8 Year Old Vegetarian

Updated on March 11, 2008
C.S. asks from Topeka, KS
16 answers

My 8 year old declared about two weeks ago that she was a vegetarian, and has not eaten meat since. Anyone have any recipes that are kid friendly and provide the essential nutrients she needs?

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answers from Topeka on

All of those suggestions are great! I would also say that if you go to Akins over in Brookwood (29th St.) that they will have a host of great products that will help you. Morningstar Farms stuff is great too, and TVP has come a long way. Good luck!



answers from St. Louis on

Look on Allrecipes.com...they have great recipes. I would think that as long as she is getting the recommended amount of protein every day, not eating meat may not be such a bad thing. Good luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

I'm not sure of any specific recipes but you might want to research PERFECT PROTIENS... the building blocks to a perfect protein are present in most foods however, only meat has combined all those blocks in one food. It is very important for strict VEGANs to eat combinations of foods ie. beans and certain grains make a perfect protien. Talk with her and see if she is set on no eggs, fish, dairy, etc. If she plans to eliminate all of the above you may need to see a nutrionist to get the best idea of what to feed her. However, if she is still eating dairy and eggs just be sure to include both in her diet, it will help a lot with getting all of her nutirents. Keep in mind too that replacing meat with grains and cheese does not make for balanced nutrition and she will likely gain weight (that's what I did when I was about that age, maybe 10; it took 2.5 yrs and 25lbs to realize I was better off eating meat). Being vegetarian can be one of the healthiest decisions she's made so long as you do keep her meals balanced-lot's of veggies! Also, I would consider joining a local CSA- it's farm sharing, and you get weekly deliveries of fresh fruits and veggies through the harvest season (6mo) for a reasonable price... having them around is an insurance policy to eating them! Good luck!

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answers from St. Louis on

This has a lot of good, kid friendly recipes, my daughter and I are both vegetarian, more on the vegan side (no dairy, eggs) and she's very healthy, I would recommend giving your daughter a childrens multivitamin that has B complex. She can get her protein from beans, nuts, seeds, etc. We really don't need as much protein as we think we do, so it shouldn't be a problem. You can make most of your everyday meals vegetarian by using meat substitues like boca crumbles or tofu, which will take on the flavor of anything you cook it with. Not only will your meals be cruelty free but much much healhier for you. Have fun experimenting!! :)
http://petakids.com/ is a good website for young kids who are into animal rights and cruelty free living.

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answers from St. Louis on

Hello, I have been a vegetarian for twenty years, and my seven year old daughte has never consumed meat. She loves Morning star farms Chick Nuggets, those are our easy meals. Rice and Beans offer complete protien, as does dairy, eggs, milk, and cheese. There ar all types of products on the marjet for vegetarians now, and finding food shouldn't be very haMOst recipes, you can just remove the meat, you could add beans, TVP, or some other meat alternative. I have no problems with my daughter's nutrition, and she's a very picky eater. If you want any ideas, for recipes, you could do a google search, I have some also if you would like, email me. Good luck.

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answers from St. Louis on

My daughter is semi-vegetarian. She will not eat any red meat. She will eat ham, bacon, chicken nuggets, and taco meat. We make her stuff that she likes with pork and beans, or other good protein item. Biggest problem is that she is not a big vegetable eater either. So we concentrate on rice and other items. Doctor says she will grow out of it so we continue to eat meat and encourage her to try it at the table. Kids are experimenting at this age and they will find their way.



answers from Kansas City on

Hi C.,
My husband and 2 year old son are both vegetarians, and one cookbook we love is "Better than Peanut Butter and Jelly : Quick Vegetarian Meals Your Kids Will Love." Although my husband and I enjoy the soy products (Boca, Morningstar Farms), my son is getting a little tired of them. This cookbook is great and will really get you in the mindset of how to cook for your daughter in a way that will respect her decision, as well as keep her body healthy. And, really, use the internet to your advantage. There is tons of information out there on vegetarianism and kids. Just do your homework, be ready to be creative, and have fun with it. That will help you get past hoping she will grow out of it and into a mindset that is loving and accepting of her choice. This could be one of the healthiest decisions she ever makes, and any support you can give her would be a wonderful gift.

Good luck!



answers from Topeka on

Hey! Below are a few recipes that are veggie tested and well loved, kids and adults!!!

Veggie Mamma's Lasagne

2 Large Cans of diced tomatoes

4 cups of chopped fresh:
mushrooms (sliced)
carrots (julienne or shredded)
1 small pkg. fresh spinach leaves
fresh green beans

olive oil

3 TBS minced garlic (fresh or jarred minced garlic only)
1 tsp basil
1-2 TBS Italian seasoning

2 Large containers Ricotta cheese (or can use tofu equivalent)
2 eggs well beaten
2 TBS chopped parsley

3 jars of veggie Pasta Sauce

8 cups finely shredded mozarella
Parmesan cheese

No Bake lasagne noodles; several pkgs.

In large dutch oven or stock pot place enough olive oil to cover bottom of pot. Add cauliflower, broccoli, onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occassionally until onion begins to get limp and transparent. Then, add in carrots, green beans and spinach leaves. Once spinach leaves begin to get very limp, add zuccini and mushrooms. Cook covered, stir occassionally, for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cover, cook another 15 minutes. Add in minced garlic, basil and italian seasoning. Remove and pour into a colander to drain all excess liquid. In separate bowl, add ricotta cheese, beaten eggs and parsley; mix well. Spray two large lasagna or sheet cake pans with cooking oil. Place lasagne noodles on bottom of pan, top with layer of ricotta cheese mix, then add layer of veggie mixture, then layer of sauce and then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Repeat all layers. Last top layer should end with layer of noodles, sauce then cheese. Top it all with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, 350 degree oven until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing. This is a recipe I have made up and added to through the years and while this makes alot, it is great to freeze into serving sizes; then, you can remove the servings you want later and zap them in the microwave for a quick, complete and nutritious meal!

Black Bean Burritos

2 cans black refried beans
2 cans pinto refried beans
4 cups finely shredded cheddar and jack cheese
4 TBS picante sauce
2-4 cups green chilis (buy cans of whole green chilis)
A couple pkgs. flour tortillas

Mix all refried bean together in large mixing bowl, add picante sauce and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese; mix well.
Place green chilis in blender and blend until thick. Spread bean mixture with spatula onto flour tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, spoon green chili mixture in thin line down center and roll into a burrito. Place on plate, cover with dampened paper towel and heat until hot. Wrap remaining in foil and freeze. Frozen burritos will take but a couple of minutes in the microwave to heat up. These go fast!

Ravioli and Tortelini Lasagna

2 pkgs frozen small round cheese ravioli
2 pkgs frozen cheese tortelini
3 jars veggie pasta sauce
4 cups finely shredded mozarella cheese
parmesan cheese
Fresh minced garlic (or jar minced garlic)
Italian seasoning or Leaf Oregano

Cook ravioli and tortelini in separate pots of boiling water. Drain ravioli first. In a rectangular pan or very large round pasta serving bowl or platter, cover the bottom of such with a layer of ravioli. Cover with sauce and sprinkle garlic, seasoning and parmesan cheese. Cover with layer of shredded cheese. Repeat layers until ravioli is gone. Drain tortelini. Make a 'well' in the middle of the ravioli layers and pour in the tortelini in the well. Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle with garlic, seasoning, parmesan cheese and top with remaining shredded cheese. Sprinkle all with parmesan. Cook in oven, 350 degrees until cheese is nicely melted. Or, if using platter or bowl, place in large microwave and heat until cheese is melted. This is an extremely quick and easy dish to make; it too freezes well.

I made this up years ago when my children were growing up and needed dishes to take for all the pot lucks at scouts, sporting events, etc. Their frieds used to call me the 'pasta mamma'. Here is another one I made up that is quick, cheap and very well liked by everyone (also good for those pot lucks).

Parmesan Garlic Linguini

2 pkgs linguini (I prefer Barilla)
1 stick of butter (Margarine just doesn't do it)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 TBS parsley
4 TBS minced garlic (or jar minced garlic)
2-3 cups parmesan cheese

Cook linguini to al dente and drain. While still hot, transfer back to pot and add butter. Once melted, add milk, then parsley and garlic, toss well. Then add parmesan cheese, toss very well. If you want it cheesier, add more parmesan.
This dish is great for families that have non-vegs and vegetarians; you can prepare a meat on the side, yet the noodles are satisfying enough, along with a veggie for the non meat eaters!

Hope these are useful for you....anxious to hear!

I have two grown girls (26 and almost 28)and two very small granddaughters ( 6 and almost 4).



answers from Kansas City on

Boca brand and Morning Star Farms both make really good meatless alternatives from chicken nuggets and corn dogs to burgers, breakfast sausage/bacon and ground "beef". My kids love them and they are even higher in protein than the real deal (and lower in fat.) Amy's brand makes really good "ethnic" dishes like tamale pie, burritos and Indian entrees - I think I've liked all I've tried of that line too. Make sure she's eating lots of whole grains, green/leafy vegetables, nuts and legumes and she'll be just fine. Just let her know that while it's her choice to not eat meat, she'll also need to choose healthier foods to supplement her protein/iron intake so she doesn't become sick or anemic. All vegetarians know this! ;)



answers from Wichita on

I am vegetarian, so I know quite a bit about a vegetarain diet. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, as are beans. Lots of green veggies. If she still eats dairy, cereal and milk provide lots of protein. There are also a lot of meat substitutes on the market - Garden Burgers, etc.
Hope that helps. I think that is great that you are allowing your child to make this decision. Great way to encourage self-esteem!




answers from Kansas City on

You will want to make sure she is getting enough B vitamins.
I get my Isotonix B-vitamins from www.marketamerica.com/2bewell
click on the bold faced word ISOTONIX
B-complex is 3rd to the last product
A great children's vitamin I give my own kids can also be found under ISOTONIX
You will find great information there to read up on!



answers from Springfield on

Southern-Style Salsa
1/2c. chopped green bell pepper
1/2c. chopped red bell pepper
1 fresh jalapeno pepper seeded & chopped
1/4c. chopped green onions with tops
1 Tablespoon snipped cilantro
1 garlic clove pressed
1 can (15oz)Southern-style preseasoned black-eyed peas drained & rinsed
1c frozen whole kernelcorn thawed
1/3c.Italian salad dressing 1/4t. hot pepper sauce
put everything together
I make my own dressing as it is more natural and we are using natural medicine to heal cancer. Your daughter is on the right track. We eat this with scoop chips and we love it. Its not real spicey but you could live out the pepper sauce.



answers from Springfield on

My kids love veggies too. I make sucatash with rice one a week. If you never have had it, it is wonderful. Cook a can of Lima beans (Protean) for anout 10 minutes in 1/2 cup water then add a can of corn drained until it boils the cover it and reduce heat to low for 5 minutes Wisk 3 tablespoons of flour in 1/2 cup of milk then pour it in the mixture and it will thicken up. I serve it over a bed of brown rice and my two boys 4 &2 eat every bite. I put a little seasoning salt on mine.


answers from Kansas City on

Vegetarian Planet is a GREAT veggie cookbook. I have it. You can get it at Borders, Barnes & Nobel, or on Amazon.com.

Being a veg and being healthy is a lot of work... even harder at her age. You might want to consult with her pediatrician.



answers from St. Joseph on

My 8 yr old son also decided that he will be a vegetarian. Luckily, I have several meatless main dishes.

I make lasagna without meat ~ lots of veggies; spaghetti with no meat; we use a lot of beans...burritos, fajitas, basically everything ~ I just substitute beans, or add in cheese, and stuff for protien... Eggs are great (although true vegans don't even eat eggs or cheese) but he doesn't know that...



answers from St. Louis on

My daughter isn't a full vegetarian but she also didn't like eating meat for a long time. One thing she absolutely loves is red beans and rice. All you do is make up a bunch of rice and add a can of red kidney beans. Serve with a favorite veggie it is great and the beans provide the protein needed. Some proclaimed vegetarians are only strict against pork and beef products so see if your daughter is willing to eat poultry if you are concerned about a full lack of meat. Stir fries are really good too, add peanuts for protein if she is against poultry. If she is allergic to nuts she will need a protein supplement and probably should have one anyway just in case. Protein is a major part of our diets, talk to her doctor about the amount of protein needed to supplement her diet.

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