I decided to start a blog on what I feed my teen vegetarian as I often struggle with what to feed the one vegetarian in our family. I want our teen to eat nutritious whole food meals that do not vary greatly from what the rest of the family is eating.
The rest of our family is not vegetarian, we enjoy meat a few times per week, organic and grass when we can!
Our teen daughter decided about a year ago to become vegan. This lasted for about 6 weeks before she found it difficult to maintain a vegan diet and still feel healthy, this just did not work for her at this point in her life.
From there she decided to follow a vegetarian diet but she has also decided she will avoid eggs, and most dairy products. She has some flexibility with dairy and eggs depending on the circumstances. For example if there are baked goods with eggs and milk she is all over that!
Our daughter also avoids what I call “fake foods” such as “pretend meat” full of chemical and additives to make non-meat taste like meat. Soy is avoided unless fermented and organic.
One of the first thing I noticed when she changed her diet is she lost weight quickly and became quite pale and tired. Obviously as a mom and wellness coach this concerned me. She simply was not getting the fuel she needed to manage her lifestyle choice and maintain her usual activities and most importantly grow and stay healthy!
I decided to help her plan a weekly menu to incorporate foods she enjoys and maximize her nutrient consumption. Hence the what I fed my veggie teen Tuesday blog post.
As a family we try and have at least 2-3 vegetarian meals a week already so helping her plan for a few more meals per week is not a hard task.
I am passionate that if she wanted to follow a diet that is different from the rest of the family she must commit to it herself. She must educate herself on how to do it well and take the time to plan and prepare the meals she is going to consume. If she wants to be vegetarian going forward she needs be equipped with the skills to do it successfully.
Here the recipe for this Tuesday’s dinner – Cajun Roasted Chickpea Caesar salad. (the rest of the family is having Cajun grilled chicken Caesar salad)
- 1 tin of chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ head of romaine lettuce
- ½ chopped tomato
- ¼ shredded vegetarian hard cheese (optional)
- 1/2 chopped avocado
- 1 ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (recipe to follow)
- ¼ cup Caesar dressing (recipe to follow)
- Drizzle olive oil on chickpeas and then sprinkle on the Cajun seasoning. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 180 (350 Celcius) for 20- 25 minutes, you want to bake the chick peas until they are a getting crispy.
- Clean and chop the lettuce and combine in a bowl with the chopped avocado and tomato
- Add dressing to the salad and sprinkle cheese on top
- Add warm chick peas to the salad and serve! I served it to her with whole grain baguette croutons.
Cajun seasoning (store in glass container after making for future use)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp garlic pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp himalayan pink salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
- Place all ingredients in a jar and shake!
Avocado Caesar Salad Dressing ( adapted from detoxinista.com)
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted (about ½ cup mashed)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a high speed blender, and blend until completely smooth. Pour over chopped romaine lettuce, and toss well to coat.
Leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.