Easy vegetarian meals suitable for toddlers?(25 Posts)
Does anyone have some good suggestions for veggie meals my toddler might like? Ideally something protein rich as she seems to be living off bread and pasta at the moment. She is a bit of a fussy eater and I never seem to have much time to cook so I'm short of ideas.
She refuses eggs so omelettes are out, but I can do recipes that contain egg as long as its disguised!
What about sweet corn fritter type things ? Mix together some flour, sweetcorn and an egg and fry them in a little oil. They don't look like omlettes but still have a whole egg in them. My son loved them with a bit of tomato ketchup.
I also used to make him a nice lentil and sweet potato soup.
If she is living off bread and pasta, how is she getting iron?
Must be really challenging to feed a toddler a healthy diet when they are vegetarian and fussy eaters.
I used to make my iron deficient toddler macaroni egg.
Cook macaroni, boil egg and chop into very small pieces, and stir into pasta, and drizzle grated cheese over. He loved it.
Scrambled eggs were also popular. Especially if I had chunks of wholemeal bread in.
My Dd loves risotto.
It's easy to eat with a spoon, and you can put so many things in, here's her favourite protein rich version:
Risotto rice with quinoa (add at the same time as rice), quorn pieces, peas, spinach,sweetcorn, broccoli and courgette, and scrambled egg cut up small and stirred in at the end with gratedccheese and butter.
How about veggie sausages also?
And veggie mince sticks to pasta so she'd get some of that in a pasta dish.
... Ooh and I smuggle cream cheese into her marmite sandwiches, she can't tell the difference!
Cook some Puy lentils (or green/brown lentils) in as little water as possible so the result isn't too soupy. Crumble/melt in feta, parsley and roasted red pepper pesto to taste. (For a small toddler if you're concerned about salt, just use a bit of tomato paste, or leave out.) Puree with immersion blender. I used to leave it out on the stove overnight to let more water evaporate. I served as puree or on pasta/couscous.
Then I started doing basically the same thing with red lentils, sweet potato and cheddar. I add a can of tomatoes sometimes, and if I'm really feeling virtuous I start by sauteing an onion in the pot.
I puree but my DD won't eat anything with a bean texture -- might not be necessary for you. Sometimes I whiz in some spinach. . . I used to freeze these in toddler-meal-size portions, so it takes a bit of time to make but you get many, many meals out of it if you make a big batch.
What about pancakes? They are pretty high in egg/milk, and a nutritious filling would make it a good meal.
My DD used to love courgette pancakes -- similar to the corn fritters described above.
My 3 year old adores this. Obviously leave out the lamb if you want it veggie. We very often have the veggie version. He sometimes leaves out the chickpeas but eats everything else. Serve with some warm pitta bread.
He also likes really simple puff pastry tarts. Lay one sheet of ready rolled puff pastry on some greaseproof paper on a baking sheet. Top with something delicious and bake in the oven. Popular toppings in this house include: spinach and ricotta, cheese and onion (soften the onion in a pan first, and add whatever kind of cheese you like), tomato and mozzarella, roast peppers and onions, etc. The latter two can also be produced with a layer of pesto spread underneath the topping.
Veg tagine with sweet potato, butternut squash, carrot dried apricots and chickpeas. You can use quinoa instead of cous cous for extra protein. Spice with some turmeric, cumin and paprika.
I used to do DS little pancakes made with spinach in the batter. I also made the batter a bit thicker than normal, and cooked them to be about half normal size. He'd eat them plain, or with a bit of melted cheese on top, or with a smiley face drawn on with ketchup .
Also mini-veggie burgers: red lentils cooked with vegetable stock until it's all absorbed then whizzed up in a food processor (with some sun-dried tomatoes in oil for extra flavour, or just a little oil), mixed with bread crumbs, shaped into burgers & fried in a little oil.
French toast was also a quick stand-by.
poppy, there is very little iron in bread. An almost negligible amount in wholemeal.
If not eating meat, it is even harder. But spinach, broccoli, baked beans, raisins (although sugary), red currants, black currants and blueberries are good sources of iron. I reckon there is some in lentils and pulses. And eggs.
I had such a hard time with my son, as I had to build up his iron levels from scratch through diet alone as he turned out to be allergic to ferrum. He did not want to eat lamb and beef which would have been natural sources for iron.
Not helped by iron absorption stopped by calcium, as found in milk and dairy. Aided by orange juice, which he did not like.
Sorry for going on. Not the topic of this thread!
Lentil dahl with rice
Jacket potatoes with various fillings
DD likes Red Dragon Pie - but that's beany so maybe not for you
Tomato & lentil pasta sauce
Quiche? Or is that too eggy?
Are you vegetarian for ethical reasons?
I only ask because DD stopped eating meat when she was very young, under 4 for because she didn't want animals to die. Because I'm not vegetarian I struggled to get the protein in her she needed. I explained this and we agreed she'd eat fish until she was old enough to cook for herself. It's definitely easier if you can include fish, but apologies if it's not appropriate.
Otherwise try scrambled eggs, storing an egg through pasta to make a carbonara like sauce or baked beans. DD is 16 now, very healthy and practically vegan, BTW!
Thank you, loads of great ideas here! I had been stuck in a rut because I try to do family meals that we will all eat together, but tbh she eats dinner earlier than us most nights now so I really should be batch cooking and freezing things for her so I know she will always have something to eat.
I made red lentil burgers today, got the thumbs up from dd so that's a great start.
For those with comments about iron - yes I do worry about this too, she does have ready break most mornings and this has added iron but I know she needs more! I can sneak spinach into pasta fairly easily and I might try to make savoury spinach pancakes too and see if she will eat them.
We are vegetarian for ethical reasons, I have thought about giving dd meat but its not easy when we don't normally have it in the house, I wouldn't know how to cook it anyway!
Purequintessence - just re read your post - I didn't know blueberries are high in iron, dd would eat blueberries all day long if I let her!
Anything with mash - sausages (I like the quorn ones).
Shepherdess pie (any veggies sauteed with fresh tomns, then topped with mash.
Baked beans on toast (food of the gods)
Couscous/quinoa with loads of lovely veggies inside (sultanas/apricots if you really must)
Stir fry with rice or noodles
Tofu (Wagamama style)
Beamer - what's red dragon pie? Beany is fine for dd (although not this week apparently, this week everything gets thrown on the floor)
We're veggie too and I put my most popular, toddler-rated veggie recipes here:
broccoliandricecakes.wordpress.com. Have a browse around as I hope you'll find it useful. I list what my daughter liked and the nutritional highlights for each recipe. I was keen to make sure that she gets enough iron and protein so did a bit of research about then and put them up on the blog too nutritional info about protein.
To encourage my daughter to eat egg (she also isn't a big fan), I make this
vegetable and noodle soup and she happily slurps down the egg.
This moroccan carrot and chickpea stew will probably also be a hit because it is quite sweet and flavoursome but also very easy to make.
This is similar to how I make it - basically you make a mixture that is 1/3 aduki beans, 1/3 onion/carrot/celery chopped small and fried together and 1/3 cooked bulgar wheat (this recipe suggests rice which is fine too) flavoured with herbs, black pepper, soy and tomato puree. Cook it together for about 30 minutes, then either eat on it's own or topped like shepherds pie - with potato or sweet potato mashed and baked in the oven. I like to use dark soy and add an extra splash when it's cooked - it gives it a sweetish flavour.
DD has eaten this happily since a small tot, although she prefers it without the potato topping, she'd rather have it with mash on the side - she's not keen on mixed up foods. This meal seems to be quite popular with meat eaters too.
Helpyourself - my DD is the same, we're not a vegetarian family either but she has refused meat from as soon as she knew where it came from!
DD 19m is veggie. today she ate tofu with tomatoes and cheese. Try Quorn too its full of protein and versatile.
I do a lentil and tomato bolognaise which my kids love. It's got a good squirt of ketchup in it.
Toasted chopped nuts on top of stuff is a good way to get vitamins, protein and all sorts into them and they are tasty.
Eggy bread is quick and good protein wise. You can put peanut butter on it too (I serve with cucumber and carrots etc).
Can you add things like peas to pasta pesto? You can also put in a big spoonful of ground almonds as well as sprinkling with cheese.
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