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Helping a Child Become Vegetarian

My 11 year old son has decided to cut meat out of his diet and become a vegetarian. I want to support him in this endeavor. My younger son has declared himself an omnivore so we don't have the option to change all meals for the family.


We don't eat a lot of meat and I can certainly make vegetarian versions of dinner recipes such as lasagna or soup, or serve the meat part on the side. But it is a challenge for sure.

I'm running out of ideas that are appealing for kids, especially for lunchtime. We pack lunches every day and PBJ sandwiches get old fast. I also want ideas for vegetarian dinners that the whole family will enjoy.

Thanks so much!

By Jessica from Hillsboro, OR

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January 25, 20120 found this helpful

I personally don't eat meat or poultry, but I do eat fish, eggs and dairy products. So I believe I'll be able to answer your question. It's very important to have some type of protein in your diet and fish is very important and can take the place of meat. Your 11 year old son is wise and probably won't suffer heart disease in his later years.


There are companies that make soy food products. I've used Light Life soy crumbles in place of hamburger in chili recipes and you can't tell the difference in the taste. Also I have purchased soy lunch meats in the larger grocery stores that carry these foods. Boca sells veggie burgers, soy chicken patties, soy sausage, soy bacon, etc.

Call some grocery stores in your area and ask if they sell soy products.

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January 25, 20120 found this helpful

The websites also have recipes.

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January 25, 20120 found this helpful

Hi! My kids enjoyed quick breads and muffins in place of daily sandwiches when they were in school. The breads can have walnuts or pecans in them, or the nuts can be omitted. Banana, pumpkin, carrot raisin, blueberry and cornbread were some of their favorites. The nuts will add protein to the vegetarian diet. Egg salad sandwiches or a mini cheese platter with an assortment of cheeses, nuts, and apricots or grapes is another nice lunch. Bananas and plantain are also very good.


Taco and enchilada dinners are easy to serve with or without meat, and the beans are an excellent source of protein. Be sure to serve rice along with them. Pizza, quesadillas, baked potatoes and macaroni and cheese are also easily made with or without meat. Crepes and omelettes can be served for any meal and stuffed with just about anything. Hope this helps. Good luck and good health to you and your family.

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January 26, 20120 found this helpful

All the above ideas are great! Also trail mix is something our grandkids, kids & husband love. Easy to make & tailor to each person's preferences. Any dried fruit you like, your preference of any mix of unsalted nuts (we like to roast certain ones), coconut if you like, etc. You can even add some dairy-free chocolate chips if you want to think of it as a sweet treat. It's quick, portable you can let your imagination run wild as well as individualize for a lunch box or snack treat.

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January 27, 20120 found this helpful

Jess, Here are a couple of links with oodles of vegetarian sandwich ideas:

http://www.cook … -00412000072071/

http://vegetari … es_and_Wraps.htm

And here's a link that should give you ideas of what to prepare and about nutrition for a growing vegetarian child:

http://www.bett … ets_and_children

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January 27, 20120 found this helpful

You can make a delicious sandwich from avocado slices, bean sprouts, cheese, and a thick layer of humus. You can use the flavored humus. You can also add red peppers and lettuce. You would make this out of sandwich rolls so it would hold all the ingredients.

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