What’s a meat-eating parent to do?
More of our daughters are declaring they will no longer eat meat. Be assured that there is no need to panic if your daughter has sworn her allegiance to a plant-based diet. Having done so myself 30 years ago, I am familiar with the ins and outs of cooking vegetarian and vegan. I have a vegetarian daughter and I, as a mom and nutritionist, endeavour to make sure she gets the iron she needs to avoid anemia as well as the calcium and Vitamin D required for strong bones. What can a meat-eating parent do to support their daughter’s vegetarian journey? Sign up for my FREE e-book Vegetarian Teen Basics For Busy Parents and keep reading here:
1. Make sure you have beans in the house. They can be canned or dry – though canned will make life a little easier. Beans are nutritional powerhouses. They are high in protein and fiber, and depending on the variety, are a good source of iron, calcium and B vitamins. Encourage your daughter to try hummus (ground chickpeas) with veggies, black bean tacos with cheese and guacamole, or lentil Sloppy Joe’s with BBQ sauce.
2. Make sure your daughter snacks on nuts and seeds. They are packed with good fats, zinc, iron, magnesium and other minerals. If your daughter has started menstruating she needs a good source of iron, and pumpkin seeds are a great option. Almonds and almond butter are good sources of calcium. Thankfully, these options make great portable snacks. Get her to pack a container of mixed nuts and seeds in her backpack, she can even add some dark chocolate chips to make it taste more like a treat. Add nuts and seeds to granola, yogurt, salads or create your own homemade granola bars with them. For a nutritional boost, add chia or hemp seeds to oatmeal or smoothies. Nut butters are also great options. Make sure the fridge is stocked with peanut, almond or cashew butter.
3. If your daughter does not drink cow’s milk, it is important to stock the fridge with a supply of non- dairy beverages like almond or soy milk. These drinks are usually fortified so she will get some calcium and Vitamins D and B12. Soy milk is a good source of protein but, almond and rice milk are not. These non-dairy beverages can also be used as substitutes for cow’s milk in baking and cooking.
Last but not least, relax and embrace her independent thinking. She could have declared a lot worse!