Only since LAST Feb 2015 which is now over a year, my husband became vegetarian and with the girls we made the decision to do it officially starting Jan 1st. I have been vegetarian 18 years. And now vegan.
Being married to Wayne, health and fitness fanatic we have always had to give a tremendous amount of thought into what was on our dinner plates. I’ve always had a prime focus on the nutritional content of what landed on our plates, although not always easy.
For a while, we still bought meat for the girls but wasn’t before long Eden-Star said she didn’t like meat – only sausage (which isn’t really meat is it ? ? and sometimes chicken ...So me and Wayne had a chat and decided to exclude it from their diets completely. Why a person chooses to not eat meat is very personal.
Here are a few examples of how a vegetarian family eat.
Be warned, its not easy we don’t all sit down to a plate of salad and vegetables, most 6 year olds including Eden-Star don’t like vegetables etc! There are some days where i am cooking 3 different lots of food.
What does a vegetarian family eat?
Well, pretty much everything except meat, our meals consist of beans , lentils, chickpeas, veggies, fruit, grains, pasta, nuts. I also blend a lot of these hidden into the sauces so that the girls don’t spot the onion, mushrooms and beans or anything else that represents a vegetable.
As i write the shopping list I ask if anyone wants anything special, any special dinner, snacks etc, this way gets Eden-Star involved. If we got a a shop that only sells Organic foods then Eden-Star and Angel both have a trolley each and are allowed to put in anything they want! Great fun, they love it. Plus when we go to a ‘normal supermarket’ Eden-Star is conscious and often asks as she reaches for something to put in the trolley if its healthy, we then say yes or no with an explanaition to why. Eggs are popular nutrient choice in our home (i avoid eggs) but eggs can be made into so many different dishes, and even in pancakes and the girls love pancakes (they actually only like them plain which isn’t our influence, thats their choice! )
Eating out and take aways are more of a challenge, often the girls go for pizza, chips, veggie burgers, cheese pies, halluom sticks , onion rings and so on, not so healthy but vegetartian.
We also eat a lot of fresh food. I actually pick up fresh ingredients daily too.
In the UK we have registered for an allotment to show the girls how our food is grown and where it comes from. Along with visiting markets and as a family, we hope to educate them – no doubt this will be one one of our favourite activities, they already love doing this when we visit UK so will become more of a regular thing once we move back.
Where do you get your protein?
First of all, these foods have more protein than a portion of meat ? People have a ridiculous theory that only protein is in meat! Erm couldn’t be anymore wrong. It was only as settlers moved to areas where there wasn’t plants, fruits etc growing that they had to hunt for food.
Here are a list of food that contain more protein that meat:
▪ Spirulina. Per ounce, this food is 65 percent protein, the highest amount of protein percentage of all foods. …
▪ Spinach. …
▪ Hemp Seeds. …
▪ Broccoli. …
▪ Almonds, Almond Butter or Peanut Butter.
Our meals include lots of beans, whole grain pastas, and leafy greens. We started to use almond milk over cow’s milk, but apart from me the family continue to have cheese and yogurt that is also a source of protein. My husband trains so takes Vegan protein supplements (lots of extra vitamins etc too )
Where do you get your iron?
This was actually my biggest issue, the iron for the girls more so than me. As i said i cook with lots of beans and lentils ( blended ) potatoes and i keep up the vitamin c so that the girls absorb iron. Eggs and cheese too. Most dinners i sprinkle grated cheese on- children tend to love cheese.
How about other valuable nutrients?
I throw in lots of superfoods into my cooking like chia seeds.
The girls also take ferrum phos tissue salts, and a ’ vegetartian ‘multivitamin.
So what about friends and family? What do they think?
They don’t say much, my sister in law often asks what our current eating habits are ! hehe As for mum i sometimes they’re not sure what to feed us so often i sort it myself when we visit. Often we take snacks too. And now when Eden-Star has a playdate often the mums know or ask what she doesnt eat – this then gives me the initiative to tell them we are raising the girls vegetarian and i always offer to bring / take food. However if Eden-Star chooses a meat option, thats totally ok, we teach her to make her own decisions. Our first ‘family vegetarian Christmas dinner was this Christmas 2015 – My husband Wayne didn’t miss meat in the slightest . We had everything other than meat dishes. Although we don’t actually eat meat substitutes i did buy us a ‘quorn joint’!
Do you miss meat?
Most common question behind how we get our protein. For me the answer is no, I don’t miss it. My husband says the same, although barbecues are challenging as often they aren’t any non meat friendly dishes, however the last BBQ he headed to the potato salad and bread and said was actually fine. As for the girls, Angel is too early to miss it (she is 18 months ) Eden-Star on the other hand might want to choose meat at some point if we are eating out, right now if you ask her she says she only likes sausage anyway (which i stated early isn’t really meat is it ?
Eating this way isnt hard, but making sure the family is getting adequate nutrition is whats challenging. Throughout this site you will see the reality of it though – not all children like to sit at the table and chew on lettuce leaves and avocados ;-)…