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Topic: HELP! My daughter just went vegetarian, need Kitchen help...  (Read 2865 times)
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« on: November 12, 2008 10:45:48 AM »

My wonderful, beautiful daughter (age 9) saw something about the way slaughter animals are treated and decided to go 'Veggie'.  Now, she will still eat dairy and fish (for the time being).

Actually, this happened 13 months ago.  I told her that I respected her beliefs and would support her.  But I just thought it was a passing phase ~ she was only 8 after all.  Well, I've been feeding her exactly what we get and just taking out the meat and adding a nut patty.  I've given her some protein shakes and all my kids get vitamins.

So the other day, she says to me that she is concerned that she isn't getting enough protein in her diet.  Honestly, I really didn't think she would be this committed and I have to respect that.

Can someone recommend some good cookbooks?   My husband is a dedicated carnivore, does anyone else have a 'blended' family?  Does anyone have any tips about making that work?

PS - I'm a working mom, so I can't spend hours making dinner.

Thanks a TON!! Huh
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2008 12:50:28 PM »


This site has some decent ideas for school lunches and snacks.


This one has kid-friendly recipes that would probably work for everyone in the family, even your husband.  You could make the tempeh Sloppy Joe sauce and separate a little bit for your daughter and add meat to the rest of the sauce for everyone else, or you could use some of those soy crumbles and not tell your husband Wink 

The Vegan Lunchbox site (www.veganlunchbox.com) has some recipes that sound good, but the author of that site and book is a stay-at-home-mom.  The recipes are probably too time-consuming for someone who works outside of the home as well as in the home!   

I had a book once called The Vegetarian Student Cookbook (Really Useful series) by Silvana Franco, and it has some tasty, simple recipes that would also work for everyone, especially if you could convince your husband to eat one or two meatless meals a week.  You can find that cookbook on amazon.com.  It uses a lot of British terms, though, so it can be confusing.  I had no idea that a courgette was the same thing as a zucchini the first time I read the book!  heh heh
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2008 02:24:25 PM »

I am the only vegetarian in my family. I am 17 so I do make most of my food myself. My dad is a huge meat eater and gets irritated with me a lot. Some recommendations are:
*Hummus with veggies or bread or crackers.( Wal-Mart has an amzing 7 layer hummus. I like to eat it with tomato basil bread) also, Try Athenos brand. I buy it from the local Kroger. 10/$10.
*beans. yummy, try red beans and rice.
* If she still eats fish try a nice, fresh white fish with burst cherry tomatoes. Simply drizzle them with olive oil and bake them or toss them around in a pan until they pop open.
*Chickpeas- mash them up and mix with mayo, salt,pepper, and some relish. Serve in a sandwich. You can also bake them, use them in soups and salads.
*Lasagna minus the meat. try adding some veggies like zucchini.
* If she isn't already- try tofu. My favorite chinese place serves spinach and tofu soup. It is merely silken tofu, water,salt, pepper, and fresh spinach leaves. It is amazing though.
*Lentils- Try Progresso's lentil soup. It is canned, just heat and eat. You can also cook them and serve with rice.
*sweet potatoes- these are LOADED with vitamins.
* try frozen faux meats. Try different brands to see which ones you like. I am a fan of morningstar. I don't however like their faux breakfast meats.
*yogurt- but be careful because most have gelatin in them.

hmmm,can't think of much more now. but get out there and look around. You would be surprised at what is vegetarian. Especially if she still eats fish.
If I think of more I will come back.
Hope I helped.
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2008 09:03:34 PM »

Don't forget, people actually need a LOT less protein in a healthy diet than the standard Western meat eating diet provides. So it's highly possible she IS getting enough protein. I don't have a link on hand right this second, but it should be easy to find a site that tells you how much you need for a healthy diet.

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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2008 06:39:59 AM »

I went vegetarian at 12, so I can share some of what worked in my house while I was growing up...
My dietary habits have changed since I started living on my own, but when I first went vegetarian, my meals were supplemented with either cheese, or veggie burger type things (this was long before there was such a large selection of veggie meats available). 

As for viable ideas try the cookbook More with Less.  It's not all vegetarian but it has some great bean and lentil recipes (as well as some meat ones where the meat can be substituted).  Also encourage your daughter to be involved in helping you prepare meals, this was something I did a lot.  That was if you are making a dish with the meat in it, you can help her make herself a similar dish without the meat.

One other suggestion is for the whole family to eat more leafy greens (like spinach) or bean sprouts or other food that are good sources of protein that most people don't think of.  This was the carnivores can still add meat while your daughter enjoys a balanced diet. 

Also check your local libray on books on being vegetarian.  Read them both on your own and with your daughter you will both learn a lot about healthy eating, and cooking.  This will help you feel less pressure to do everything, and help your daughter take ownership over her decision (beyond just complaining). 

Good luck.     

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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2008 09:58:34 AM »

Aw kudos to your little one! I was once an independent-minded nine year old myself, so i think we would get along well. :.) 

Actually, everyone here has had some really good ideas, so i figured i'd just add a little note:
Don't be afraid of tofu. I know a lot of omnis treat it like the plague, but it's good! Especially when cooked by someone with a little knowhow.

The most important thing (for me, at least) is to drain the heck out of it! Just wrap it in a few paper towels (and a kitchen towel for good measure, if you ask me), put it on a mesh or wire cooking rack on a plate, set something heavy on top and leave it for the day (or just a couple of hours, really). My favorite easy way to cook it is to sautee it like you would meat (diced, btw) with some veggies for a stir-fry. Yum!

Also, a lot of asian and indian dishes are naturally vegetarian, since meat isn't a huge staple in their diet. Just things to keep in mind!

"They sicken of the calm, who know the storm" -Dorothy Parker


« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2008 03:23:10 PM »

I agree on the tofu.
Just make sure she isn't living off soy.
Also, try seeing a dietician. My mom had to see one when she found out she had diabetes. The dietician said she highly recommended my mom going veg and my mom told her that I was. The dietician said if I ever needed to come talk to her with any concerns she would love to have me. Apparently she has been a vegetarian about 20 years and raised her family that way. Grin
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2008 08:05:04 AM »

my favorite veggie cookbook is The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas.  it's got lots of good information in it about being vegetarian and raising vegetarian kids - the differences in types of tofu, good sources of protein, snack ideas, etc.  I'm really picky about food, and i've found several good recipes in this cookbook.  nava atlas also has a pretty decent website.  it's http://www.vegkitchen.com
I also own The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by ?Mollie Katzen? and it's decent.  I checked some of her other cookbooks out of the library and liked them as well if not better. 
i'm also fond of lasagna with spinach and broccoli rather than meat.  i tried making it for the first time this fall, and i'm not sure if i'll ever go back to the meat version.  the veggie one was really good and so filling.  i don't normally go for spinach, but i think that recipe converted me.  i got the recipe on allrecipes.com - have you checked there for vegetarian stuff?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2008 10:44:02 AM »

Thank you so much!!   These are all some really, really great ideas!

I've checked out several of the websites and ordered a few books from Amazon.com.  I think I'm on the right track.

My daughter was thrilled when I told her the suggestion about helping me in the kitchen, so it should be a great for her to learn some cooking skills and some bonding time for us both!

Maybe she can help the whole family get a little healthier!

« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2009 07:57:58 PM »

You know we just add Boca ground "meat" to our sauces or for chili and it tastes awesome. Also Quorn nuggets are a fast meal option. They taste just like chicken, not even kidding. I also read that meat wise a person only really needs a piece about the size of their palm for their diet. I found that helpful for when my brother went veggie because most people are under the impression that one needs much more protein than is  actually necessary.

I like black beans and rice as a good source of protein and fiber. Broccoli also has some protein to it, as does wheat toast. Mmmm....

So good luck! Kudos to your daughter and I hope you find some good ideas that aren't too time consuming!

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