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What meals can I serve at home if my child is a vegan?

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
You can avoid becoming a “short order” cook in your own home by planning your meals. Meatless meals are healthy for all. You can also make slight changes to menus to accommodate everyone’s needs. For example, if you plan to make pasta with a meat-based sauce, simply take out some marinara sauce prior to adding meat. Supplement the marinara sauce with crumbled tofu or lentils for added protein for your vegetarian child. When making salads, prior to adding chicken or fish, set some aside and add beans, lentils, seeds, nuts for a vegetarian option. Consider creating more “build your own” version of meals -- taco bar, salad bar, burgers (meat and veggie), so that it is the same meal that is customized individually per dietary preference.
Kathy Freston
Nutrition & Dietetics
If your child wants to stick to a vegan diet while everyone else is catching up, you could serve him or her black bean burritos while the family has the regular with meat. You can use veggie meatballs (found in your grocer's freezer section) in pasta instead of beef. And while everyone else is eating chicken with mashed potatoes, your child can enjoy Gardein chik'n (a plant-based high protein meat substitute that looks and tastes very much like chicken) and mashed potatoes made with non-dairy milk and Earth Balance non-dairy butter.

A stir fry with tofu, rice, and veggies is super fast and tasty for everyone, as is a hearty chili with beans and veggie protein crumbles (again, found in your grocer's freezer). It's really quite easy to "veganize" your favorite family traditions. Good snacks are bagels with peanut or almond butter, whole grain pretzels, or apples and bananas. And a great way to sneak in a veggie for your child is to make a smoothie with juice or non-dairy milk, blueberries and banana; then throw in a handful of frozen broccoli. You can't taste the broccoli (I promise!) and because of the blueberries, your kids won't see green!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.