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Friday, July 22, 2011

WTF!? (What the Tofurkey)- My Kid Just Became a Vegetarian

One of the 3 reminders I found dispersed
around my kitchen this morning after our
conversation about nutrition.

My daughter announced for the third time in two months that she wants to be a vegetarian. Like I need another dietary restriction in this house. We already have one with Celiac's Disease and an allergy to casein proteins, which means no gluten and no dairy, and it's a struggle to get my youngest to eat anything but pb&j or Spaghetti-O's. Why is it the one without any food allergies, intolerances or aversions has to do all the cooking and clean up? A dear friend had the brilliant idea that I go to Costco and buy a case of Ensure smoothies and call it a day. I'm seriously considering that, and hiring a personal chef.

"Are you sure?" I asked the first time, reminding her that she'd be without burgers and bacon. I suggested she think about it a while longer and see how she felt. The second time she asked, I countered with a suggestion that she try going without red meat for a while and then see how she felt about it. So yesterday she brought it up again. 

Why do I treat her request as if she'd asked me if she could get a lower back tattoo? It's certainly a healthy choice and better for the environment, better for the animals that won't be "ett" and also easier on my purse. These are all things I would hit the "Like" button for on Facebook. She has made an informed, healthy decision. So why my hesitancy? 

It's the inconvenience of cooking yet another specific meal three times a day and the time and energy to do the research to make sure it's done right, the hassle of trying finding kid-friendly vegetarian options at restaurants and the occasional fast food stop (is that even possible?), not to mention packing school lunches everyday. 

When I asked her why she wants to be a vegetarian, she simply stated, "Because, Mom, I can get everything my body needs from other foods without eating animals." Enough said. 
I'm diving in. Who knows, I may end up joining her if I can find a suitable replacement for pulled pork barbecue (Lexington-style, of course).

Tonight's dinner: Tofu Sloppy Joe's with mushrooms and red quinoa on whole wheat bun (+ one gluten-free bun) and a tall glass of vanilla almond milk. (sigh)

Now I'm off to look at "kid-friendly vegetarian recipes" online and buy stock in Morningstar Farms and Amy's (fyi, Morningstar veggie burgers like most other store-bought veggie burgers contain gluten). My veggie friends and my chef friends, please send me your tips, your favorite recipes and websites.


  1. uh oh. this would be hard at our house! we do usually have a meat free day a week... but schwooo. is there a veggie happy meal? ;)

  2. Invent it! You'd make a fortune. I'd buy it.

  3. How old is she? Can you enlist her and the others in making some of the meals? Or at least prepping parts?

  4. Kristi very easy choice... Indian food.... if she can take the spice

  5. Wendy, I'll have to go shopping with you sometime!

  6. Hey, Kristi! It's Kat from Forsyth Woman. I was vegetarian for a few years, and let me tell you, I got burned out on Morningstar Farm veg burgers after a while. There is a Morningstar alternative for beef crumbles that is okay if you're putting it in something that will give it more flavor. Here are some other options:

    - Stir fry. Could do two skillets -- one veg or tofu and the other with meat. These are so easy to make. I recommend heating sesame oil in the skillet along with a bit of soy sauce. Throw in your tofu or meat first and then a bag of frozen veggies. Add more soy sauce if you'd like, along with any spices (I recommend ginger, coriander, garlic, and a tiny bit of lemongrass or a liberal amount of Chinese spice blend). Serve with a side of rice.
    - Sandwiches: sauteed mushrooms and cheese (instead of just the plain grilled cheese), grilled veggies (zucchini and yellow squash sliced lengthwise with red onion), egg salad with lettuce (still one of my favorites), tomato & cheese & mayo, hummus and veggies, and tempeh and veggies (tempeh is one of the easiest meat substitutes to make, and I recently found tempeh strips that are flavored. One of them is maple bacon flavored)
    - Eggplant parm with pasta (it's so much better than it sounds!)
    - Spinach lasagna
    - Tacos or burritos with rice, black beans, and all the fixins

    There are all the ones that came to mind, but if you want more, let me know. And I can dig up some recipes if you want. Whole Foods has a lot of cheese alternatives if she's not eating dairy either. (I was vegan for a few months and found ways to make it work no matter where I went, so I can give more advice about that, too. Just let me know.)

    By the way, Indian food does not have to be spicy. My tolerance for spice is very low, so I get mine mild whenever my boyfriend and I go out to an Indian restaurant. Of course, if you buy frozen Indian meals, you'll want to watch out then; it's usually medium spice.

  7. Thanks Kat! You've just made me hungry! I'll definitely try your recommendations. And thanks for the follow.

  8. Jess, she's 7, so not much help, although I do have a kid-friendly veggie peeler & "knife" she uses on a few things.