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Vegetarian meal planning ideas for kids and children

Updated on October 8, 2014

Vegetarian meals for kids

Source

Why go vegetarian?

Teaching children healthy eating habits starts the minute they are born. Going vegetarian gives kids the chance to learn to love a variety of delicious, nutritious food, while giving them the nutrients their little bodies need for all that growing!

You don't even have to go vegetarian to reap the rewards of minor diet changes. If you simply cannot give up meat, limit the quantity of what you consume to a "fist size portion", try to get the majority of your protien from plant based materials.

In America, children are over-weight, lazy, and learning TERRIBLE eating habits. The more you feed them healthy food, the more they will crave it. They'll also learn smarter food choices that will stick well into adulthood.

Infants

Infants should be provided with breast milk as often as possible. This is custom made by momma for baby and tailored to their specific needs. It has also been shown to aid in the development of a strong immune system for your little one. If your baby is not being breast fed, the best alternative is soy milk. Soy milk is least likely of all to cause dairy allergies. Infants do not require any nourishment other than breast milk or soy formula for the first half of life, but should continue to receive these liquids for a full 12 months. Babies being breast fed should also get about two hours a week of sun exposure to make sure they are making adequate amounts of vitamin D. Getting outside also gives new mommies a reason to be moving and get back into pre-pregnancy shape. If you are already a vegetarian and breast feeding, make sure to take a high quality B12 supplement, and a good multivitamin. When your baby is about 5-6 month of age, other foods can be introduced to their diet, it's suggested to start off with an iron fortified cereal because, at about 4 months infants iron stores which are naturally high at birth begin to decrease.

6-8 Months

By 6-8 months of age, you can really give your child some options for their growing bodies and palettes. Thoroughly cooked vegetables that are mashed will be enjoyed at this age. Try carrots, potatoes, green beans, and peas. The same goes for mashed fruits. Some suggestions, banana's, applesauce, strained peaches, and avocados. By 8 months most babies can easily eat and tolerate breads, crackers, and dry cereal as well as protein foods that have been mashed. Tofu and beans are excellent choices.

You can easily make your own baby food with a food processor, and avoid additives.

Children and teens

Children tend to have high calorie needs but have small stomachs, offer them frequent snacks. Teens typically have high energy needs as their lives are in constant motion, help them make low fat food selections and keep plenty of healthy, fresh, delicious snack choices on hand.

Snack suggestions;

Protien bars

Various nuts, dehydrated fruit, fresh fruit

Peanut butter on rice cakes

Hard boild eggs (non-Vegan)

Yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)

Vegetarian food pyramid

Source

Food Groups

Vegetables
Whole Grains
Legumes, nuts, seeds, non-dairy
broccoli, kale, spinach, juiced wheat grass, turnips, mustard greens, beets, bok choy, swiss chard, carrots, brussel sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, beans, peas, avacado
breads, hot and cold cereal, brown rice, barley, crackers, Quinoa, rice cakes
kidney beans, lentils, split peas, navy beans, chickpeas, tofu, whole seeds, chopped nuts, nut butters, rice, almond and soy milk

Eat more vegetables!

Meals- ages 1-4

Breakfast-Oatmeal, with a side of applesauce and fresh juice (orange, cranberry, cranapple)

Lunch-Soy milk, carrot or celery sticks, a banana, apple, or orange, and hummus on whole wheat crackers

Dinner-Soy milk, steamed green vegetables (take your pick), corn and mashed potatoes

Snacks-Any type of fruit, dry cereal (Cherio's), and soy milk

Meals-ages 5-8

Breakfast-Orange slices, whole grain cereal with rice or soy milk and banana slices.

Lunch-Eggs on toast, apple juice, carrots or celery sticks, oatmeal cookies.

Dinner-Baked beans with soy or tofu "hot-dog" pieces, baked or mashed potato, fruit salad, spinach and soy or almond milk.

Snack-Soy milk, trail mixes or nuts, chocolate chip cookies or graham crackers.

Meal-ages 9-12

Breakfast-Fruit smoothies, toast with almond butter, and orange juice

Lunch-Macaroni and cheese, green beans, salad, and whole wheat bread

Dinner-Steamed broccoli and carrots, baked french fries, berry cobbler, and soy or almond milk,

Snack-figs, popcorn, trail mix, rice cakes, oatmeal cookies.

Meals-ages 13-20

Breakfast-Orange juice, bagels or English muffins with apple butter.

Lunch-Bean and cheese burritos, add lettuce, tomato, and guacamole. Veggie wraps. For sides have whole grain rice, or chips and salsa.

Dinner-broccoli, carrots, and squash. Spaghetti with marinara sauce, fresh garden or cucumber salad, and soy, almond milk, or a huge glass of water.

Snack-Fruit smoothies, hummus with pita chips, raw crunchy vegetables-pepper slices, carrots, celery.

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