Monday, March 24, 2014

Raising A Born Vegetarian

When Amelia was born she did not come out with a tag on her that said 'vegetarian baby', but she was definitely born a vegetarian. I should use the correct term for the type of vegetarian she is... Ovo-lacto vegetarianism. Now I know she is still little and her tastes will more than likely change hundreds of times in her life... but for now, this is where we find her.

(ovo-lacto vegetarianism: a vegetarian who does not eat animal flesh of any kind, but consumes dairy and egg products - source Wikipedia)

Mark and I made all of Amelia's baby food. I think we bought around 15 jars of baby food total. Baby food is incredibly easy to make. We steamed a lot of vegetables, made up blended fruit mixtures and even tried throwing some rice and meat in there. As a baby she ate everything... everything except meat. I tried homemade baby food with chicken and I bought jars of baby food with meat. She would take one bite and spit it out, even if the mixture had other things she loved. We don't push meat on her or try to make her choke it down. She's just a vegetarian at the moment, and we are fine with that.

A lot of people ask how we maintain a healthy diet for someone so little who doesn't eat a lot of things. She is fairly picky in general, but she eats well and is incredibly healthy. Finding other forms of protein for her has been a priority. She doesn't like nuts, but she likes nut butters. She doesn't like scrambled eggs, but she will eat the whites of a hard boiled egg. She also hates a lot of things that most little kids love, such as pizza and most pastas. She does try new foods often, but refuses to try anything with meat. It would definitely be easier if she was a meat eater since Mark and I both eat meat, but we're okay it as long as she gets all of the nutrients and vitamins that she needs and is a healthy little girl.

Our go to protein for Amelia: 
peanut butter or almond butter
hard boiled eggs (whites only)
cheese
yogurt (usually Greek yogurt)
milk (she gets one cup in the mornings)
seeds

Typical day for Amelia:
Breakfast: yogurt, cereal with milk or toast with nut butter and fruit
Snack: cheese, apple, carrots, lettuce (plain without dressing)
Lunch: pb&j, crackers with peanut butter, veggies and fruit, green smoothie, eggs
Snack: fruit leather, cheese, avocado
Dinner: a combination of any of the above stuff.

I know a lot of parents have their children eat whatever they eat, regardless of whether or not they like it. Each situation is different and each parent needs to do what's right for their child. This is just what works for us. Mark and I do eat a lot of chicken and we could try forcing her to eat it with us, but I'm more concerned with her eating a healthy meal than her eating meat. If it was something she had liked, but had only recently turned her nose up... I would probably approach the situation differently. This little girl has hated all meat since she was 6 months, so we adjust accordingly.

A couple of questions for my amazing readers...
Any other parents out there with vegetarian children? How do you ensure they have healthy meals?

Any meatless recipes with a lot of protein you'd care to share?

3 comments:

  1. I don't have any vegetarian children, but living with a vegetarian myself, I know it's plenty of protein in other foods besides meat. Besides nuts, peas, edamame, tofu, quinoa, chickpeas, and tofu are our go tos. I particularly like the ease of easily throwing in frozen peas or frozen shelled edamame into stuff, particularly making pestos and hummus (edamame hummus rocks!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This just means your child will be spared the anomaly that is "Spaghetti-Os"...which is perfectly fine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So interesting that she doesn't like meat of any kind! It seems like you are doing a great job balancing her meals out so that she is happy and healthy and getting enough protein and nutrients!

    ReplyDelete