Posts Tagged ‘Christchurch’

Help! My teenager wants to go vegan

Monday, January 25th, 2021

You want to be … what!?!

If you’re a family of meat-eaters, the announcement may come as a bit of a shock. Your first reaction might be concern: ‘what do vegans eat?’ and ‘is a vegan diet healthy?’ You might be tempted to dismiss it as ‘just a teenage fad’.

Among good company

The reality, however, is that while meat-free diets are growing in popularity right now, it’s actually a dietary choice that’s been around for centuries. From Pythagoras (the Greek mathematician who lived more than 2,500 years ago), to the artist Leonardo da Vinci to Albert Einstein, who adopted a vegetarian diet later in life, announcing that 

“nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution of a vegetarian diet.”

There are plenty of highly respected people – not just Hollywood celebrities! – who advocate going meat-free. 

Health benefits

Veganism takes a vegetarian diet one step further, removing other animal products such as dairy and eggs from the equation. In an era when the environmental effects of dairy farming, for example, are becoming more well-known, it’s not surprising that the vegan lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular. We want the best for our kids – and that includes their health. With 1.2 million New Zealand adults (32%) being obese (figure from the Ministry of Health New Zealand Health Survey 2016/17), and with both the Ministry of Health and the Heart Foundation recommending an emphasis on plant-based sources of protein, there is plenty of evidence that a plant-based diet is a healthy option.

It’s not just about subtraction

It’s not simply a matter of cutting meat and other animal products out of the diet. A plant-based meal plan still needs to include the necessary food groups – for example, replace animal-derived protein with plant-based alternatives, such as legumes (dried peas, beans and lentils), nuts, soy products (such as tofu and tempeh) and certain grains and seeds. All of these alternatives are easy to find in your local supermarket. They’re also easy to prepare. It will just take a little bit of research and forward-planning to become familiar with all the new options after a lifetime of cooking to accommodate meat-eaters!

Make life easier

Subscribing to a plant-based delivery service like Green Dinner Table can make life easier. You’ll get a weekly menu of vegan dishes, recipes and all the ingredients you need delivered to your door. This is a great way to lighten the load, especially if you’re already planning, shopping and cooking for meat-eaters in the family. And you won’t be short of options when it comes to dining out as a family either. There is a good selection of vegan restaurants and cafés in Christchurch, as well as an increasing number of vegan-friendly eateries with choices to suit vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Get your teen in on the action

But, of course, it shouldn’t all fall on you. If your teenager is keen to eat vegan food, it’s a good opportunity to set them up with a lifetime of healthy habits by getting them involved in meal planning and prep. Encourage them to do some research into how to plan a healthy vegan diet, choose some recipes and help with the cooking. And it’s also a great opportunity for the rest of the family to start eating healthier. Make some of the family meals meat-free and boost everyone’s vege intake – after all the New Zealand Health Survey revealed that only 38.8% of New Zealand adults eat the recommended 5+ a day and new research suggests that the 5+ a day recommendation should in fact be increased to 10+ servings per day for the full health benefits fruit and vegetables provide!

Congrats! You’ve raised a thoughtful teen!

So, once you’ve processed the initial surprise of your teenager announcing that they want to go vegan, relax … with a little planning, eating plant-based can be a very healthy choice. And pat yourself on the back, too! You raised a young adult who is thinking about their food choices and trying to make better ones. They might inspire you to do the same!

Why Cooking is Good for Us

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Benefits of cooking at home

Cooking has been described as a form of ‘self-care.’ The simple task of taking ingredients and transforming them into something delicious helps us get in touch with our physical selves. It also helps us connect the outer world (what we feel with our senses) and our inner world (our bodies).

Prepared meals and takeaways can be high in fat, salt and sugar. When you prepare your own food, you know exactly what is going into it. At Green Dinner Table, we make our sauces fresh each week, they have less preservatives than store bought ones.

And, it’s not just about ingredients. A study published in Health Education Behaviour found that cooking benefits extended beyond nutrition. Cooking as therapy can positively influence psychosocial outcomes. Formal cooking therapy also had positive impacts on socialisation, self-esteem and quality of life.


Therapeutic cooking

Psychologists reported that the simple act of cooking can bring meaning to what you are doing because you get a tangible result for your efforts (i.e., a tasty dinner). This reward for doing a task demonstrates that your actions were worthwhile and have resulted in something real.


According to Counselor Nicole Lambert of Movement Counseling Services, “Cooking helps mental health in that it can be a creative outlet. It’s a way to channel energy, and can be used as a distraction, help build mastery in a skill, and a way to express emotions through a different medium.”


Caring for others


Yes, creating something delicious for ourselves can be motivating, but it is even more motivating when you are cooking for others. That’s why food has such strong cultural and social ties. It is how we celebrate, how we show concern in times of crisis – food is one of the main ways we show we care.


And, when you see how much someone else enjoys, appreciates and values something you created, it can help rebuild your sense of worth and value.


Easy does it


Easier recipes have been shown to be better for improving mental health because the process doesn’t create anxiety, but instead fosters focus, and encourages creativity and happiness. Green Dinner Table recipes are designed with this in mind. We want to make it easy for you to create delicious meals. And, having everything on hand means that you don’t have to sweat the prep.


In an earlier blog post, we talked about the benefits of eating as a family. Those benefits can extend into prep time too. You can ask your children to read the recipe aloud, mix the ingredients, or help tidy up. Making meal time a family event helps make it less of a chore.


Finding your zen


Cooking can bring calm, like meditation practice or mindfulness, because it helps you get into ‘the zone’. This is a feeling in which you lose track of time and focus in on the task at hand. If you battle negative thoughts or are nagged by constant worries, cooking can be a healthy way to bring peace of mind. All those relaxing feelings can help your physical body too, by easing the tension we feel when we are anxious or depressed.


Save money


Eating homemade meals is usually much cheaper than eating out or buying pre-made meals. Money can also exacerbate mental health conditions and put pressure on our relationships. Planning meals or subscribing to a service like Green Dinner Table can help you save money as we covered in an earlier blog post.


It’s fun!


That’s what originally attracted Tom to the chef life. It looked so darn fun. That surge of adrenaline after service, the comradery between cooks… You can get a bit of that in your own home when you cook – especially if you can recruit a sous chef or dishwasher to help tidy up!


Trying new foods you’ve never heard of before can add adventure and variety to your day-to-day. This is one of the reasons Green Dinner Table’s menus are full of interesting dishes and new ingredients. Just check out our upcoming dishes. We want you to love plant-based meals as much as we do!


So instead of collapsing on the couch after work, why not roll up your sleeves and jump into the kitchen? Green Dinner Table makes it easy by doing the planning and delivering everything you need to cook meals everyone will enjoy. Our weekly plans are designed to make dinner time something to look forward to.

7 of the best vegan finds from the Vegan Expo

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Some people like the cooking demos, talks, information stalls, but we’ll be honest; We were there for the food. We arrived with an empty tummy and a fist full of cash, we left with an stuffed tum and an empty wallet. Tom’s wife calls it her “Black Friday.”

We scoped out the best of the best this year for this month’s blog and we’ll tell you where you can get some of these noms, even if you missed the expo.

1. Kimchi grilled cheese from Green Dinner Table

This was one serious sandwich! Delicious house made kimchi with Angel Foods cheese in a perfectly grilled sandwich. Served with a generous helping of GDT’s special rum and coke BBQ sauce. People were asking us to bottle it up and sell it. For now, we’re keeping these drool-worthy items for our subscribers as part of our weekly delivery.

We could go on and on about how it was the best thing at the Expo (according to a few others on Instagram!) but we’ll quickly move on.

2. Passionfruit Custard Square from No Bulls Pies

Conveniently located right beside the GDT booth. One bite was like heaven. Creamy yumminess between perfect pastry, topped with sugary sweet passionfruit. The only downside is that we don’t know where we can get more! We didn’t find a business listing for No Bulls Pies. If anyone has a lead let us know …

3. Rosé from Brod Kvas

Brod Kvas rose

Brod Kvas rose

Kumbucha and kefir move over because Brod Kvas is dairy-free and has no slimey scoby. Plus the manly marketing makes us feel like we can bring it to a BBQ instead of beers and get away with it. These delicious, naturally fermented beverages are inspired by thousands of years of tradition. We snapped up a few big bottles.

4. Valsoia hazelnut spread from Nuovo Pantry

AKA nutella! YESSS! Our childhood memories no longer need to be a thing of the past! We’ve tried other vegan ‘nutellas’ but this one tastes just as delicious as the original (must be because it’s Italian 😉 ). Nuovo Pantry also has some fancy ice creams by Valsoia like cornettos and ice cream sandwiches. Buon appetito!

5. Literally anything from Grater Goods

Did you check out the grazing plate at the Grater Goods stall? It was chocka with delicious vegan cheeses, deli meats and the Blu butter? Simply divine! We wanted to buy it all, but like the gracious hosts they are, they made sure there was plenty to sample, so we have no choice but to visit their deli and stock up.


6. Plant Powered Dip by Black Doris

We loved Black Doris range. Talk about yum. It was hard to choose just one, so we bought everything but the mayo (Tom did just make a huge batch at the cooking demo!) The Plant Powered Dip was perfect as a little ‘alfredo’ sauce on a quick toddler pasta later that night.

7. Chocolate cheesecake from Moa Bakery

We’re usually more into the savoury, but these cheesecakes were worth raving over. Hard to believe that in addition to being vegan, they were also gluten and sugar free! Sensitive tummies rejoice! We’re glad we got them in our gob because they are from Moa Bakery hails from Oamaru. So next time you’re over that way, try one!

Missed out on all the fun? Check out the hosts of the Expo, the Christchurch Vegan Society to find out about next year’s event.

The best vegan (and vegan-friendly) restaurants in Christchurch

Friday, February 9th, 2018


(322 Lincoln Road, 021 258 3525)

This vegan café quickly gained a loyal following after winning the regional People’s Choice award in the 2018 Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year awards. A lovely twist of irony given Meadow Fresh is a dairy company! Go for classic Kiwi café favourites like custard squares, sausage rolls and mac ‘n’ cheese – all made vegan.

The Origin

(95 Westminster Street, 03 355 5939)

Contemporary, creative plant-based dishes match the modern, light-filled fit-out in this popular suburban café. Also known for exquisite desserts and cakes, and boutique coffee and tea brews (all the teas are 100% New Zealand grown and organic) – check out the Steam Punk brewing machine!

Town Tonic

(335 Lincoln Road, 03 338 1150)

A smart, contemporary restaurant, Town Tonic is renowned for its innovative cuisine made from fresh, local produce, and includes a special menu just for vegans. The ‘Honest Menu’ features an exciting array of plant-based tasting plates that will thrill taste-buds and dispel any notions that vegan food can’t be interesting!

The Lotus-Heart

(363 St Asaph Street, 03 377 2727)

A vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurant operated by students of Sri Chinmoy, it’s part of a centre that also includes health, gift and world music shops, as well as being a venue for meditation workshops, so you can expect a peaceful atmosphere that exudes well-being. The food is prepared from locally grown and organic ingredients where possible, using plant-based cheese and milks, so there are plenty of vegan possibilities, as well as gluten-free and raw food options.


(Unit 5/ 2 Papanui Road, 021 0293 5641)

Award-winning vegetarian restaurant and ‘living wine’ bar taking the concept of ‘pop-up’ dining and putting it in a more permanent setting. A daily tasting menu is designed around regional and seasonal produce, with vegan options, and the restaurant is committed to sustainability including the use of ‘living wine’, made without chemicals and with minimal technological intervention.


(Shop 6, Carnaby Lane, New Brighton, 03 595 2126)

Antidote is a ‘juice bar’ that also serves salads, breakfasts, lunches and desserts. This vegan café is tucked away, but worth seeking out for its fresh and healthy cuisine (and amazing smoothies!). Dedicated to making the world a better place, Antidote serves mostly raw and organic foods, all in a relaxed setting.

The Shroom Room

(48 London Street, Lyttelton, 03 328 9459)

Iconic vegetarian café offering a laid-back, alternative atmosphere perfectly in keeping with its portside location. The outdoor terrace is ideal for enjoying the local vibe on fine days. Their menu is packed with plenty of vegan options. Generous portions and hearty fare are the order of the day – think burgers, pancakes and thick-shakes – served up alongside a funky soundtrack.

Raw Sugar

(73 Manchester Street, 03 365 3333)

This cool inner-city café is officially vegetarian but wins praise for its extensive vegan menu, including an option for vegan Eggs Benedict. Beautiful presentation and great coffee are sure to make this one a new favourite.

Dream Garden Vegetarian Café & Restaurant

(62 Kendal Avenue, 03 358 8485)

A suburban location and casual atmosphere makes visiting Dream Garden easy (it’s near the airport, if you’re wondering). The menu of Chinese cuisine is probably more vegan than vegetarian – and staff are happy to modify the vegetarian dishes for vegan diners. A wide range of meat substitute dishes is on offer here too.

Chanakya South Indian Cuisine

(Shop 5, Surfside Mall, 68 Hawke Street, New Brighton, 03 388 7049)

This hidden-away gem serves lots of vegan options, all of which are specified on the menu. Named for a renowned philosopher and economist of ancient India, this spot is a wise choice for high-quality cuisine. We at Green Dinner Table recommend the Masala Dosa and the Eggplant Salaan!

Thai Container

(151 Bealey Avenue, 021 139 4881)

Thai Box

(270 St Asaph Street, 021 842 429)

Thai Container is a hugely popular food truck on Bealey Ave. It now has a sister restaurant, Thai Box in more permanent digs. Go to either outlet for awesome, cheap takeaways. Or, dine in the cool surrounds of Thai Box. Pretty much anything on the menu is available in a vegan option and the super-friendly staff are very accommodating.

Call ahead

In addition to these vegan and vegan-friendly cafés and restaurants, more and more eateries around Christchurch are including vegan dishes on their menus. Plus, many or are willing to modify dishes to suit. If in doubt, call ahead and ask about vegan options. You might find that the chef is willing to create something special just for you!

Awesome food in your own kitchen

And if the decision gets too hard, cooking at home is always an easy option – especially if you’re a lucky Christchurch local getting your weekly menu delivered by Green Dinner Table!