Help with 14 yo who doesn't want to eat meat.

(66 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Mon 04-Jan-16 16:08:26

We've had this on and off with my DD since she was about 10, and I've always told her that she needs to wait until she can cook for herself as I have three other ( younger ) kids, with various SNs and I can not be cooking separate meals for all of them.
She turned 14 a couple of weeks ago, and had now decided her NYR will be not to eat meat. She likes the taste, and it's not ethical as she will drink milk, eat eggs and wear leather.
I'm not overjoyed TBH, and have told her she needs to look into other sources of protein and iron as she's not going to get by on just the vegetables that I feed the others.
Has anyone got any ideas of what she could eat instead to keep her healthy? It needs to be something needing minimal preparation. She seems to think she can just eat a handful of cashews, and perhaps grill a quorn burger now and again and that will be fine.
Has anyone got any experience of this?

Seriouslyffs Mon 04-Jan-16 16:14:34

Will she eat fish? It's not vegetarian obviously but I found it quite easy to accommodate a fish eater. We'd have 2 veg meal and 2 fish and 3 meat with a substitution.
It was a little more work but tbh I consider the effort I put into feeding dd for the terms she didn't eat meat one of my parenting successes and if your dd has been wanting to not eat meat for 4 years, you telly should accommodate her.

whois Mon 04-Jan-16 16:20:44

Could you approach it that you do a couple of meals naturally veggie a week (risotto, pasta, curry etc) and a couple where you could have an easy to sub meat product (veggie sausages, quorn pieces, tofu or similar)?

You could get her involved in cooking - get her a student veggie cook book or something easy like that and then on the nights where you do something 'properly' meaty she could make her own alternative.

TBH I don't see that cooking a couple of veggie meals a week is a big ask for the family, not good to eat meat all the time anyway. Also not hard to chuck in a quorn chicken escalope if you are doing something meaty in the oven for the others.

FiveHoursSleep Mon 04-Jan-16 16:22:13

Yes, she will eat fish but none of my others are keen. I do a lot of one pot meals like shepherds pie, chilli con carne, beef stew etc which she will obviously not eat.
My youngest two are very fussy and I finally have them eating these things and I really don't want them to see me cooking an alternative!

FiveHoursSleep Mon 04-Jan-16 16:26:21

We don't eat meat every day- have some risotto/ pasta meals a couple of times a week, but my youngest two won't eat meat substitutes.
My youngest has some oral issues and it has taken him ages to even taste some of the foods I serve up.
And DD2 has ASD and likes her meals to follow a routine.
I don't need any extra work in the kitchen ( I'm not a confident cook anyhow) so I need stuff that DD1 can cook herself.

Helenluvsrob Mon 04-Jan-16 16:27:20

Don't stress. Noone needs to eat meat and veggie cooking is cheap and healthy as long as it isn't just carbs and cheese!

Do you really not eat any beans /lentils/nuts in your diet anyway?

A little research by your DD into what she wants to eat , and some help with cooking it can keep your diet really good and everyone enjoying tasty food eg

Chick pea dahl and rice
Lentil curry
Lentil lasagne
Cheesy pasta bake
salmon fillet new pots and veg
Fish pie
Soups of all sorts

There you are a veggie diet for the carnivore!

Then just rarely a delicious joint or steak with a veg substitute for DD- not I'd say no more than 1x week quorn/veggie sausage type stuff

Seriouslyffs Mon 04-Jan-16 16:29:44

I think if she's been wanting to not eat meat for four years and you eat non meat a few days anyway and she's prepared to eat fish it won't be hard and you'll be fine. Do respect her wishes though and don't be resentful.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Jan-16 16:34:18

She likes the taste, it's obviously not ethical as she will eat fish, so I'd be interested to hear why no meat.

(Vegetarian here btw smile)

Hallamoo Mon 04-Jan-16 16:51:18

Getting a bit fed up all these threads from people saying their teenage DC want to be vegetarian or vegan, but they don't want to cook separate meals. This thread isn't as bad as the others, but there's been a spate of them with people commenting that they should cook for themselves.

How about supporting your DC? Being vegetarian or vegan is a very responsible and ethical decision (even if their reasons aren't ethical). Get her to search for some veggie recipes on line or look together. You mention that one of your other DC has food issues, which you are happy to accommodate, so why not your teenage DC who is making a healthy and environmentally friendly decision?

It wouldn't hurt the whole family to go veggie 2-3 times a week and you can easily make veggie chillis, shepherds pie, bolognaise etc, with quorn mince or lentils. You could batch cook the veggie stuff together and freeze in individual portions. At 14, she should be learning how to cook anyway.

Support her, you might find you like some of the meals, you might end up all going veggie?

staghunter Mon 04-Jan-16 17:07:57

My dd (12) has been resolutely pescetarian for a year. Younger dcs are fussy buggers ( but no sn). I can't deny it is sometimes a huge pita but it's possible. Initially i went with it and thought she would give up quickly. No luck.

I think you do have to respect their decision s around this and not be completely dismissive.

FiveHoursSleep Mon 04-Jan-16 18:10:22

I'm not being dismissive about it, hence the conversation around why- She just wants to try it apparently.

TBH if she didn't like the taste, or it was ethical, I'd be happier.

I don't accommodate DS's tastes, otherwise he'd live on white bread and nutella and cheesy crisps, but I have just got him eating more balanced meals in the last couple of months and meals have been almost pleasant lately.

He will not eat anything different without years of being exposed to it ( he's 8 now) and DD2(12) has ASD and things need to look and taste the same as well otherwise she gets very upset.

I'm not going to let DD1 starve, but I am not looking forward to trying to the potential extra work and was just asking for some ideas for easy meals she can prepare for herself while I feed the rest of the family.

anxious123 Mon 04-Jan-16 19:04:11

I was your teenage. We got round it. Mince and dumps with quorn mince, curry with kidney beans/mushrooms/peppers, pasta with mushroom & spinach, Linda McCartney sausages with Sunday dinner and veggie gravy etc

cdtaylornats Mon 04-Jan-16 21:55:07

Being vegetarian or vegan is a lifestyle choice. I don't see anything ethical about it.

Lifestyle choices are great and should be supported but the person making that choice should shoulder at least some of the effort required to support it.

whois Mon 04-Jan-16 22:31:09

I don't see anything ethical about it.

Oh come on. You seriously don't consider it to be ethical to try and consume less of the earth's limited resources?

I eat meat, but you can't deny that eating less meat is a more ethical choice, and being a vegan who also considers food miles and other issues such as palm oil to be even more ethical!

whois Mon 04-Jan-16 22:36:54

OP - give us a few more examples of the kind of thing you cook for your family and people can suggest something easy to modify it.

When you're cooking a mince type meal - you could get DD in the kitchen with you cooking up some Quorn chilli or bolagnaise. So as you do the meat one she can learn to do veggie mince. Basically just need to add in more herbs and flavourings.

If you do anything like burgers or fish fingers or oven ready food you could chuck in some veggie bean burgers.

Sausages for everyone else and veggie sausages for DD.

Something properly meaty and she can make an omelette.

talk us through your typical weekly meals and we can help suggest easy modifications.

patterkiller Mon 04-Jan-16 22:42:25

Buy some tin foil cartons and this weekend bulk cook individual vegetarian meals WITH your Dd. Freeze them and when your meals are not convertible for her she just needs to grab a freezer meal. I do this for myself as I don't like red meat so will have a fish or vegetarian alternate.

weaselwords Mon 04-Jan-16 22:49:33

She'll be fine honest. I went veggie at the same age and have been fine despite my diet of chips and cider in my 20s blush . Maybe we could swap kids, as my 14 yr old who has been brought up vegetarian has become a committed meat eater if he can get hold of it and ate so much meat at his gran's on Boxing Day that he gave himself belly ache.

As a fellow overworked mother, I would say get her cooking for herself if she isn't going to eat what you provide. She'll probably get quite interested in it. If you are very nice you could get her a cookbook of her choice.

FiveHoursSleep Tue 05-Jan-16 08:12:04

I'm happy to do veggie sausages and quorn burgers and fish when everyone else is having one of those kinds of meals.
It's when I make something like Spag bol or Chilli con Carne, that I'm not sure how it will work.
Time is limited in the afternoons here ( 4 kids and all of them do different things after school), plus she has homework, so I'm not sure she's going to have time to cook long involved meals very often.
She doesn't eat eggs by themselves which is a pain.
I'm going shopping today, so will look around the supermarket to see what they have.
Do you think I should get her some multivitamins too?

whois Tue 05-Jan-16 10:57:01

It's when I make something like Spag bol or Chilli con Carne, that I'm not sure how it will work.

Could you buy some stuff like the fresh filled tortellini pasta things? Boil in 3 mins and serve with a 400g carton of passata nuked in the microwave for 2 mins wit a pinch of Italian herbs. She could do that as you're getting the younger DCs to the table.

On the nights when you have risotto or other 'naturally' veggie meals you could make a bit extra for her to have the next night or to freeze.

If making cottage pie you could leave her portion of mash and carrots separately, and then fry off an onion and tip in a tin of butter beans with a tin of chopped tomatoes and some herbs to serve with her mash and carrots.

Spag bol / chili nights I would probably just do 2 pans and make hers with quorn mince if the others wont eat that. That is a slight hassle, but not too bad since its virtually the same ingredients, same amount of onion chopping etc.

I defo don't think the 'make her cook for herself all the time' comments are fair, but it is right that she gets a bit involved with this. Can you get her a student veggie cookbook and ask her to think of some easy alternatives she could have sometimes?

musicposy Tue 05-Jan-16 11:10:00

It's easy to make spaghetti Bol or chilli - you just put a bit of quorn mince in a small separate pan and add a portion of all your ingredients to that pan.

DD2 decided to be veggie at 8 and even though DH is a resolute meat eater, we facilitated it. She's now 16 - still veggie - very grateful for our support and has a good few envious friends who are extremely resentful of their parents for saying "wait till you get your own place". I personally think that is utterly mean. She has no other choice of home at the moment so you are effectively forcing her to eat something she doesn't want to for the next however many years.

It really is not difficult once you try to accommodate it, and I say that as a meat eater. In fact, I'd say we now have a much healthier diet due to DD2. I think you should at least offer her, say, a month's trial. She may even get bored by then.

RiverTam Tue 05-Jan-16 11:16:06

You/your DD could batch cook veggie chili and bolognese (we used canned brown lentils which you can get in Waitrose and possibly health food shops) instead of mince and tgen defrost a portion when needed? Veggie curry? We make a Jamie one with spices, tomatoes and coconut milk so it's quite sweet, the others might like it? Jacket spuds of course. Risotto. I do a veggie lasagne with mushrooms and spinach, that might freeze. Veggie sausages. Pizza. Um, I'll keep thinking.

iamEarthymama Tue 05-Jan-16 11:38:12

Please don't include salmon fillets in a list of vegetarian meals, a fish is definitely not a vegetable!

I have been vegetarian for 30 years and occasionally ate fish; during those periods I always said I don't eat meat, rather than I am vegetarian.

I am vegetarian now, thinking that I won't eat fish again and considering being vegan.

Your daughter needs to learn some simple recipes, cooking is great fun and those skills will serve her well. I do sympathise with you as it sounds as though you have had to contend with some real difficulties in feeding your children and this must seem like one more problem. I am gf as well as veggie, and adapting to that change was far more difficult than giving up meat.

I hope that this change in her diet goes well. I second getting her a student vegetarian cookbook and also looking on Pinterest

Good luck, do taste her efforts and praise her new skills.

PS one simple meal we have quite often is
Sauté onion, leek and garlic til soft.
Add herbs and/or fresh chilli
Add chopped mushrooms, peppers. Courgette, aubergine (needs cooking slowly)
Add tin of tomatoes, tin of butter beans, tomato purée and Bouillion and water as necessary.
Season to taste

You can double the quantity and freeze 3 portions

Add more stock and purée to make a soup

It's good served with potatoes, jacket, new, topped with mash and baked in oven, or with rice or pasta You can add Quorn pieces too.

In fact, I am going to make this for supper tonight smile

lincolnshirelassy Tue 05-Jan-16 12:42:41

It may not be as much work as you think. My 12 yr old DD turned veggie just over a year ago and has stuck to it. My other two are confirmed carnivores as is my husband!

Here are some of the things we do that everyone will eat:

Brie risotto, onions, garlic, rice, veggie stock then mix in a big chunk of brie, top with cranberry and you can also top with a bit of bacon for the meat eaters

Carbonara, make a carbonara sauce with eggs, cream, herbs, garlic and cheese, put aside a porting for the veggies then mix bacon into the remainder for meat eaters. I sometimes stir veggie bacon into DD's but not always

Egg and chips!

Lasagne and cottage pie made with soya mince, honestly with good seasoning and lots of cheese mine don't even notice

Jacket potatoes as you can have lots of toppings

Pastries made with a pack of filo pastry, feta, cous cous, sultanas, garlic, onions, seasonings and any leftover meat for meat eaters

Sausages and mash - just substitute veggie sausages where needed

Bolognese, make a tomato sauce first, put aside a portion to mix with soya mince, mix the rest with meat for everyone else

I have a few freezer veggie staples in to replace meat for Sunday dinners etc, Sainsbury and Asda are both good sources.

Good luck, it will be fine!

whois Tue 05-Jan-16 13:29:11

we used canned brown lentils which you can get in Waitrose and possibly health food shops

You can buy green lentils in tins from almost all major supermarkets e.g. tesco

www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=264129006

RiverTam Tue 05-Jan-16 13:50:05

I find that the green lentils go quite mushy. We started off using canned puy lentils which you could get in Sainsbo's but they stopped doing them (they were Merchant Gourmet). After a lot of hunting and trial and error we've settled on the Epicure Bijoux Verts Lentils (from Waitrose) which are very similar. They hold their shape and have a nicer texture, imo. It's a bugger as we don't have a waitrose near us so I stock up when I happen upon one.

The other thing is tarts and quiches.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now