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I want to share a list of pantry staples that will make preparing vegetarian meals easier. One thing I hear quite often is that there is lots of prep required to follow a vegetarian diet. While yes there may be some chopping, dicing or soaking required but if you include these tasks when taking into consideration your meal prep time then it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
For the past few years I have been telling my kids I am not going to make their lunches but somehow it just doesn’t stick. As much as I’d love for them to make it themselves I sometimes end up pulling it together for them in the morning. Doesn’t matter if I remind them the night before or remind them in the morning when they get up. I don’t really want to remind them anymore, I don’t even want to think about their lunches honestly. But what happens if they are pressed for time? Would they, could they go to school without lunch? Would I let that happen? Should I let that happen? Not sure what the right answer is.
With school winding down it is time to start getting ready for summer camp. I am airing out duffel and sleeping bags, washing towels and sheets and printing off packing lists. Does your daughter go to sleep-away camp? If so, you might be concerned that she won’t be able to follow a healthy vegetarian diet while she is away from home. I know I was worried when my daughter went away for the first time.
The Lowdown on Smoothies
Did you know that smoothies have a Wikipedia listing? I stumbled upon it while explaining to my kids that when I was growing up smoothies were not really a thing. Looks like it wasn’t until the 60’s and 70’s when health food appeared on the scene that they started to make an appearance. Unfortunately they never made it to my house. I didn’t really start making smoothies until I had kids and really only when my daughter decided to stop eating meat, chicken and fish. Smoothies ,I thought, would help me get lots of good stuff in to her before she went to school.
Mornings can be a crazy time with getting everyone up, fed and out the door on time so smoothies are a great way to ensure everyone leaves the house with a healthy start to their day. Whether it be a picky eater, a vegetarian/vegan or anyone else with dietary restrictions, everyone can drink a smoothie.
When my daughter decided to become a vegetarian, I used our morning smoothie to get her to consume as many nutrients possible before she left for school. I’d get up a little early so I could make it prior to her getting out of bed so she wouldn’t see what I was putting in it. Though it didn’t quite matter as she managed to pick out all the tiny green pieces anyway. We experimented with a lot of different fruits, some veggies/herbs, fish oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds… you name it, I added it to our smoothies. Did she drink them? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Here are a few tips to get the most out of your morning smoothie. Give them a try and you won’t have to worry about your kids leaving the house hungry and malnourished in the morning:
1. Choose fruit you know everyone likes. I always recommend starting with berries- strawberries, raspberries or blueberries are all good options.
2. Add some healthy fats like a tablespoon of coconut oil, an avocado or nuts and seeds will all do the trick.
3. Experiment with different type of protein like nut or seed butters, silken tofu or Greek yogurt (choose plant-based if your child is vegan). I always sprinkle chia and hemp seeds on our smoothies.
4. Instead of water, use soy milk to increase the protein content as it contains the most protein of all non-dairy beverages.
5. Add a ripe banana, ripe pear or some pineapple to sweeten things up.
6. Sneak in some greens like parsley or watercress as they have a mild flavour.
7. Use frozen fruit if fresh it not available. It will also make the smoothie nice and cold without using ice.
Here is a tried and true recipe from our house, though quantities are approximate as I never really measure.
Mixed Fruit Smoothie
1/4 cup frozen mango
1/4 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 ripe medium banana
1/2 tbsp chia or hemp seeds
Vanilla soy milk to desired consistency
Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
What’s your favourite go-to smoothie?
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