As I was cutting into a cantaloupe the other day (I bet you can’t wait to hear what I say next), I had a funny thought: I am so glad summer is here.
And I don’t mean I’m glad summer is here because I like summer. Heavens, no! I hate heat in general, I dislike wearing clothing that shows more of my mama body than I deem necessary, and I fear the sun because of all of the moles and skin spots and grossness that happens to skin when it sees the sun after you turn 35. (I’m halfway through 40 to be perfectly honest.)
So why do I love summer? Because of the fruit.
And I don’t mean I love summer fruit so much because it’s so delicious. I mean, it is; but that’s not why I love it being around.
You see, I’m vegan and my kids are vegan and being vegan has its challenges despite all of the health and lifestyle benefits as well as the positive aspects of raising children who are ethically and morally connected to their meals in the way we choose to be.
Snack time can be hard, as can breakfast time. Why? Well, when you might give your kid a yogurt squeezie pouch thing or a string cheese for a snack, I have to find ways to provide those doses of snacks without dairy. And when you might make eggs for your kid for breakfast or bacon or sausage of some sort, I have to find breakfast options without those staples.
That’s why when summer rolls around, I know that nutrient intake for my kids—and yours too—is at an all time high. Why? The more colorful your plate, the more variety of nutrients, right? Eating a rainbow of foods—literally—is so good for your health.
The challenges of being a vegan mom are less daunting in the summer because the more fruit available, the easier it is to make snack time fun time! Cutting open a melon or putting out a bowl of fresh berries is my kids’ idea of a good snack. It’s easy, it’s convenient, and because they know that fruit spoils if you don’t eat it, I simply remind them that since the fruit is going to spoil if we don’t eat it, that’s enough to get them to go ahead and dive in!
Little Man, who is almost 8, either wants to eat only fruit or only potato chips and French fries on any given day. There is no in between for him, and in the summer, Little Man lives for a cantaloupe cut into tiny squares. Stone fruits are such a good thing for our family to have on hand, because once the flesh is gone, FirstBorn and I can spend a healthy hour working on the pit. (He inherited this possibly gross but super fun habit from me; when I met my Israeli cousins for the first time when I was 16, I was so tickled to see that a few of them also share this habit—we got it from our moms!)
As for how breakfast is easier in the summer? Because of the abundance of fruit options, here’s how I make my favorite rainbow smoothie for breakfast:
Orange: oranges or frozen mango or papaya (the fresh tends to be very expensive!)
Yellow: banana or pineapple
Green: a handful of fresh spinach or kale (no one will be able to tell, trust me)
I throw in a few spoonfuls of nut butter (I like almond) and a splash of rice milk (or even just water) and we are in business.
Happy summer, whether you get joy from the sun, the skimpy clothes that are trending right now, or the simple pleasure of a cantaloupe cut into tiny squares!