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1  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Vegetarianism in childhood on: March 18, 2011 06:18:03 AM
This was an issue that I stressed over during my pregnancy.  I am a strong believer that vegetarianism is a personal choice and that it would be wrong to force it on my child but at the same time how can something so important to me be cast aside?  Eventually I started polling everyone I knew, vegetarians and meat eaters alike, just to get their input.  Oddly enough, the only person who told me to feed my daughter meat was a vegan!  (We carefully avoided asking the grandparents for their opinions because they still give me a hard time for being veg).So were a vegetarian household, except for the cats.  My daughter is 7 , only a foot shorter than I am and as healthy as anyone could hope for.  She loves food and begs to help in the kitchen and seems to have a real grasp of nutrition.  I think that I made the right choice.

As for kids who wont eat meatI was one of them.  Long before Id even heard the word vegetarian or understood where that meat on my plate came from, Id eat around it.  It was a combination of taste and texture.  I did eat sausage, but dreaded chicken and simply would not touch steak or pork.  Apparently that aversion didnt hurt me, despite the fact that my parents didnt know what to do to supplement my protein, but I did resent my parents attempts to force me to eat foods that I really disliked.
2  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Looking for vegetarian lunches and snacks for kids on: March 16, 2011 12:06:32 PM
As the vegetarian mom of a vegetarian child, I cant help but share some of our favorite successes.

Hummus is a winner.  Hummus wraps with loads of veggies (or stuffed into the pocket of a pita) or just hummus with sliced veggies (dipping opportunities are usually welcome).
My daughter loves to take leftovers for lunch, so soups and chilis make frequent appearances.  A good, quick black bean chili can be made with chopped onion, minced garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne, chopped tomatoes and black beans (20-30 minutes).  I make a curried sweet potato and tart apple soup that looks strange to kids, but they love the flavor.
My daughters favorite lunch salads:
Chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, sliced scallions, shredded carrot, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper.  Served with cottage cheese and crackers.  We also make the exact same thing with garbanzo beans instead of tomatoes.  Or, leave out the olive oil, and add a big spoonful of plain yogurt (not with the garbanzo bean version though).
Black beans, tomato, scallion, avocado, minced jalapeno, garlic, olive oil and lime juice is her current favorite.
Theres also burritos.  Cold refried beans with whatever topping they love (salsa, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, scallion, etc) wrapped up in a flour tortilla. 

Most children are not quite as adventurous as mine when it comes to food, but these are the things that she gets the most comments about when she eats them.
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