Katy Beskow gives us the do's and don't for getting your kids to maintain a healthy vegan diet.
Katy Beskow is an author, food writer, cookery tutor, and recipe developer. In this Q&A, on behalf of Holland & Barrett, she discusses everything from how to swap your unhealthy takeaways for their vegan namesakes, to her top tips for getting your kids to eat plant-based…
What are fridge and cupboard essentials for a vegan diet?
It’s important to have a few basic ingredients in the cupboard and fridge, for rustling up a balanced meal. I always keep a supply of canned chickpeas and lentils; chopped tomatoes, dried spices, coconut oil, oat milk and chia seeds.
What are the best child-friendly, nutritious and affordable vegan foods to feed your kids?
Kids just love homemade houmous or guacamole with vegetable and wholemeal pitta dippers, which make a quick snack that can be prepared ahead. Get children involved in making dinner, and have a healthy and balanced attitude towards food and mealtimes.
Is it important to take supplements as part of a vegan diet?
Many processed vegan foods such as non-dairy yoghurts, breakfast cereals and plant milks are fortified with nutrients including essential B12. It can be beneficial to take a daily multivitamin to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
What are chia seeds and why do so many vegans eat them?
Chia seeds are nutrient-rich, with high levels of protein, fibre, calcium and unsaturated fats. They’re also really filling, as well as being easy to use. Try them sprinkled over a salad, soaked overnight in oat milk, or baked into bread.
What is your go-to mid-week easy/affordable ’15 minute’ dinner?
Satay stir fry is my go-to midweek meal, which is ready in under 15 minutes. Whisk up a quick satay sauce with peanut butter, chilli flakes and soy sauce and pour over your favourite stir-fried vegetables. Finish with chopped coriander, spring onions and chopped roasted peanuts.
Research shows that many more people went vegan over lockdown, what three top tips would you give to people just starting out on their plant-based journey?
- Switch dairy milk to a plant-based alternative. Choose from oat, coconut, soya, almond, hemp or even macadamia!
- Recreate your favourite meals as vegan. Think creamy curries using coconut milk, kebabs with jackfruit, and pizza with vegan cheese
- Enjoy the wide variety of vegan menus and options now available at chain and independent restaurants.
What are the biggest myths associated with veganism?
Vegan food is often associated with long cooking time and lengthy preparations, as well as being expensive. Choose versatile, quick cook ingredients such as chickpeas, spinach and soft fruits that are easy to prepare. Cooking from scratch is far cheaper than using many processed foods!
What are your top tips for creating vegan fakeaways that taste as good as the real deal at home?
Save money, single-use plastic and waiting time, by creating your own fakeaway at home! Recreate your favourite takeaway classics and know exactly what goes into them. I’ve shared all my tips in my latest book Vegan Fakeaway (Quadrille Publishing £15) which is out now.
What are the best vegan foods to eat as part of a fitness routine to ensure you’re getting enough protein?
I try to get a good balance of carbohydrates and plant protein to help with my fitness routine. I love to throw protein-rich edamame beans onto a salad, snack on almonds and add a spoonful of peanut butter to smoothies.
What are your top three tasty healthy, vegan breakfast ideas?
- Roasted tomatoes on toasted sourdough
- Overnight oats
- Warm blueberries with maple and lemon, served with coconut yoghurt.
The NHS ‘Better Health’ guidelines outline we should be getting more fibre into our diets. What are the best vegan fibre sources – and what’s your go-to high fibre meal?
Opt for wholegrain rice and bread, or choose quinoa or spelt as a high-fibre side dish. I enjoy an Italian cannellini and pearl barley stew, with a side of olives and some wholegrain bread, for dipping.
Try some of Katy’s delicious recipes: