Help- new vegetarians in the house!

Last week, two of them announced that they are now vegetarians.

It went down roughly like this:

Me: Why aren’t you eating your soup? (soup, of course, being Owen’s favorite food)

Owen: I think I need to become a vegetarian. [tears spill into his soup]

Me: Can you tell me a little more about that?

Owen: I just read this book where the animals… [More tears. He can’t continue.]

Moriah: Me too! [no tears] I’m going to be a vegetarian, too!

So I have one Vegetarian for Reasons of Conscience (which I completely respect and support) and one Food Fad Follower (not so much respect or support…)

All this happened right before I left for Chicago. My friend (who is doing Whole30 right now) arrived with her 3 children (who can’t eat pasta or rice or bread) to entertain and care for my kids while I was at the funeral.

I left her with two pans of marinated chicken and two children who would only eat pasta or rice or bread.

Anyhow… we’ve been changing up our food. I hard-boiled two dozen eggs on Monday and made some lentils as a add-in-protein for our salads and pastas. I checked out a bunch of books and magazines from the library and asked the kids to go through them and choose some recipes that looked go to them.

Owen picked strawberry-rhubarb slab pie” and Moriah picked “coconut custard crèmes.”
This is what I found when I came home from work this week.  I’m not sure they are entering into this adventure quite seriously.

So I need some help.

Can you recommend some resources for an 11 year-old and a 9 year-old on how to eat healthy as a vegetarian?  I have adult-friendly ones, but nothing age appropriate, and pasta-with-a-side-of-raw-vegetables is going to get old fast.




13 thoughts on “Help- new vegetarians in the house!

  1. Hmm… there are quite a few healthy, delicious vegetarian recipes in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Foods cookbooks. I think those recipes would be easy for kids to prepare. They are not really categorized under vegetarian, so they’d have to look through. The good thing though is there are pictures of every recipe, which make it more fun to search (IMO). You can also use her website, which is easy to search.

    I don’t know if there are kid friendly books on HOW to eat vegetarian… Maybe we just need to remind them of the basics… show them what, besides meat and eggs, has protein.

    I say we are flexatarian… vegetarian many meals, but we eat meat a 2-4 times a week. Black beans, cheese, nuts, avocados, yogurt… all our friends.

    I’ve been mulling over the Whole30. I’m not usually a dieter, but I am feeling like I need to do SOMETHING. It’s the letting go of dairy that is scaring me. I can do no grains and no sugar. But butter and cheese… I love butter and cheese. Which is probably why I feel the need to do something. 😉

  2. Alternately, you can teach them how/where to get ethically and responsibly raised meats, and explain how they are different from conventionally raised meats. And then only eat those meats. They can be cost prohibitive, which is the true reason our family eats vegetarian for many of our meals. We split it because I still enjoy meat and I believe it’s healthy for us, but for reasons of conscience, I can’t stomach conventionally raised meat.

    • As you know, this is what we’ve tried to do for most of his life (I have a WHOLE Monroe hog coming this fall!) but the book he read really had an impact, and I was trying to find some sort of YA Animal-Vegetable-Miracle for him… his only reference outside of us is Charlotte’s Web, and as far as I am concerned, Wilbur was fairly humanely sourced.

  3. The Low-Fat cookbook we use (1000 Low-fat recipes by Golson?) has good vegetarian options. Did we give that one to you?

  4. I was going to suggest getting the pricy meat you know was treated well – but I think you are already doing that, and Anisa said it well.

    My in-laws have found the Forks Over Knives cookbook has many yummy recipes – finally a health scheme with some chefs in the background.

    Doesn’t it seem like everyone develops inconvenient concerns right when there is travel or mourning to do? But later it turns into good stories, at least after whatever is brewing calms down and we all sleep.

  5. Oh my Anne! Bless your Owen’s little heart. Do they like Indian food? Lot of veggie options there. We are not vegetarian but try to do meatless days once a week. I also LOVE my crock pot and have tried a few recipes from this site:
    PS was really so comforting seeing you and so many other Lawndale friends last week. My little boy has been singing “there’s a hole in the world tonight” as he drives his cars around the furniture. Chokes me up every time.

  6. Indian food is a great idea! I wish I had something better to offer. Anything I come up with sounds like trying to convert him back to meat. lol. Wish I could help more. Have you tried the Moosewood cookbooks?
    On the up side, there are lots of yummy vegetarian soups! 😉

  7. Hi Ann, I’m emerging from my lurker status to comment. 🙂 I’m the managing editor at The Well and I’ve been enjoying your blog for awhile! We homeschool our 6- and 8-year-old daughters and I love reading about how your family manages your school and life.

    Mollie Katzen (of the Moosewood cookbooks) has a few cookbooks for kids that our little ones have enjoyed. I found this one for kids 8 and up that might be just right for your family:

    We often eat vegetarian meals at home. Favorites in our rotation are: bean & rice burritos, quiche, eggs, vegetarian chili, tortellini soup, marinated tofu (grilled or broiled, depending on the weather), grilled cheese & tomato soup, pizza, stuffed pasta shells, lasagna, quesadillas, pitas with hummus and olives and feta (a “mediterranean plate”).

    We love this recipe for Melissa Clark’s Red Lentil Soup with Lemon: I’m crazy about Melissa Clark’s cookbooks, and she has lots of vegetarian ideas.

    I often like to serve new things (soups or what have you) accompanied by a favorite bread (such as biscuits, popovers, or a warmed baguette). I figure that even if no one likes the soup, at least they won’t go hungry.

    Also, do you know this food blog? The Kitchn ( has lots of wonderful ideas for vegetarian cooking, many of which are kid-friendly.

    Good luck with your menu-planning!

I love reading your comments! Thanks for visiting.

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