The Planted Expo was earlier this month! They gathered leading voices in the culinary, scientific and fitness world to speak on the importance of plant-based choices. These insightful, informative, and inspirational speakers were at the Planted Expo alongside 200 plant-based edible and lifestyle businesses.
One of the people at the expo was Carleigh Bodrug of PlantYou. With more than 3 million followers between her social channels (IG, Tiktok, FB), Carleigh is a New York Times Bestselling cookbook author and plant-based content creator, famous for her simple take on low waste and vegan recipes. She has been featured in the Rachael Ray Show, Good Morning America, Business Insider and KTLA news for her “scrappy cooking” and viral vegan creations. Along with producing weekly cooking videos and recipes, Carleigh also runs a digital meal planner and hosts a podcast called the PlantPod, all with the goal of helping people eat more plants in an easy and approachable way.
We have asked Carleigh some questions about getting younger kids excited about plant-based foods.
What are some tips for cooking plant-based meals for the younger folks in your family?
One of my biggest tips for parents who are trying to integrate more plant-based meals into their kids’ diets is to work off of what their children already love. For example, if mac n’ cheese is their favorite food, try serving up a vegan version with a cheez sauce made from potatoes and cashews instead. The same goes for something like chicken fingers, which can easily be emulated with tofu.
Involving your child in the cooking and preparation process can be another way to stimulate interest in the plant-based food you are serving. Allow them to scoop some muffin batter into the tin, or help you assemble a burrito bowl.
Most importantly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your kid. Getting children to eat their vegetables can be hard to begin with, and this should be a fun enjoyable experience to eat a more plant-forward diet!
How can you add more plant-based snacks that are healthy?
Simplicity is the key to delicious plant-based snacks, and nature truly provides in this circumstance!
I love to keep things simple, by snacking on fruit or veggies paired with a healthy fat. Think bananas and peanut butter or tahini, coconut yogurt and raspberries, or the classic ants on a log of celery, a nut butter of choice and raisins.
Dried fruit is also a really satisfying calorically dense snack that can help keep your kid energized, including raisins, dried banana chips, strawberries, and more.
What are your favourite 2 recipes for families with children that are plant-based?
I love this nut-free vegan mac and cheese which is reminiscent of your favorite boxed mac n cheese, without the dairy! : https://plantyou.com/vegan-mac-and-cheese-without-cashews-wfpb-oil-free/
These easy one-pot sloppy joes are a quick, nourishing and protein-packed weeknight meal the whole family will love: https://plantyou.com/vegan-sloppy-joes/
Why should parents consider adding plant-based meal and snack options to their child’s diet?
Whether you’re wanting to pursue a fully plant-based diet, or simply integrate some more plant-based meals into your family’s weekly rotation, we can all agree that eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a positive thing for both our health and our children’s health. This is further reinforced by Canada’s Food Guide, which recommends that Canadians eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods, and protein foods, including choosing protein foods that come from plants more often.
Carleigh will be speaking this weekend at the Planted Expo. Visit the full speaker schedule for the Planted Expo and see the list of vendors attending the two-day event. Planted Expo Vancouver runs Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, 1055 Canada Place. Tickets for Planted Expo are available via Showpass, prices are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors. Admission is free for children.
Planted Life holds deeply held values around health, well-being, and compassion, aiming to make a difference and further the plant-based movement. As Canada’s largest plant-based event, Planted Expo is a place to come together, celebrate, and explore plant-based living. Wherever you are on your plant-based journey, whether you want to live a healthier lifestyle, are passionate about animal welfare, or want to reduce your environmental impact, there is something for you. Planted is growing and expanding. Hosting the upcoming 8th Expo in Vancouver, June 4 & 5, 2022.