Mon 05 Feb 2018
Going vegetarian with a 4-year-old
One of my goals for 2018 was to really look at what we are eating as a family and how we could be a bit more health conscious and teach Ayla to make better decisions when it comes to what she eats. I saw the video for Veguary on Facebook and thought why not give this a go! Going vegetarian will not only make me have to really think about what we are eating but hopefully also kick start out a healthier new year.
Eating less meat has so many benefits, not only from a health point of view but also environmentally and in line with some of my other goals this year - financially! I’m hoping that taking meat out of our monthly food shopping with saving us a good chunk of money that we can move into our savings.
We are quite lucky that Ayla is a relatively good eater (although she definitely goes through phases), but I wanted to get as much information as possible before taking meat out of her diet. Although its only for 28 days, it’s important to make sure she’s getting everything she needs and that I can make those swaps healthily. After researching and finding that Iron is the most common deficiency in children and that a deficiency can actually cause the child to have irreversible cognitive defects, I decided that for my own peace of mind we would add a supplement to Ayla’s diet. More than any challenge we just want to teach Ayla about a healthy and balanced diet.
Where I can I do try and include Ayla in cooking which I think has a positive impact on what she does eat. I’m also quite strict with if she doesn’t eat dinner there’s no cooking an alternative etc etc. I honestly believe if you don’t offer nuggets and chips every night (but do keep these for an easy treat dinner) the child has no choice but to find other food they will eat (obviously assuming there’s nothing else going on).
I’ve been really surprised at just how easy it is once you get yourself into the swing of cooking without meat! I have also found some great Facebook pages and the BBC recipes website have great recipe idea’s for vegetarian kids meals.
Here are some ideas of the kind of dinners we’ll be having!
Vegetable pasta’s; you can add almost anything to pasta making it a really good go-to meal.
When out and about we have opted for a margarita pizza
Superfood baked eggs and couscous
Veggie muffins (these are great and you can do them with anything grated and added)
Shepard’s pie (swap mince for lentils and use sweet potato)
Stir fry veg and noodles
Vegetable fajitas and nachos
Black bean burgers (build your own is a great way to get the kids excited, lay out all the extras and let them choose how they’d like their burgers)
Special fried rice (another great way to use up anything lying around!)
Alice is a mum blogger who has been sharing her parenting journey at https://alicecliftx.wordpress.com. We look forward to finding out how the month goes and we will have a second part to this story once the vegetarian month is over.