Vegetarian Kids
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    Registered User Daisygirl's Avatar
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    Smile Vegetarian Kids

    I thought this might make an interesting topic for a thread. Does anyone else have a child who is a vegetarian in an otherwise carnivorous family? How do you incorporate a good, protein rich meal for them without making an entirely different meal from the rest of the family? Do you find that the rest of you now enjoy an occasional meatless meal?

    Since it is my thread I get to go first, hehe.

    My oldest daughter Chloe has been a vegetarian since she was 8. Just decided she loves animals and didn't want to eat them. She will eat eggs and dairy, but in her words "nothing with eyes." So no fish or chicken.

    I try to feed her something extremely similar to the rest of us. I open cans of baked beans and freeze single servings in Ziploc bags for a quick protein serving. She also enjoys Schnieder Veggie Chicken Nuggets (we call it 'ficken" for fake chicken.) The nuggets are a little expensive, but not when you compare it to a decent cut of meat. When I make something like shepards pie, I make her a veggie one in a mini pie plate. When I make a casserole, if it is possible with the texture of it, I leave one end meatless and mark the meatless part with a line of green pepper or something like that. When I make chili it is generally vegetarian, and you never miss the meat. She is not so choosy that she won't pick out the meatballs of spaghetti and meatballs, and if I make a roast w/ veggies, she doesn't complain that it was cooked with the meat - I am sure as she gets older that may change but for now it works.

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    Both my kids went vegetarian for a while. My son was 6 and came home from school saying he didn't want to eat God's animals. I am sure that for those 6 months he ate a healthier diet than most 6 yr olds because I looked into everything for nutritional value. I also gave the school nurse a list of all he had eaten for 2 weeks just to make sure. Like you, I did similar but veggie versions for him. Being Scottish, I make a lot of soup (!) and so that was easy - I made sure I added more pulses. With my daughter it was more difficult - she was about 16 and insisted on becoming vegan. Glad that passed - she really wasn't well on that diet and was at boarding school so I couldn't keep an eye on her food intake.

    Lots of healthy snacks available - I used to make my own cereal bars. Also spinach added to salads and also pasta dishes. Oh, and dried apricots are really good too.

    I'll be interested to see this thread. I was vegetarian for 6 months last year but suffered from dizziness and picked up all the bugs at college where I teach. I had heavy problem periods at that time and didn't take multi-vits with iron. I used to crave a rare steak at period time. Now i often eat vegetarian but do eat meat and also take those vitamins!
    W

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    Registered User Neeley's Avatar
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    I know this is about the kids but in my house I am the vegetarian and everyone else eats meat. If I make them a meal that includes real meats, I make sure the side items I am making with it are ones I really like and I usually add myself a salad. For the most part my family will eat the vegetarian "meat" products. When it's taco night we add Boca or Morningstar Farms "hamburger" meat instead of the real thing. The same is true for Fajitas, pasta dishes or meat-based casseroles. When they have a real hot dog, corn dog, ribs, meatballs, or hamburgers, I just have the vegetarian version. For the most part I do not focus our meals around a meat. I do not even buy them meat on my regular shopping trips. I go about once a week and may pick up a meat or two from the discount bin at our local grocier, but that is it. I do not spend more than $10 a week on meat. So that we can eat as a family, I make a lot of veggies in different creative casserole dishes. Each night our dinner consists of a main dish, two veggie/fruits and a bread. No, we don't eat the same thing over and over either. We rarely eat the same thing in a four week period.

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    Registered User Daisygirl's Avatar
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    Can you post some of your veggie casserole recipes? We would love that. Here is one of our favorite meals (I am not much of a recipe person, so measurements are approximate -- I tend to just eyeball things and my favorite term of measurement is a "glop")

    TACO PIE

    1 can of vegetarian refried beans
    About a cup of thick homemade cheese sauce
    1 small can of tomato soup
    4 whole wheat or flour tortillas (large burrito size)

    I use my cast iron frying pan for this - it is the perfect size for the large flour tortillas. Spray with non stick cooking spray. Spread a layer of beans, 1/3 of the can of soup and 1/3 of the cheese sauce. Repeat twice, then top with last tortilla. Cover tightly with foil then bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour til bubbly and yummy. Sprinkle some extra shredded cheddar on top then bake uncovered for about 5 more minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it sit for about five minutes. Slice into triangles like pie and serve with sour cream and salsa.

    This is really versatile. You can add the Boca fake ground beef or sometimes I do half with regular meat and half without. This is one of our quickie favorites.

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    Registered User Neeley's Avatar
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    This is one we really like:

    Baked Pasta with Zucchini and Mozzarella

    3/4 lb Pasta; shaped (fusilli, orecchiette or conchiglie)
    5 sm Zucchini; 1/2-inch slices
    Salt and pepper
    1 28 oz can italian plum tomatoes -- drained/chopped
    8 Black olives; sliced
    3 tb Parmesan cheese; freshly grated
    1 ts Fresh rosemary sprigs
    1/2 lb Mozzarella cheese; cut in 1/2' cubes


    Cook pasta in boiling salted water. In a large frying pan, heat oil and saute zucchini until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to an oiled shallow casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When pasta is almost cooked, drain and add to zucchini. Add tomatoes, olives, Parmesan, rosemary and 1/2 of the mozzarella. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper if desired and gently mix together. Cover with the remaining mozzarella and bake until cheese is melted and the top slightly browned, about 15 minutes.

    Now, I never follow a recipe exactly. I leave out rosemary, add extra mozzarella and add parm cheese. Plus I cover the top of the dish with slices of swiss cheese, or any other deli style white cheese. I also double the tomatoes just cause I LOVE them.

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    Registered User Neeley's Avatar
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    Broccoli Casserole


    INGREDIENTS:
    4 heads fresh broccoli, chopped
    1 1/2 cups shredded American cheese
    1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons butter
    2 cups crushed, seasoned croutons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DIRECTIONS:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook broccoli in the boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, and set aside.
    In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the cheese, cream of mushroom soup, salt, and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted. Add the broccoli, stirring to coat. Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Mix in the croutons, and sprinkle over the broccoli mixture.
    Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the topping is browned and broccoli is tender.


    Again I modify to suit our family. I double the recipe, add extra cheeses, and layer it phyllo dough.
    Last edited by Neeley; 09-21-2006 at 03:44 AM.

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    Spinach Casserole

    INGREDIENTS:
    2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
    8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
    2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 cup cubed processed cheese food
    1 cup melted butter, divided
    2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DIRECTIONS:
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
    In a large bowl, combine the spinach, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, processed cheese food, 1/2 the butter, vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
    Place a layer of phyllo dough into the bottom of a lightly greased 2-quart casserole dish. Spread the spinach and cheese mixture into the dish and top with 4 layers of phyllo dough, spraying each layer with butter-flavored cooking spray. Drizzle the remaining butter over the top.
    Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 20 minutes



    This one I have subbed other veggies for spinach when we want a change.

    I will post more later - hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

  9. #8
    Ani
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    I was a long-time vegetarian and had recently become vegan when I became pregnant. And suddenly lo-and-behold, I couldn't stomach any vegan products anymore (soy products etc) and all that didn't make my stomach turn was dairy products. I had to cut back to being vegetarian nearly immediately, even though I have strong moral objections to the consumption of any animal product.

    Then horror of all horrors...I began uncontrollably craving m-e-a-t. I hadn't eaten meat for YEARS, and yet I was craving it like nothing else. I consulted my doctor, and he strongly recommended (despite my moral convictions) that I introduce some meat into my diet (mainly because I was becoming iron defficient because of my picky pregnant stomach, and I was losing weight instead of gaining it). I've reluctantly added some meat back into my diet, and I feel horrible about it, but I figured I had to make sacrifices to be healthy for my baby.

    I'm 5 months pregnant now and still haven't gained any weight (lost 2 more lbs at my last dr's visit) but all of my nutrient levels are normal again and the baby is growing wonderfully, so I suppose it's been worth it.

    Once this little critter is born I fully intend on going completely vegetarian again, and I'll go vegan again once he stops nursing (I figure I'll really need the milk while he's nursing).

    As for raising my child vegetarian, I'd really like to...but with a devotedly omnivorous daddy and extended family, I think it will be very difficult. I plan on making mostly meatless dishes and letting him make his own choices. In the end, if he ends up vegetarian, I want it to be for his own convictions and not because his mom made him.

    So, I think I'll handle things similarly to how Neeley does. Thank you for your posts, they give me courage!

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    I'm glad things have worked out well for you Ani. Isn't it funny (well...I suppose not) that our bodies crave what we lack? I definitely found that. Plenty of time for you to go back to being vegetarian after your bundle of joy is here!
    W

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    Registered User Daisygirl's Avatar
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    Ani:

    I had been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for five years when I got pregnant with my first child and the same thing happened to me -- I craved red meat like no tomorrow. I ate a cheeseburger every single day of my pregnancy after the fourth month. It is just because your body is missing some certain nutrients. If your cravings are strong it is fo the best to give in to them - your body knows what it needs.

    As for raising your child a vegetarian I think your plan is right on. It needs to be the child's choice but introducing them to a diffeent style of eating lets them know what the options are. My oldest daughter has been a vegetarian since she was 8 years old, and I fully support it.

    Good luck with your pregnancy!

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