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Part-time vegetarian with kids



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KENDILYNN
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4/21/13 2:00 P

They don't have any allergies and they do eat eggs. Right now we typically eat chicken and fish approximately once each per week. Maybe twice if there happen to be leftovers. But it's been a bit of a change from eating it at dinner almost every night. We rarely ever ate meat at breakfast or lunch.

Also, I've been focusing on trying more vegetarian "recipes" rather than just leaving the meat out of things I normally cook. I'm trying to be conscious of keeping the protien balance. Thanks for all the advice!

Edited by: KENDILYNN at: 4/21/2013 (14:04)


MICHELLEXXXX
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4/21/13 12:23 P

Do your kids have any allergies?
Do they eat eggs?

Edited by: MICHELLEXXXX at: 4/21/2013 (13:08)


DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,528
4/21/13 10:58 A

I agree that updating your children's pediatrician is a good goal.
Since you are adding more vegetarian options (not just vegan), your protein food choices are greatly enhanced.
Visit your local library and check out some vegetarian cookbooks and cooking magazines. This will increase your variety and these recipes usually contain good, balanced blend of nutrients.

Becky
SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist



CMCOLE
Posts: 2,667
4/21/13 7:32 A

I'm not a nutritionist, but I'd say the percentages that are appropriate for you, would also apply to them, although I believe for young, developing bodies, the percentage of some things needs to be a bit more (perhaps someone has links, or there's articles here on SP).

So, you're likely correct that your balanced plate, in smaller proportions, would be good for them, too



TWILLIAMS82
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4/21/13 5:57 A

Our family ate a 99% vegan diet for almost five years. Not only were my two kids just fine (they were in the 11-16 yr age range at the time) they were never sick and stayed at a healthy weight when many of their friends were putting on too much weight.
Protein deficiency is not something we deal with in North America. In fact, if you are eating the proper amount of calories to maintain your weight it is almost impossible to be protein deficient, (unless you're eating nothing but junk food.)
http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.php

As long as the kids are eating a wide variety of healthy foods I wouldn't even worry about it. But as other posters have mentioned, it never hurts to consult your friendly neighbourhood pediatrician!



KENDILYNN
SparkPoints: (9,741)
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4/20/13 10:33 P

My kids are three and seven (I haven't figured out how to change my profile pic to a more current one.) So they're out of the baby stage. I appreciate the responses.



ANARIE
Posts: 12,375
4/20/13 10:16 P

Definitely talk to the pediatrician or find a pediatric dietitian. A lot depends on age and size of the kids. Little ones under three need quite a bit more fat than adults, because they're still building the fatty sheath over their nerves and brains. But I'm not sure how you know how much more fat they need, or how much of it needs to be saturated fat, which is why you should talk to a medical professional. It might be as simple as giving them whole milk.

Fatty fish is also very good for kids' brains, but you have to be extremely careful because of mercury and other contaminants. Again, the amount of fish that's safe really depends on the size of the child.

But being part-time vegetarian by itself isn't going to hurt the kids. Veganism is pretty unhealthy for children because they need a lot more of the B vitamins than adults (and usually it's too low in calcium as well), but dairy and eggs will provide plenty of those vitamins even without meat. There are plenty of healthy vegetarian kids. The concern for really small kids is fat, more than protein.



KENDILYNN
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4/20/13 7:03 P

Yes, they eat cheese, pb, nuts and seeds throughout the day. They drink some milk and the little one and I drink a green smoothie with greek yogurt most days. I'm mostly concerned about dinners, when it's harder to provide the amount protein they would get from meat into a plant-based meal. I also wonder if getting more protein by eating fish once or twice a week might help balance the lower protein days.



FIELDWORKING
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4/20/13 6:49 P

Do they like peanut butter, cashews, lima beans (or beans in general)? They are a good source of protein. If they will eat Greek yogurt (like the yoplait 100 calorie Greek yogurt) (yes, I know it's a dairy product), that could be an option. Also, do up something like trail mix - coconut, cashews, raisins, etc. They get the protein and iron and it could be a nice addition to a lunch at school (assuming that they can have cashews).

Edit: If you are ok with doing dairy products, you could let them drink milk or chocolate milk (like Nesquik - the one with the brown top). The chocolate milk would be a great snack to have after playing hard outside or after being involved in sports.

Edited by: FIELDWORKING at: 4/20/2013 (18:54)


CPRINN
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4/20/13 6:09 P

There are lots of carbs in vegetables. Eating things like chickpeas, beans nuts and healthy fats are all great options. Some things I even trick my kids into liking healthy things. My son ate chocolate avocado pudding and loved it. We aren't vegetarian but often do meat free meals. this morning we had pancakes made of just pureed banana, sweet potato and egg. It was delish and very healthy. One of our favorite meals is vegetarian chili. I don't even make meaty chili any more. Just do your research and put together meal plans that cover all yours and children nutritional needs, is the best advice I have



DRAGONCHILDE
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4/20/13 6:03 P

In general it should be okay, but I think a call to your kids' pediatrician would be a great place to start. Kids do need plenty of protein and carbs, but lots of veggies are never a bad thing. ;) Call your kids' doc, and ask them their advice, and see what they have to say! May not even need an office visit.



KENDILYNN
SparkPoints: (9,741)
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4/20/13 4:42 P

As I move toward cooking meat-less more often, I want to make sure my kids are getting everything they need in appropriate proportions. As a general rule, is it recommended that kids get the same ratio as adults when it comes to calories from fat/carbs/protein? I'm most concerned about protein and finding out whether or not a meal that is appropriate for me will be apporpriate for them (obviously in a smaller portion).



 
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