it to her, if not, they dig around in her lunchbox for her snack. Today everyone else had waffles with blueberries, she had blueberries and an apple cinnamon rice cake. She hasn't complained yet about feeling weird, but I'm sure that will come in elementary. I did, however, tell them that if there was a party with treats, she could have it, too. I know other parents that asked for advance notice, and sent a vegan treat along that day. They let us keep a soymilk in the fridge for days they have milk. I know there have been times she has eaten non-vegan food, but we explain to her that some people(like her grandparents) eat animals, and some don't. We don't. She knows she is "beegan", and asks the teacher if they're eating cow cheese, etc. That was a ramble, sorry.

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Everyone has given great suggestions so far! ;)b

My daughter is now 6, and has been vegan since birth (conception actually!) and we have always had good luck with schools and daycare. Here is what I've learned so far (some of which others have said also!):

*Provide them with staples to keep in the fridge that will be similar to what other kids use (nondairy milk, cheese, etc.)
*Pack them enviable lunches
*Make them aware of why they eat the way they do so that they don't want to eat animal products
*Have a good relationship and understanding with the care providers. Be really nice to them, and they will want to cooperate!!

My daughter hasn't felt like an outcast yet, and I know what that's like because I had really boring, "healthy" lunches for a period of time as a child and felt really bad about it! But she gets the bomb, really great snacks and foods that she loves so she doesn't feel deprived at all. Her favorite snacks in lunches are:

*spicy nori strips (packaged, seasoned nori pieces--all the kids love them)
*O'Soy mini-soy yogurts
*homemade fruit roll-ups (or packaged fruit leathers)
*little packages of healthy snacks (ok, semi-healthy) such as Tings, tortilla chips, etc.
*apples with peanut butter-maple dip
*rainbow pb & j (bread with peanut butter, jam, and a rainbow of fruits on top
*fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce

OK, that's about it for now...my book also has a lot of great kid snacks, but I am all out. My 2nd edition will be ready in mid-June.
Hope that helped a little! :)

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Where do you get the spicy nori strips, Quintess? I'm sure my daughter would love that, but I've never seen it.

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nm pixie, I get the spicy nori strips at the health food store--they all carry them. The Vitamin Cottage sells two different brands! To me, they taste just like regular nori, but the kids say they can tell the difference.
My daughter wants to choose a smiley face for everyone, so this is from her: :)>>>

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I will look for them next time I go to Vitamin Cottage. Thanks, quintess!!

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Most welcome! :)
Every single kid I know loves them! What a great snack, compared to the junk most kids eat!

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That helps alot. Thank you for the ideas. I j ust did not want to make her more of a target than she needs to be. She is the only child of color in our town. I have already been experimenting with great recipes for her from this site. I am trying to get this stuff together by August so that she will have all the "cool" foods that the other children have. I love the idea of putting things down as an allergy. I am not sure though if I would have to have a doctors note for that to be in her file or something. I will see if I can get a weekly menu ahead of time to keep her in step with the other children. Thank you all for your wonderful ideas. It helps alot!

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the vegan lunchbox blog/cook book might be a good place to look if you need ideas. she has a lot of fun ideas that aren't too hard to toss together.

one of my favorite and fun things i've seen for kids is to use cookie cutters to make everything into fun shapes. they also do menus that "copy" things that other kids will bring (like a lunchable but use vegan crackers, vegan cheese slices, vegan lunch meats). but i bet if your daughter likes a lot of foods, all kinds of "stackable" combination could be put together. or things that can be dipped are always fun - salsa, hummus, nut butters, tofu spreads, etc

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I'd def. look into the allergy/intolerance thang....If you do need a dr's note and the dr isn't comfortable saying your daughter has an 'allergy' to xyz, simply ask them to change the wording to intolerance, because that is what it truly is. If your daughter has been reared veg*n, then her body doesn't produce the enzymes necessary to digest/tolerate animal derived foods. Signs of digestive intolerance: nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea....all not fun. Also consider whether or not it is okay for her to eat baked goods w/ eggs dairy....something to think about when having 'cookies' or even crackers that'll probably have lard or butter in them. You need to decide where to draw the line, and be insistent on it once you've defined it. If you need/want help in wording a letter/contract clearly stating what she is to/can eat and how you expect them to meet your expectations (ie reading labels, etc), I'd be more than happy to help you with it!! (The reason I use 'contract' is that I think it would be in your best interest to have the daycare director AND primary teacher sign and date it upon receipt of it, and you keeping a copy of it (w/ signatures) as well, just in case their copy 'happens to be missing'....) I specialize in modifying recipes for 'special needs' diets and educating hospitality/service industry folks on how to treat/prepare dishes for such things, and know what to look out for.

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Oooh, one thing that has been awesome for us is these crackers http://ecoheavenllc.com/Eco-Planet/Eco-Planet_Home.html
the non-dairy cheddar ones. Everyone always has those damned goldfish crackers in their lunches, and this way my daughter has "cheese" crackers, too. She looooves them.

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My son always had a different snack...and it just became part of the day. He would come home and tell me what "his kids" ate, and they would go home and tell their moms what Noah ate for snack (the moms told me). It was just part of the ritual. I think in a way he felt special. He was really little then. Now that he's 8, he is used to it and doesn't mind missing out on stuff. I have a box of vegan gummie bears for him at school for him to have on birthday cupcake day. I have also learned to pick my battles and try to look at the big picture. Sometimes at parties he eats the regular cake. I would rather him have a bit of cake than turn him off completely to Veg*nism. I've seen that happen before. Good luck! The hard part is when they are really little and don't understand. Once they can start speaking for themselves it gets so much easier!

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I have also learned to pick my battles and try to look at the big picture. Sometimes at parties he eats the regular cake. I would rather him have a bit of cake than turn him off completely to Veg*nism. I've seen that happen before. Good luck! The hard part is when they are really little and don't understand. Once they can start speaking for themselves it gets so much easier!

I agree. Although for many years I never allowed my daughter to partake at parties, etc., I've softened my stance for the exact same reasons. Too many people end up going to the other extreme when they get turned off to veganism. I'd rather she stay a 99.5% vegan for life than be a 100% vegan for a few years and then rebel! This way, she LOVES being a vegan and never feels deprived. Although I don't like to let little things slip on a daily basis, birthday parties, etc. are an exception for her.  :)

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I remember at birthday parties where I wasn't to have any cake, I would wait until the other kids finished eating and went out to play, and then I would eat all their leftover cake pieces while nobody was looking. Haha. I grew out of it as I gained a better understanding, don't worry.

As your kid gets older, explain in more and more detail why you don't eat animals. As a child, I felt left out sometimes but my friends always seemed interested when I told them about how farm animals are treated. It's stuff many kids don't hear from their parents. They may not even know where meat comes from.

On another note:

I can't believe the preschool takes the kids to McDonalds! THat is an outrage, I am suprised the other parents find this acceptable.

I was on the road once and got delayed for an extra day. I didn't have any dog food with me so I bought my dog a junior hamburger there...it was like a soggy congealed food-lump. I couldn't believe it! It was so much worse than I had imagined, I felt terrible even feeding it to my dog. I can't imagine feeding that to a human, let alone a child who doesn't know better.

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I have also learned to pick my battles and try to look at the big picture. Sometimes at parties he eats the regular cake. I would rather him have a bit of cake than turn him off completely to Veg*nism. I've seen that happen before. Good luck! The hard part is when they are really little and don't understand. Once they can start speaking for themselves it gets so much easier!

I agree. Although for many years I never allowed my daughter to partake at parties, etc., I've softened my stance for the exact same reasons. Too many people end up going to the other extreme when they get turned off to veganism. I'd rather she stay a 99.5% vegan for life than be a 100% vegan for a few years and then rebel! This way, she LOVES being a vegan and never feels deprived. Although I don't like to let little things slip on a daily basis, birthday parties, etc. are an exception for her.  :)

YES!  Thank you so much Quintess. I am glad you understand and feel the same way. I was really thinking I might get flamed for this. I always figured everyone else stood their ground, even at parties.....I'm glad I'm not alone! I'm also glad we don't get invited to that many bday parties!  ;)b

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YES!  Thank you so much Quintess. I am glad you understand and feel the same way. I was really thinking I might get flamed for this. I always figured everyone else stood their ground, even at parties.....I'm glad I'm not alone! I'm also glad we don't get invited to that many bday parties!  ;)b

Yes, I was actually glad to read your post and see that I wasn't the only one either!  :)

At parties, at least the ice cream can be vegan--our friends are usually pretty thoughtful about providing nondairy ice cream, but the cake is usually never vegan (unless I make it, and I just can't provide cake for all occasions anymore!!). I think the big picture really works though. My daughter loves being vegan, understands and agrees wih it, and doesn't feel pressured by it.

I also think more (all?) kids would want to be vegan if they really knew the facts!

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I have also learned to pick my battles and try to look at the big picture. Sometimes at parties he eats the regular cake. I would rather him have a bit of cake than turn him off completely to Veg*nism. I've seen that happen before. Good luck! The hard part is when they are really little and don't understand. Once they can start speaking for themselves it gets so much easier!

I agree. Although for many years I never allowed my daughter to partake at parties, etc., I've softened my stance for the exact same reasons. Too many people end up going to the other extreme when they get turned off to veganism. I'd rather she stay a 99.5% vegan for life than be a 100% vegan for a few years and then rebel! This way, she LOVES being a vegan and never feels deprived. Although I don't like to let little things slip on a daily basis, birthday parties, etc. are an exception for her.  :)

YES!  Thank you so much Quintess. I am glad you understand and feel the same way. I was really thinking I might get flamed for this. I always figured everyone else stood their ground, even at parties.....I'm glad I'm not alone! I'm also glad we don't get invited to that many bday parties!  ;)b

We do the same as far as birthday parties at school. I always try to feed her right before we go to a friend's house, and I always have snacks in my purse, but dried fruit CANNOT compete with cake. I don't want her to have a weird relationship with food and gorge on non-vegan cake in high school, or something.

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hey, kudos to everyone. honestly. you rule.
i was having a debate with my vegan friend about whether or not to raise my kid (that an IF i ever have one) vegan. my friend being vegan actually strongly disagrees w/ the idea of raising a child vegan. he brought up health issues/concerns and told me about a girl he knew who was raised vegan who ended up having a lot of health issues later on in life (think high school and a bit older). My thinking was that i'm vegan, so i'm going to raise my child vegan and make sure i supplement everything they need so they wouldn't have health issues, ect. i would allow them to choose when they got older (after making sure they understood why i am vegan and why they are vegan now) and hope they would choose at least being vegetarian. But i am a little different (i practice paganism/love for earth) and so they would also be raised in that manner and allowed to choose when the time was right (i figure depending how intellegent and independent they would be, any time from 10-13 years old).

i am soooooo happy to see a community of people raising their children vegan. more power to you!! i guess i never realised (living in des moines, iowa w/ very VERY little vegan community) there are people who really do that. never give up. be strong and know that you are diong the best thing you can for this lovely earth and yourselves. ah! i am soooo happy right now. be strong. you can do it.

;)b :)>>>

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So this is an old post, but I just came across it and can not help but post, why? Because it made me so happy I about cried! No really...okay my emotions are on edge thanks to Raigen starting school outside of our home for the first time last week, but that isn't the only reason! :P

Raigen is her schools very first Vegan, and she could very well be the worlds ONLY Vegan for all this town knows!
We of course were very very nervous, even omni dad was biting his nails as I explained to them "what we are" and what that means.
How did it go?
Here's a run down of the convo.

Me: "We're Vegan, so, snack time and parties and such may be rough at first for everyone, both your staff and us as we get used to new situations together"

Them: "Oh no problem, our snacks and such have no meat in them."

Me: "Well that is true, but it says here that you're serving ranch dressing one day, cookies another, pudding another, mixed cereal and so on, we don't eat the animal based version of those products"

Them: *stars*

Me: "We have Vegan options for EVERYTHING and no we don't go with out anything you do, we eat burgers, "ribs," mac and chreese, pudding, ice-cream, "chicken" nuggets and so on, just Vegan forms"

So yea, it was rough, ha, and I was a nervous wreck!

It's only week two now, they've been good about providing me with the menu for the week ahead of time so I match vegan versions of their snacks so Raigen doesn't feel left out, granted I don't think that happens at this age, or really to every child.
They do carrots and ranch dressing, I sub baby organic carrots and penut butter since she hates all faux ranch like dressings.
They did fruit-loops and we did a fun kids cereal also, granted someone needs to please come up with a vegan fruit loop cereal please!
We also do the little vegan chocolate oreo type cookies, yesterday she said "Mom, you packed the same cookies as they had!" She didn't even notice :P

I do need to talk with them about something that is really bugging me though, they reward with sweets.
She did her homework lastnight and I was greeted with over an ounce of milk-chocolate in her folder, of course she screamed about it the minute I walked in, not knowing it wasn't vegan, she has a protein allergy toward cows milk, which really helps, she's never been into heavy cows milk based items thank god, but chocolate, vegan chocolate she loves, but of course all the mainstream crap is usually milk based and non-vegan sugared up etc.
Any how, I'm worried about the treats and all that, we all have learned by now not to reward or punish with food, next thing you know she'll be the taller thinner version of her mother who was raised to celebrate with food, cry with food, etc etc! Sucks, I'm still fighting with that!

Any how, I loved that a lot of you let your children be "normal" when they want to.
We're very much child-led and Raigen is very much aware of what is Vegan and what isn't, I let her know what isn't and why and let her decide how that makes her feel and if it's honestly worth it. 99.9% of the time she turns down whatever it is, even if she's a bit hungry etc. Which is awesome.
Of course there are other times, either she just wants something or is sadly misinformed and will eat whatever it is.

An aid there told her a cookie the class was having was vegan when Raigen asked if it was, it was not of course, poor Raigen worried all night and day about it finally asking me to talk to them about it when we were driving to school the following morning!

So yea, I love that others are letting their children make up their own minds, in the end they are their own person and we're just here to make sure they stay informed and become the best versions of themselves possible, obviously no one wants bad memories and angst surrounding food and childhood, thank you all for helping me sleep better at night, ugh gosh I've been feeling a bit guilty about her treats here and there!

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