The following recipes are healthier versions of some favorite dishes — of kids and adults alike. Even if you don’t have a gluten intolerance or classify yourself as a vegan, you can try these on a “Meatless Monday” night, or any time you’re just looking to try something new and healthy. Leaving out the animal products is an easy way to cut out some acid-forming foods as well as potential GMOs and unhealthy fats. Leaving out gluten helps minimize slow digestion and allergic reactions that are becoming more and more common with the highly processed wheat people are consuming these days.

1. Pizza

My daughter says this is better than “real pizza,” and she’s not even a gluten-free vegan! Start with a gluten-free crust like the rice crust they sell at Whole Foods. Top with your favorite tomato sauce, or my favorite, vegan pesto. Top with a non-casein vegan cheese like Daiya or Follow Your Heart. Many non-dairy cheeses use this milk protein making it non-vegan, so read labels! Add your own favorite toppings. My favorites are artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-13 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Enjoy!

2. Mac ‘N’ Cheese

You’ll be surprised how satisfying this healthier alternative is! Use a gluten free pasta like quinoa or brown rice. Choose a fun shape that will hold the cheese. Cook the pasta according to directions, then mix in a package of non-casein vegan cheese like Daiya or Follow Your Heart. You can add a splash of almond or soy milk to make it creamier if desired. Add herbs or black pepper to taste. I like Braggs “sprinkle” which is a blend of 24 different organic herbs and makes everything taste better!

3. Green Giant Smoothie

Fast and easy! In a blender, mix 1 frozen banana, a cup of frozen grapes, and a cup of spinach. This recipe will taste sweet enough to please the kids, while giving them great fiber and nutrition from the greens and fruit.  Play on the green giant theme by explaining that drinking this will make them big and strong like a giant! Try to get them to taste it with their eyes closed before they see it! Over time tyy adding more greens and see how much of those you can sneal in!

4. Quesadilla

I use sprouted corn tortillas for this recipe. You can also use nopal cactus tortillas, brown rice tortillas or whatever creative option your local health food store offers. Just avoid the wheat ones to make this recipe gluten-free, and if you are using corn make sure it’s organic and GMO-free. In a frying pan on medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Heat a tortilla on one side until softened, then flip it over. Add 2-3 tablespoons of a non-casein vegan cheese like Daiya or Follow Your Heart onto one half of the tortilla. Flip the remaining half on top. Flip occasionally and heat until cheese is melted. Cut in thirds to make finger food size pieces, and serve with guacamole and salsa for a nutritious yummy meal kids are sure to enjoy!

5. Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding

What kid doesn’t love chocolate pudding? This recipe includes two of my favorite superfoods, hemp and avocados, making this a nutritional powerhouse as well as a delicious treat. For a sugar free version, use stevia and you have a low glycemic recipe that kids will love and diabetics can enjoy as well!

Bon appetite! ~

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