Feeding children vegetarian food

I first became a vegetarian when i was about 18, I didn’t know how or what to eat so I ate lots of full fat yogurt and noodles with butter. I soon became plump and anemic. Since then I have been back and forth, veg, not veg for a long time, now since 3 years ago I am firmly established as a vegetarian, and not going back! What this is about is how I brought my daughter along with us on the last conversion…
Here is what we had last night.

beans with rice & salad

My older daughter now 8, decided she now LIKES cilantro. For some reason unknown to me, she ate slowly, tasting her food, noticing how she chewed it, ‘like a machine’ she said, ‘my tongue pushes it back and my teeth grind it up’. And by the way, she used to be a chicken nuggets/mac and cheese addict, that is all she wanted to eat. If she could have it with fries from a fast food place even better. Shame on me. It took time for her give up chicken nuggets, and I always gave her the choice, but she did not want to kill animals, most children are clear about that. When she was sort of in between, mostly vegetarian and still wanting to eat chicken sometimes, she would ask me if it was ok. My response was, ‘yes, if you pray for the animal who gave up it’s life, and thank it.’  That way she did not feel bad about the meal, and eventually we substituted in the meatless nuggets, which are still fried and not so healthy, but nowadays we have them once every 2-3 weeks. She also gave up mac & cheese as a regular staple food, however
we still eat pasta and still keep parmesan around, although less and less. We are headed towards being vegan for the sake of the nursing mother cows/goats and their kids.

When she was born she was naturally a vegetarian, she only wanted mama’s milk and fruits, and eventually carrots, so between myself and my helper we interfered with her natural instincts, partly because we thought she needed to eat more and be fatter.
She got to where she was last night with the cilantro by a process of us slowly removing
the unwanted foods and replacing them with tasty, fun, and nutritious food. Time and patience and lots of good recipes. And we talk about food a lot, how it helps you grow,
how you feel after you eat it, what happens when you eat too fast, or drink too much water, when we feel we want sugary foods etc…more on the sugar topic soon…

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