I finally perfected a kids vegetarian chilli recipe and my six year old is actually eating it.
When Your Child Throws You a Food Curve Ball
Last summer our six year old declared herself to be a vegetarian. I am 100% on board knowing it would only improve my cooking and all of our diets. Finding recipes was difficult because most kids are either vegetarian from birth or as adults have a more expanded palate. Subsequently there has been a lot of trial and error.
What’s Important for Vegetarian Kids
Recently I had a fight with a staunch vegan after she posted a video. It was an adorable video where a four year old girl was convincing her mother that she would eat anything put on the table. Not one person mentioned the food battle parents go through when she said,”Mama, as long as it’s not meat, I promise I’ll eat it”.
Having experienced it first hand, I knew that the four year old was fibbing through her little teeth. Young children are inherently suspicious about food. Consequently, unless they are vegan from birth, every single meal will be a challenge.
The Protein Worry
All parents worry about nutrition. For non-vegetarian parents it’s about how-to replace missing proteins for a growing body and brain. I did find over time that my child’s tastes did grow to accept protein rich foods like tofu. However, I had to keep one thing in mind.
The Real Battle
The real battle about food about keeping your kid open to trying new things. Furthermore, it’s how to accomplish this without a huge battle or a ton of more work for the parent.
My solution was too do it slowly.
To keep the foods looking as much like the meat food she was used to. The Kids Vegetarian Chilli was a perfect choice.
To cook, rather than get her hooked on ready-made meals.
I also had to bring out a sneaky solution.
In the beginning I had to pull a meat line to keep her trying new foods. It went like this.
She: Grammie, I won’t eat that.
Me: No problem, I’ll just go and get some deli meat and make a sandwich.
She: OK, I’ll try it.
She: Hey, this isn’t too bad.
Me: Told you so.
Three Things that Parents of Vegetarian Kids should Remember
1. Vegan and Vegetarian mean different things. Here’s a helpful link on that subject. Both require parents help to built in, over time, a variety of foods with emphasis on beans, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and some soy foods to replace proteins.
2. If your child is also vegan [not eating dairy or eggs], then you will need to consider a B12 supplement.
Building Healthy Habits
Our munchkin is learning about nutrition in the Grade One. This build on our home discussion about reading labels, shopping, cooking, food Culture and healthy eating. In the recipe below, I’ve taken the original Yves recipe down to the bare bones. Subsequently, as your child expands their food palate you can add more interesting or spicier ingredients into the recipe.
Kids Vegetarian Chilli Recipe
- Sunflower oil
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion chopped
- 1/2 chopped celery
- 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 package of Yves Veggie Ground
- 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 thawed yellow sweet corn +optional
- 1 bottle of tomato sauce
- touch of salt
- to taste, crushed red pepper flakes and ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onions and celery and then garlic. Cooking until vegetables are golden and semi transparent.
- Add Yves Veggie Ground Round, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes and cinnamon.
- Mix well and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add undrained tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, salt and pepper.
- Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce.
- Cover and simmer about 20 minutes. It's really the beans that need to be cooked throughout.
- Serve hot with buttered Rye bread.
- Add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese if you want more protein.
- Yves Veggie Ground is vegan and contains wheat, soy and mustard.
- I used red kidney beans, but you could black beans, chickpeas, navy beans, cannelloni beans or even lentils.
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