Has anyone asked you this?
When you told people your child had decided to become a vegetarian what was the first thing they asked you?
Was it “How is she going to get her protein?” Hands down, this is the first thing people ask me. Sometimes I get frustrated and wonder how they can be so oblivious! There are so many options out there it makes me sad to think people only see animal products as good sources of protein. In any case, though the question frustrates me to no end, I realize it comes from a place of concern and that they just need to be educated. Right? What do you think?
I then proceed to explain that there are loads of vegetarian protein options and that most of the world survives on plant-based protein. Think…tofu, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, oatmeal and even rice has a little bit of protein. Yes, grains do have protein, as do vegetables. So if someone asks you this question you can tell them confidently that your child can thrive on their vegetarian diet and that there are lots of options for her to get enough protein. Vegetarian protein that is. And most importantly, they shouldn’t worry because you’ve got it covered.
However, just in case you need some tips to make sure your daughter is getting enough vegetarian protein and the nutrients she needs for her growing body.
- Make sure she eats a variety of plant foods every day. Kids tend to eat the same things each day but variety is key so they are exposed to a breadth of nutrients.
- Make sure she eats good-quality protein and not highly processed veggie dogs and bologna.
- Make sure she eats 3 meals a day and 2 snacks.
However, if you aren’t quite sure how to answer this protein question and are looking for more tips and tricks, I put together this e-book Meatless Protein 101 which will help take some of the guesswork out of answering this question. I want to make sure you can confidently answer this question as it is important that you explain to those friends and family who are not quite as supportive as you want them to be that your daughter will be okay if she doesn’t eat meat.
Or if you want to talk about your child and your family’s specific needs, I would love to work with you to create a customized meal plan that will in the end, make your life easier by taking some of the guess work out of meal planning. If you are interested in chatting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to set something up.
In the meantime, make sure you grab a copy of Vegetarian Teen Basics For Busy Parents for some peace of mind.