Beach Day with Littles!

Going to the beach is a fun day for the whole family.  The Littles have a great time exploring new textures, hearing new sounds, and seeing new sights.  It will certainly wear them out for their next nap!

If you are going to the beach with a baby (not walking yet) the goal of the day is to keep them entertained in the shade.  For the toddlers, you have the same goal, but add in water-safety.  Toddlers can make their way to the ocean in a blink of an eye, so always be on alert!

Eating vegan at the beach may seem hard at first, but it is actually extremely easy- especially when eating healthfully.  Be sure to keep yourself and the Littles well hydrated.  For babies older than 9 months, water is a great supplement to formula or breast milk.  Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water- so load up!  Avoiding salty snacks or caffeinated drinks will help slow dehydration. Below you will find a list of our favorite beach day snacks.  


Snack List:

pouches

Found on Thrive Market

  1. Organic Vegan food pouches- We especially like unsweetened applesauce for the Littles.  Once they enjoy combination flavors- there are so many options for delicious organic vegan food pouches.  You can also make your own!
  2. Fruit!  Oranges, bananas, grapes (not for the four-legged family members), apples, pears, mango, the list goes on.  For convenience sake- we prefer bananas and oranges- easier fruits that don’t require a knife.
  3. Hummus and Veggies– celery, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, etc.  Depending on how the age of your Little, the veggies may need to be steamed in advance.
  4. WATER!  Depending on the beach, you may have access to clean, fresh, drinking water, but if not- bring a lot of water!  We prefer to bring a gallon of drinking water to refill bottles and a gallon of tap water to wash hands prior to eating.
  5. Coconut water.  If your family is prone to dehydration, coconut water is your answer.  I’ll spare you the boring details, but its electrolyte balance makes it ideal for quick hydration.
  6. Nuts.  Almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.  All are great sources of protein and omega-3.  I recommend finding the unsalted variety.  Nuts are a choking hazard for kids under the age of 2 years.  As long as your Little doesn’t have a nut allergy, almond butter or other nut butter packets are great snacks.  However, the consistency of the butters can be very hard for babies to swallow.  For the babies, nut butters should be diluted to a sauce consistency for easier swallowing.
  7. Dried Fruits.  For the adults or older Littles, I am a huge fan of dried mango, dried apricots, etc.  While eating a whole fruit is ideal, the convenience of dried fruit is great for the beach!


Thrive Market


IMG_4974Sun protection!  Sunscreen, rash guards, UV protective hats, umbrellas, beach tents- these items are musts for a beach trip.  No matter how long the sun exposure, everyone should be wearing sunscreen.  Be sure to ask your doctor at what age they recommend babies start wearing sunscreen.  In regards to UV protective hats- always read the labels.  Surprisingly, not all are intended for UV protection.  The label should clearly state UV protection or SPF 50+.  Consider buying brightly colored rash guards, bathing suits, or UV protective hats for the Littles.  This way you can easily spot them on the beach or in the water.

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Raising Vegan Tip– My favorite sunscreens are zinc oxide based.  Zinc oxide is a mineral and sits on the surface of your skin.  It acts as a barrier reflecting and absorbing the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.  It is also used to treat skin abrasions, diaper rash, and chapped skin.  Bonus!

Sometimes the amount of gear needed to go to the beach can seem overwhelming.  Keeping the essentials (shade, water, snacks, diapers) in mind- try to pack light.  Below is a list of a few of our favorites. Click on the affiliate-linked pictures for quick purchasing.  

Beach Gear:

Our favorite sunscreen for Littles:

Best Beach Tent- Fits 2 adults and 2 Littles and is very easy to set up and break down.  I especially love the built-in sand bags so it doesn’t fly away!

Great Beach Mat that allows sand to fall through it when packing.  We also like beach mats since the surface of this mat can be rough for crawlers.

UV protective hats are a must!

Great toys to keep Littles occupied.

A tub at the beach?  Yes!  Fill it up with ocean water and let the Littles splash and play.  Also keeps the Littles cool.  Always supervise!

Beach wagon!  Any variety with all-terrain wheels will work great for hauling gear or Littles!

Women’s rash guard- Don’t forget to protect yourself!


Veganism Made Easy

Just as there are many reasons to live a vegan lifestyle, there are many ways to obtain this lifestyle.  Some people may be needing an immediate health-correct, in which case, switching to a whole foods plant-based diet would be indicated.  Others may also want the health benefits, but are not facing an imminent health crisis and can make the transition to a whole foods plant-based diet more gradually.  Based on Veganuary.com, the motivation for many people to become vegan is multifactorial: wanting to stop animal cruelty, lower the environmental impact of their diet choices, and improve their health.   I mention these scenarios as a preface to me proposing stages of veganism.  Hear me out.

For those who have been raised on meat and dairy products, the thought of quitting those foods up may be hard.  It may even seem impossible.  Despite knowing that the evidence and science supports their decision, it can be an internal struggle of self-doubt.  Many are faced with loved ones questioning their decision while being surrounded by ads for enticing meat and dairy products.  They many experience fear of cravings or failure.

This is why I am proposing stages.  Initially, when transitioning to a vegan diet, I recommend utilizing the vast array of products designed to mimic meat and dairy.  The food science has exponentially grown over the past 10 years.  Now you can find vegan burger patties that are juicy and sizzle in the pan (i.e. Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger).  You can find vegan cheeses that slice, dice, and melt, just like the real thing, but without the terrifying hormones and saturated fats.  The use of these items helps quiet the cravings and helps the initial feel of isolation from your omnivore loved ones.  Bring the Beyond Meat patties to a BBQ or offer a dairy-free cheese spread at your next party.  These are nice, easy ways to step into the vegan lifestyle.  The key is to incorporate these meat and dairy substitutes into a well rounded vegan diet, which is comprised of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans.

round logo Raising Vegan Tip- Beware of products packaged as dairy-free or lactose-free but are not actually vegan.  How is this possible?  Casein.  Casein is a milk protein that slips into seemingly healthy products but it is in fact milk.  Go Veggie is one brand that comes to mind that offers lactose-free (NOT vegan) and vegan products.  Be sure to ALWAYS read the ingredients.  


Stage 1 Meat Substitutes Dairy Alternatives
Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, and Beans, Supplemented with Processed Foods Gardein, Quorn*, Beyond Meat, Carla Lee’s Nut, Tofurky, Field Roast, Morning Star*, Lightlife Chao Creamery, Silk, Follow Your Heart, Go Veggie*, Just Mayo, Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozarella, Tofutti, Daiya, So Delicious, Miyoko’s
Stage 2
Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, and Beans, Supplemented with LESS Processed Foods Upton’s Naturals, Sweet Earth Natural Foods, Trader Joe’s 3-grain tempeh Some from above, nutritional yeast, nut cheeses
Stage 3
Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, and Beans, Supplemented with FEW to NO Processed Foods Tofu, Seitan, Tempeh, Miso paste, Mushrooms, Jackfruit, Lentils, Beans Nutritional yeast, homemade nut cheese, tofu ricotta, etc

*Not all Brands are strictly vegan

**There are more brands than shown here.


It is amazing to me how the senses, especially taste and smell, change with a diet change.  After just a few months of quitting meat and dairy, vegetables and fruits are more favorable.  Even plain tofu tastes good, which I commonly serve to our Little.  My husband and I were preparing a Beyond Meat burger the other day, and we were astonished by the resemblance of a beef patty.  Flashback to when we first quit meat and we would have been thrilled.  But, now the fake flesh was no longer appetizing.  The smell and the way it sizzled was also a perfect replica of a burger cooking.  Again, this would have been very enticing long ago, but now not so much.  Our bodies crave different foods and feel better when they receive what they were designed to digest.  I proudly support the mimicking fake meats, because they are great transitional foods.  There are certainly plenty of veteran vegans that also enjoy them- so well done Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger!


Cruelty-free “Egg” Decorating

Our family LOVES to get creative for Easter and make “Egg People”.  A tradition that started in 2009 and continues to be a creative outlet for both adults and kids!  By using a variety of egg substitutes, Egg People are cruelty-free.

 

There are plenty of cruelty-free options for egg substitutes: plastic, paper mache, ceramic, wooden, or even river rocks.  The ceramic eggs (eggnots) dye nicely and will give the same texture/feel as a real egg.  These egg alternatives are also perfect if the Little has an egg allergy.  Several egg alternative products can be re-used several times.

round logo Raising Vegan Tip- Most glues are made with animal products, such as gelatin.  The good news is that Hot Glue Sticks are VEGAN because they are made from thermoplastics.  

Start by finding anything and everything that can be hot-glued to your cruelty-free egg.  Dye or paint your egg substitute and let the creativity begin!  There are an array of natural egg dying kits on the market, which work really well.  Another option is to make your own dyes from veggies. Use turmeric for yellow eggs, red cabbage for blue, beets for pink, and so on.   The timing and amount of dying will determine the intensity of color, so the possibilities are endless!

Here are some products to kick-start the fun!  Each picture is an affiliate link.