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I searched Flickr for Negotiate, this is what I got. It might feel like that sometimes! Photo by UN Climate Change

I searched Flickr for Negotiate, this is what I got. It might feel like that sometimes! Photo by UN Climate Change

True story: as I’ve been writing up these posts about vegan birthday parties I’ve been humming “who likes to rock the vegan birthday party? I like to rock the vegan birthday party!” in an homage to Flight of the Conchords. Anyway.

In today’s installment, Katrina sends her thoughts:

“In the classroom, we have an agreement with the class that all shared snacks and birthday food is vegan and peanut free. So, that’s a piece of cake. (No pun intended.)

“As for birthday parties, I always pop off an email that says, “… looking forward to coming to….birthday party. Could you please let me know what you will be serving for food in addition to cake. I will provide a vegan substitution. Also, please let me know if there will be ice cream.” Seems like I usually send a homemade vegan pizza (Trader Joe’s dough, Follow Your Heart Mozzerella & Tomato Sauce) in a pizza size tupperware container. We also keep cupcakes in the freezer. So, then those are ready in a pinch if we need one for a party. I even have a plastic cupcake caddy.

“Soy Cream only travels to 50% of the parties depending on the situation. Sometimes we can not be prepared for every situation. I have an agreement with my son that if he is at a party and the other kids get something that he doesn’t, all he has to do is tell me and we get the equivalent later…and then some. I promised him that he will always get special things too. It’s working so far and he is almost 9. ”

Thanks Katrina! I’ve got a big rambly post in my head about how the whole peanut free movement might have made things easier for vegans with children, since it’s just another rule for “responsible hosts” to follow. Thoughts?

As for the story, here are a few bits I really appreciated:

Negotiate. If your child is old enough to understand delayed gratification, try making deals like Katrina did with her son: if there’s something he’s missing out on by being vegan, make it up (and then some) shortly afterwards.

Pizza makes it easy. I like the idea of bringing a vegan pizza to a birthday party. It’s big enough that other people can get exposed to vegan food, not too weird, and usually fits in well with whatever other food is there.

Never ever forget the ice cream. When I started this series, I thought it was all about the cake, but having vegan ice cream seems second only to cupcakes, based on the responses we’ve received so far.

What’s your “go to” non-dessert food item to bring to a party? Is it pizza now? Let us know in the comments!

(Photo by UN Climate Change)


For the past while, we’ve been talking about vegan birthday party tips and tricks, but what if your child is too young for most of this to be an issue yet? That’s the position Steph’s in, but she’s getting ready for it, as she writes in:

“My guy’s too little for his own birthday parties just yet.  Though of course I worry about him, so I’ve been seeking advice.  Joanne Stepaniak‘s books always ease my mind and give me ideas about how to handle these sticky situations – usually with graciousness and respect for the other’s viewpoint and trying to be adaptable.  I’m reading Raising Vegetarian Children : A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony now.  A lot of her adivce is about making sure everyone knows the deal beforehand, so no one’s upset the day of.  I saw Colleen Patrick-Goudreau at the Veg Fair, and her advice was to give people the chance to rise to the occasion – they will often surprise you.
“For family events, I usually make the dessert, trying to incorporate family traditions: chocolate cake with chocolate icing and candies is known as “Smile Cake” around here. 
“I’ll probably end up letting the little one make his own choices about some food, but pack his own if I think there’ll be no choice and see what happens.  I worry about his tummy digesting, say, dairy for the first time and that end up being worse than whatever teasing he would have been subjected to otherwise.

Thanks Steph! While of course we’re here at Spawn Better trying to keep everyone informed, there are a lot of other great sources of advice out there.

What about you? Is there a resource that you think people need to know about? Let us know in the comments!

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Vegan birthday parties: be honest

December 15, 2009

Pippi sent in some of her stories about her six year old’s adventures with vegan birthday parties, as part of our ongoing series – there are so many great emails coming in from our Council of Vegan Parents, thanks so much! Here’s what Pippi had to say: “The short answer is that I have always […]

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Vegan birthday parties: Don’t forget the ice cream!

December 14, 2009

In today’s installment of the (extended) week of vegan birthday party tips, Dianna writes in: “As for birthdays, there’s a cluster going on right now for my four year old son.  I also tell the parents that I’ll glady bring vegan cake & ice cream for my son and myself and not to worry, since […]

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Vegan birthday parties: I want a falafel cupcake!

December 12, 2009

In today’s installment of dealing with birthday parties, Joanne wrote in with her experiences. When she’s hosting the party, it’s not much of an issue making it a vegan event. By now, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see yet another mention of cupcakes – I had no idea these things were […]

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Vegan birthday parties: be prepared!

December 9, 2009

This week we’re digging deep into the great responses from our Council of Vegan Parents to figure out the best way to deal with birthday parties – either your child’s own, or more importantly, someone else’s. A celebration with food that might not be appropriate for your child can be a big hurdle, so here’s […]

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Vegan birthday parties: "Is that vegan or cow?"

December 8, 2009

It’s birthday party week, and instead of posting a mega-response that gathers everything together, we’re spreading the fun over the week so we can really drill into the great advice from our Council of Vegan Parents. Here’s how Julie and her family have been dealing with parties for the discerning 3 and 4 year old: […]

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Vegan birthday parties: make the cake

December 7, 2009

As part of birthday party week, Amy writes in with her techniques for safely navigating invitations to non-vegan friends’ celebrations: “We always pre-eat. For my kids parties, we have decedent all vegan spreads, if people want to help and make a dip or dish, they know vegan is required. For family parties, I always offer […]

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A week (or more) of parties

December 7, 2009

We asked the Council of Vegan Parents: “I want to talk about birthday parties – either your child’s own, or when he or she goes to a friend’s house.  I’m guessing your child has non-vegan friends, so here we’ve got a celebration that usually includes food, and there’s bound to be some non-vegan stuff.  How […]

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