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How to do vegetarian healthily...

(13 Posts)
Tinkjon Thu 02-Jul-09 12:15:18

DD (nearly 6.5) wants to be a vegetarian. All fine and dandy but she won't eat nuts/peanut butter/houmous or beans! Can you do vegetarianism healthily without these?! <hopes> I could probably invent something with ground nuts in it but that's a bit of a faff, and she'll only eat baked beans (though sometimes can get a few kidney beans down her - very hit and miss though). Is there any way she could get enough protein from baked beans, cheese, avocado, egg, lentils and Quorn? I can't think of anything else with veggie protein in... it does feel very limited when I've been used to giving her a wide variety of meat and fish.

Also, she's been eating a lot of Quorn and that's been her main protein recently - is that ok? I always make sure it's cooked with oil so the calories are bumped up but is it ok to eat it several times a week?

And my last question, what's that thing that has Omega 3 in, is it flax oil? Or flax seed? (I haven't tried her with Quinoa in ages but I'm sure she wouldn't eat it). She's always loved oily fish so I need a replacement for that now...

Very grateful for any advice!

Tinkjon Thu 02-Jul-09 12:25:33

I also meant to add that I haven't tried her with tofu yet but I'm doubtful that she''d like the texture. I've just been reading up on it and read that soya/TVP is an excellent thing for veggie nutrition - where can I find that, other than in tofu form? I've only ever seen Quorn in the meat-free aisles, not seen any soya stuff...

HensMum Thu 02-Jul-09 12:30:42

soya/TVP will be available in health food shops. The dried stuff you have to re-hydrate is pretty minging though. If your daughter is used to Quorn she may not like it but it's cheap so worth a try.

You can get silken tofu which can be added to soups, milkshakes etc. Again health food shops would probably be the best source.

Would she eat soya beans?

Tinkjon Thu 02-Jul-09 12:35:24

Hensmum, thanks - I didnt actually know you could buy soya beans! What are they, like a kidney bean sort of bean or like a pulse? She may do - it's trial and error, really.

reikizen Thu 02-Jul-09 12:41:09

Both my two are veggie (as am I) and I have to admit to not worrying about the balance of protein etc as life is very short and they will eat what they eat at the end of the day! What is the worst that will happen if she doesn't eat tons of protein? I understand that protein needs are automatically met by a balanced, varied diet and that there is even protein in potatoes. Omega 3 & 6 are found in linseed oil (yuk) green leafy veg, tofu, nuts and nut oils, avocados and olive oil. None of which my 5 yo has ever eaten and appears to be normal and healthy! We do eat a lot of quorn which again has little fat in it so a good thing. Soya stuff is a bit chewy and not so nice imo. Good luck, it sounds like she is a thoughtful, intelligent girl who knows her mind!

fizzpops Thu 02-Jul-09 12:41:53

I would have a look at the Vegetarian Society's website and maybe contact them.

It is important to ensure enough iron in the diet as well. In a vegetarian diet Vit c helps absorption of iron.

According to AK too much bulky fibre should be avoided for children as it is 'too low in calories and hinders their absorption of iron'.

She lists things to include:

Dairy products
eggs
beans
lentils
fortified breakfast cereals
beans and pulses (eg lentils, soya - tofu)
Green vegetables
dried fruit

obviously amongst others!

Is there a reason for her decision that you can discern? It may be worth explaining how important these things are for a balanced diet - it is all too easy to rely on cheese and end up with a diet high in saturated fat.

As a side benefit I believe that giving up meat has made me more aware of food and its benefits or negatives than I would have been otherwise. I gave up meat aged 16 and my Mum told me I had to cook my own meals (presumably thinking it would put me off!) and so I learnt for myself what I needed, what was nice and to try not to rely on loads of Quorn etc (I do like Quorn and eat it regularly). It could be a good opportunity for your daughter to learn something that will keep her healthy throughout her life.

HensMum Thu 02-Jul-09 13:26:35

Soya beans are brilliant! We get frozen ones and use them mainly as side dish, like peas but I'm sure you could use them in all kinds of recipes. DP and I love them, DS is not so keen but he's gone off a lot of veg recently.

dittany Thu 02-Jul-09 13:36:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sarah293 Thu 02-Jul-09 13:57:42

Message withdrawn

Tinkjon Thu 02-Jul-09 18:21:21

"Is there a reason for her decision that you can discern?"

Yes - bloomin' school books She read one called What Do We Eat and then understood what meat actually is.

janeite Thu 02-Jul-09 18:26:40

DD1 was veggie from birth to four and is now veggie again, having been demi-vege in between. It's complicated by the fact that she won't eat cheese unless nagged and only eats eggs in the form of omelettes.

She did, however, always love red lentils which are great as a pasta sauce, soup, patties etc. She will also happily eat bean burgers, even though not fond of beans (not even baked beans!). She also likes tofu and eats it in stir fries. cashew nuts are good in stir fries to add protein, as are omelette strips.

Frozen soya beans are brilliant too, especially if barely cooked so that they stay crunchy.

edam Thu 02-Jul-09 18:28:01

Second advice to look at Vegetarian Society website.

Use quinoa instead of rice, full of protein. Does she like Marmite, btw? Has vit B12 which is otherwise tricky to get from veggie sources.

saintmaybe Thu 02-Jul-09 18:40:16

I stir ground almonds into loads of things, sauces etc

The list you gave sounds like plenty; people don't need as much protein as most of us eat in the west

not keen on Quorn myself; so many people get sick when they eat it that I've seen it described as 'low-level toxic' (though, uselessly, I can't remember where). Seems a bit of a non-food to me

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