Maintaining or starting a vegetarian diet with a family can be difficult because children are even more tempted by the various fast food restaurants and commercials for snacks on television. It’s very hard to make veggies look good over chicken nuggets and a free toy.
You have to slowly change your and your family’s diet. Everything starts at the grocery store. Instead of cookies, buy apples, bananas, carrots, and other tasty snacks. Exchange white rice for healthy, brown rice. You also want to avoid processed side dishes. Slowly make your meat portions smaller and increase more veggies and grains. If you have small children, it is much easier to make this switch. You can teach them from an early age that olives are good snacks and that peaches are good desserts. They will learn to love these foods and they won’t even know about all the other junk food out there. The real challenge will come when your children are in school and they have to learn to make healthy choices.
The idea is to gradually change so that it is easier for you and your family. Many children will change simply because you tell them that they are saving the lives of animals. Children are very sympathetic and it’s not unusual for children to become vegetarians on their own accord simply because they don’t want to eat animals.
Your children may not realize it now, but you are doing them a huge favor that will last them their entire lives. Childhood obesity is at epidemic levels in the US and you will be setting your children up for a healthy lifestyle by teaching them how to eat healthy now.
You will use the same type of cooking supplies that you already use. However, you may need to break out the blender and food processor if you aren’t using them regularly.
There are also several new ingredients and foods that you need:
Fruits & Vegetables
Sauces & Oils
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Toasted Sesame Oil
Tamari (Japanese Soy Sauce)
Hot Chili Oil
Noodles & Rice
Brown basmati rice
Nuts & Seeds
Herbs & Spices
Red chili flakes
Lentils (Red, green, and brown)
Split Peas (Yellow and green)
Organic non-dairy butter
Plant based yogurt
Pure Maple Syrup
Raw, unrefined sugar
Breakfast & Brunch
Breakfast is an important meal that many people skip. The fact of the matter is that if you eat at least three basic meals per day you will lose weight if that is your goal. Also, it does not have to be boring and dull and the vegetarian diet has a few tasty options.
Apple Cinnamon Granola
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1⁄2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1⁄2 cup honey
2 tbsp. Sunflower oil
1 cup dried apples, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, mix oatmeal, wheat germ, cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts.
In a separate bowl, mix honey and sunflower oil and drizzle over the top of the mixture. Mix and stir constantly until the oat mixture is evenly coated with honey and oil.
Lightly oil a large baking sheet and spread the mixture over the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Once the granola turns golden, remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool.
Prepare jars to place the ready granola in. Once cool, add dried apples and raisins and transfer the mixture into jars. Store in a dry place. Makes 6 cups.
3⁄4 cup + 2 tbsp. All-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 cups almond or coconut milk
1 tbsp. Granulated sugar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Whip cream (optional)
Any sliced fruit
Combine eggs, flour, milk, sugar, oil, and salt in a blender or food processor.
Blend until smooth. Transfer batter into a mixing bowl, cover, and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Add the oil into a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add 1⁄4 cup of the batter into the pan and swirl around to coat the whole bottom of the pan.
Cook until the crepe lightly browns, about 1 or 2 minutes. Flip over and cook the second side until lightly browned.
Transfer to plates and spray a line of whip cream down the middle.
Sprinkle in your fruit. Fold the sides gently to make a cylinder and dot with whip cream. Makes 8 to 12 crepes
3 tbsp. almond or coconut milk
Big pinch of salt
Big pinch of black pepper
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 c. green bell pepper
1⁄4 c. red bell pepper
1⁄4 c. onion
Grated soy cheese to taste (optional)
In a medium-size mixing bowl beat eggs, salt, pepper, green and red pepper, and onion with a fork. Do not over-mix.
Add the extra virgin olive oil into a 7 to 8-inch pan over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil covers the base of the pan.
Once the oil is simmering, pour in the egg mixture. Tilt the pan to make sure the egg covers the entire base of the pan. Let the eggs sit for 45 seconds before flipping. Do the same on the other side. Once done, transfer to a plate and sprinkle with cheese.
Smoothies are great and very healthy. You can have them as snacks or drink them with your brunch.
1 1⁄2 cups plant based yogurt
3 to 4 bananas
3 cups of strawberries, stems removed and roughly chopped
1⁄4 cup almond or coconut milk
2 tbsp. Honey
1 cup of ice
Mix ingredients into blender one at a time and serve.
Banana & Yogurt Smoothie
1 ripe banana, thinly sliced
1 cup vanilla or plain plant based yogurt
3⁄4 cup almond or coconut milk
Pinch of cinnamon
Set aside two or three slices of banana and place the rest of the banana in the blender.
Add yogurt and milk.
Blend until smooth, garnish with extra pieces of banana, add a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve.
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1 banana, peeled
3 tbsp. plain plant based yogurt
1 tsp. honey
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
4 cubes of ice
Add ingredients to blender one at a time, puree until smooth, and serve.
1⁄2 inch fresh ginger
3 tbsp. plain plant based yogurt
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
4 cubes of ice
Gradually juice the pear, ginger, and cinnamon together.
Transfer to a blender and add yogurt and ice.
Blend until smooth and serve.
Appetizers & Side Dishes
These make great sides to a healthy meal or an appetizer. You might even want one for a snack!
Special Tomato Bruschetta
4 bread rolls
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp. organic non-dairy butter
1 tbsp. chopped basil
4 large fresh tomatoes
1 tbsp. Tomato paste
8 black olives, pitted and halved
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice or Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. clear honey
Basil leaves for garnish
Place bread rolls on the cutting board and slice each in half.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer bread rolls to a toaster oven or oven to brown and crisp.
Place butter, garlic and chopped basil into a small mixing bowl and stir until combined.
Once rolls are toasted, spoon garlic mixture onto each half.
Pour boiling water into a large bowl, slice a small cross shape at the base of each tomato, and place in boiling water.
After tomatoes soften, remove and peel the flesh away from the tomatoes. Once the flesh is removed, chop it into small squares.
Pour diced tomatoes, tomato pace, and olives into a mixing bowl and blend. Spoon onto rolls.
In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, and honey.
Drizzle mixture over tomato-covered rolls and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place rolls on baking sheet and place in oven for about 2 minutes.
Transfer rolls to a platter or tray and garnish with basil leaves.
Ingredients for spring rolls:
3⁄4 cup broken rice vermicelli noodles
6 fresh shitake mushrooms
1⁄2 cup carrots, slivered
1 cup bok choy, thinly sliced
1 cup green onion, slivered
2 tbsp. Chopped coriander
Salt and ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. Soy sauce
1⁄2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
Eight 8 inch square spring roll skins
3 tbsp. All-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup water
2 avocados, sliced
4 cups extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for Salad:
1 cup daikon radish, slivered
1 cup carrots, slivered
4 green onions, slivered
1⁄2 cup red onion, slivered
1 cup slivered cucumber, juice squeezed out
Ingredients for Dressing:
2 tbsp. Seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. Soy sauce
1⁄2 tsp. sesame oil
Place noodles and mushrooms into individual bowls and cover with hot water. Cover bowls and set them aside for 20 minutes.
Once noodles and mushrooms have soaked transfer to colander and drain.
Transfer into a large bowl. Drain mushrooms as well and transfer onto a cutting board. Remove and discard stems and slice mushroom heads thinly. Add into a large bowl with noodles.
Add carrots, bok choy, green onion, and coriander onto the bowl of noodles and mushrooms and mix.
Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and toss mixture to combine. Cover and set aside.
Pour soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and fresh ginger into a small bowl. Stir the mixture to combine well. Cover and set aside.
Gently pull spring roll skins apart and place them on a flat, clean surface.
Using a small spoon place, 1⁄4 cup of the noodle, vegetable mixture, and sliced avocado onto the upper third of each skin.
Roll once and then take the two ends and fold them in and continue to roll the skins forward until it forms a cylinder.
Whisk together flour and water in a bowl until well combined. Using a small pastry brush, coat the spring roll with just enough flour and water mixture to seal the edges. Repeat with all rolls.
In a wok, heat some of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the wok and oil are hot add spring rolls in 3 at a time. Fry until golden brown. Transfer onto a rack with a paper towel to drain.
To make the salad, place the radish, carrot, green and red onions, and cucumber in a bowl and toss together.
In a separate bowl pour in vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Whisk together until mixed.
Once spring rolls are drained, place onto a cutting board and slice each in half at an angle serve 3 halves onto the plates standing with the cut ends up. Garnish with salad around rolls.
1⁄4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 small onion, peeled and chopped, and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1⁄4 tsp. dried oregano
1⁄4 tsp. dried basil
4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1⁄4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay life
1⁄2 cup canned whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup tomato paste
2 whole-wheat pita bread
1⁄2 yellow bell pepper, seeds, and membranes removed, cut into thin strips
1/8 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped into fine pieces
1⁄2 cup mozzarella soy cheese, grated or feta cheese
Fresh basil, thinly sliced for garnish