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Vegetarian 8 year old

(105 Posts)
franktheskank Wed 14-Feb-18 21:10:47

My daughter has decided she wants to be a vegetarian, she has had a couple of phases of this over the past couple of years but it's only lasted a few days, she's not eaten meat for over three weeks and seems dead set on sticking with it.

I haven't told her she can't but I haven't made anything specifically for her at dinner times, she mainly been having egg on toast or porridge for breakfast, omelette or cheese and crackers for lunch and whatever we are having minus the meat at dinner time. She does eat plenty of fruit and veg alongside this.

It looks like she's really going to do it this time so has anyone got any ideas on both veggie family meals and just more interesting breakfasts and dinners. She's eating a lot of bread, eggs and cheese atm!

franktheskank Wed 14-Feb-18 21:11:45

She also really loves salads, anyone know any nice recipes for vegetarian salads that kids would like? She's quite adventurous smile

SneakyGremlins Wed 14-Feb-18 21:12:35

Veggie Lasagne?
Veggie Stir Fry?

Does she like Quorn at all?

Cherrycokewinning Wed 14-Feb-18 21:14:25

I did this! Was veggie for 10 years and just got fed lots of Linda McCartney.

Veggie moussaka, veggie lasagne and vegetable curries are fab. Potato and cauliflower is a favourite here

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 14-Feb-18 21:18:05

I have a veggie DD too, same age.

I was vegetarian for long time so am used to cooking without meat. Pulses usually seem to be kids friendly (with baked beans as the gateway drug wink)

I do a three bean chilli with kidney, black and canellini beans which always goes down well with whole family. DH even prefers it now to meat chilli.

Another popular one is chickpea and cauliflower curry made with coconut milk. Red lentil dhal good too.

Ricekrispie22 Thu 15-Feb-18 08:33:10

Peanut butter and banana on toast/bagel/rice cakes
Beans on toast
Buttered malt loaf
My kids also like hot microwaved weetabix. Cover weetabix with milk, pop in microwave for a couple on minutes, leave for another couple of minutes for the weetabix to soak up the warm milk and it turns out like a weetabix porridge! Top with your favourite porridge toppings.

Falafel is a winner with my dc!
A delicious chickpea dhal
Smokey beans on toast
A quick veggie stir fry from Jamie
A popular but unusual veggie casserole
A comforting risotto

Some great veggie salads

SuburbanRhonda Thu 15-Feb-18 08:45:29

Please make sure you don’t just throw lots of quorn into her diet to replace the meat. Quorn is very low in iron compared with soya-based meat alternatives, which is not good news for growing girls.

I appreciate the example menu in your OP is just one day but I wouldn’t be giving her eggs for breakfast as well as lunch and then leaving out the protein altogether for her evening meal.

Why not have several days where the whole family eats vegetarian? I would recommend Delia Smith’s vegetarian cookbook - it’s the one I use the most and the recipes are easy to follow, delicious and with no fancy ingredients. Plenty of time to get into Ottolenghi when she’s older!

BikeRunSki Thu 15-Feb-18 08:45:32

I haven’t eaten meat since I was a teenager. I prefer not to use processed meat substitutes like Quiorn etc. Tinned green lentils are a very handy replacement for beef mince in veggie bolognaisse, lasagna, shepherds pie etc. I use cashews as the “chicken “ in stock fries.

I am currently getting a lot of inspiration from The Hairy Dieters Go Veggie Book, and the Cooking on a Bootstrap blog.

Despite what I said about meat substitutes, Cauldron veggie sausages are excellent.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 15-Feb-18 08:47:16

Agree with you about the Cauldron Sausages, bike.

They freeze brilliantly too and are far less salty than the Linda McCartney ones.

Footle Thu 15-Feb-18 09:18:32

Hummus, tahini, nuts and nut butters.

franktheskank Thu 15-Feb-18 14:22:41

I think quorn is disgusting so won't be buying that, I'd rather not just replace everything with meat substitutes. I always cook meals from scratch so won't change just because she's not eating meat.

We probably only eat vegetarian food once a week if that, usually chicken or fish, occasionally beef or lamb.

Today she had porridge with milk and a tomato and mozzarella sandwich for lunch and a yogurt. Still quite dairy/carb heavy I think it is the protein that needs more work.

She's not keen on beans and pulses unless it's bean chilli in a wrap/quesadilla, but I just need to experiment and try new things I'm sure she'll find something she'll like.

franktheskank Thu 15-Feb-18 14:26:19

I didn't leave her out of the meals on purpose it's just that I wasn't sure how long it was going to last and I'm not the kind of person who cooks different meals for different kids, I don't mind making something then taking hers out before I put meat in iykwim, for example I made a butternut squash and bacon risotto the other day and usually I fry the bacon before the onions at the beginning but I left it out and used veg stock instead of chicken then added bacon to ours in the end. That didn't seem like a hassle at all.

Ricekrispie22 Thu 15-Feb-18 15:08:54

Sainsburys do some lovely frozen vegetarian food. We like the spicy bean burgers or the Indian lentil burgers. The Indian ones are lovely in a bun with melting paneer cheese and a dollop of mango chutney. Recently I got some gorgeous Tesco beetroot and feta croquettes. Mmmmm.....
I never used to buy the other nut butters because they were too expensive but Tesco have started making their own almond butter. I blitz some in the food processor with some raspberries which makes a delicious toast or porridge topping.

TulipsInABlueVase Thu 15-Feb-18 15:15:31

Why do you think Quorn is disgusting? If your DD wants to be vegetarian for ethical reasons, I would let her try it. Quorn ham and chicken can be sandwich fillings.

If you cook things like spaghetti bolagnase and lasagne, you could replace the meat with Quorn mince for everyone.

For salads, you could do a pasta salad. Pesto pasta with pine nuts is nice (not all pesto is vegetarian though). You could put the pasta with salad and cous cous.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 15-Feb-18 15:52:27

I think the problem you may have with just taking the protein out of her dinner and giving her the rest is that you risk her having an unbalanced diet.

You come across as resentful that your DD has made a choice about what she eats. Hence your comment about quorn - while it probably shouldn’t form a major part of her diet, it’s a shame you won’t let her try it just because you don’t like it (have you actually tried it?).

What’s your view on eating more vegetarian meals as a family? Eating meat almost every day as you say you do is quite uncommon these days - you may find all benefit from a less meat-heavy diet.

franktheskank Thu 15-Feb-18 16:04:04

I have tried it and don't like the texture, and isn't it just processed crap?

I don't mind her being vegetarian at all I actually think it's lovelysmile part of me would like to do it for ethical reasons but I just like chicken and fish too much, could easily live without red meat and we don't eat it that often. I do buy organic local chicken but they're still dead animals t the end of the day! Makes me feel a tiny better they've had a good life though.

I'm not really interested in cooking vegetarian for all of us anymore than I already do. Breakfasts and lunches are usually eggs/porridge/omelette/soup or salad so not too worried about eating too much meat.

franktheskank Thu 15-Feb-18 16:06:34

I'm not just taking the protein out of her diet hmmI said I did for the first few days because I wasn't sure if it was a phase that wouldn't last and I'm not cooking different meals for everyone but I don't mind slight adjustments

She does love peanut butter and hummus, eggs are a good source of protein aren't they?

RosyfingeredDawn Thu 15-Feb-18 16:07:37

Read this before you eat Quorn. It's put me off!

franktheskank Thu 15-Feb-18 16:08:13

Why about tofu? I cook a lot of Japanese food usually fish based but could use that.

Footle Thu 15-Feb-18 16:27:47

Veggie at 8, vegan at 11 in these parts. Takes a bit more thought.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 15-Feb-18 16:31:34

Yes, quorn is processed crap made in a factory, like many other foods we eat every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been vegetarian for over 30 years and I’m not a fan of quorn, it just seems a shame that you’re not even allowing her to try it because you don’t like it.

And it’s a shame you’re not interested in cooking more vegetarian food as that’s bound to restrict what she’s able to eat, once you factor in not cooking more than one meal a night and not letting her eat something because you don’t like it.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 15-Feb-18 16:34:24

Yes, peanut butter, humous (home-made is better than made-in-a-factory salt-laden supermarket versions) and eggs are good sources of protein but I can imagine they’d be difficult to use if you’re only willing to make “slight adjustments” to your meat-based meals.

OutyMcOutface Thu 15-Feb-18 16:40:07

You may want to see a nutritionist. Unlike animal proteins, a lot of vegetable proteins are unavailable to humans so if you decide to go down the beans and lentils route you may have to feed her a lot more than you would normally consider a suitable quantity of protein. You also have to ensure that you cover other nutrients that she is missing out on. For example iron can be made up with iron fortified milks or naturally through foods like apples, dried apricots, seasame and spinach. There are lots of resources on the internet for adult vegetarians but I'm not sure about childhood vegetarians (obviously quantities are different for children) but there must be some kind of professional that can advise you.

OutyMcOutface Thu 15-Feb-18 16:43:25

Oh and I'm with you on the quorn. We often have it (DH is vegetarian and I keep him company) but I don't like the idea of feeding it to our children. A lot of it is really salty and generally reminiscent of cheap meat. I doubt it's particularly healthy.

ivenoideawhatimdoing Thu 15-Feb-18 16:59:36

There’s all sorts of meat replaces that aren’t quorn but I don’t think it is what it used to be. Yes it is processed but aren’t most things? The quorn fishless fingers are excellent and there are loads of supermarket meat alternatives for once a week or so. They are usually fortified with additional nutrients such as B12 and fibre which will benefit her.

I’d advise getting her some vitamins for kids, that way you don’t need to worry about what she’s eating.

Get her involved, if she’s old enough to make the decision then help her make wise choices and pick meals she’ll like. I think the risotto is a good call! Add some green veg for additional nutrients.

Alternatively, you’ll be shocked at what you can blend lentils to. Gram for gram they have more protein than chicken, I like to blend lentils in with all my sauces for added protein (Vegan) and you can’t taste them and depending on your blender you don’t notice the consistency.

Aside from that just carry on with her favourites, as a nation we are obsessed with protein but we don’t need as much as we think. 8 year olds need 19 grams a day. An egg and two slices of higher protein toast and she will be on her way there. It just needs a bit of education and googling.

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