How We Are Going Vegetarian With A Toddler

Well. Vegetarian-ish. By now you should know how much I adore a good prime rib and we even considered vegan for a second, but then we remembered how much we really love dairy. Cheese makes me say, “Yes, please!”

I talked a little bit here about my family’s desire to go vegetarian and a few days into it, we are really, really liking the change. With a family history of diabetes (me!) and strokes (my husband!) this is a good move for us. Last night we made burritos with black beans, seasoned rice, and vegetables and Harrison chowed down. Tonight’s dinner plan is black bean burgers, sweet potatoes, and green beans and I admit that my tummy is rumbling already.

After chatting with a few gals on Twitter, it seems to me that a ton of mommas are interested in how to go vegetarian with a toddler. Even embracing it because it means no more fighting over meat texture, which is so common in toddlers. The hard part comes in finding new recipes that your family will embrace — even with that texture change. For example, Harrison isn’t wild about the texture of meat, but switching to eggplant in his spaghetti was a shock. Gone was the weird crumbly stuff that he didn’t care for, but what on earth was this slimy chunk? So it’s like anything related to food and toddlers — lots of patience, lots of frustration — but that’s just life with a three-year-old. Remember that.

  • The good stuff is in bread, too 1 of 6
    The good stuff is in bread, too
    Bread isn't just carbs and going straight to your hips - it can also be rich in nutrients and fiber and iron, as long as you pick whole-grain carbs.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Make sure he’s getting enough Vitamin C 2 of 6
    Make sure he's getting enough Vitamin C
    Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron and with the lack of meat in your diet, you'll need more to help with the absorption of plant-based iron. It's not a big deal - just be sure he's getting an orange as a snack, or tomato sauce on his spaghetti, or even a little juice in a cup for the really picky kid.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Sneak the veggies in 3 of 6
    Sneak the veggies in
    Do a mix of HEY, VEGGIES! on the plate and hiding them. Chop up carrots into spaghetti, but also serve a side salad. Blend spinach into a smoothie, but serve green beans with supper. Need to make it more appetizing? Toss a few mini-marshmallows on his sweet potato, or a little butter on his corn.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Watch dairy intake 4 of 6
    Watch dairy intake
    Milk can be an amazing source of calcium, Vitamin D, protein, etc. but be careful that he's not drinking TOO much. You don't want him filling up on milk and skipping dinner.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Serve stuff he likes 5 of 6
    Serve stuff he likes
    No-brainer, right? Hold off on the fancy tofu dinner and serve spaghetti with meatless meatballs. Make burritos with rice and beans. Make potato soup in the crock pot and keep the orzo and bleu cheese stuffed tomatoes for date night in.
  • Go vegetarian-ish 6 of 6
    Go vegetarian-ish
    Still worried about protein and iron? Serve meat occasionally. It's okay if you're not 100% in (we certainly are not!). Any little bit you do to reduce animal product intake helps the planet and your arteries.
    Photo Credit: Flickr


Article Posted 4 years Ago

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