Children can be amazingly picky when it comes to their meals. Many a parent have sprouted gray hairs trying to get their little ones eat. Sure, they will eat the junk food from the fast food joint but getting them to eat healthy, nutritious meals will have you trying every trick in the bag. It is hard for the regular meat eating family to get their children to eat. You would probably conclude that it is doubly difficult to come up with kid friendly vegetarian meals for the family that does not eat meat.
However, it is not as bad as you think. You will have to utilize similar methods as the meat eating parent…methods such as presenting the food in interesting ways by providing lots of shapes and colours and making the eating process fun.
The children have caught onto the airplane trick. No more flying and landing the food in their mouth. They can all count very well so the miscounting trick won’t work anymore either. You know what I am talking about, don’t you? Sure you do. “Take only 5 more spoonful and then you can stop. One…two…three…three and a half…two…” Are you guilty of that trick?
The dog under the table benefits when you tell your child not to move from the table until the plate is empty. The children have also perfected the art of regurgitating their food. The way they behave makes you wonder if they think the food is poison.
With all of those antics, the bottom line is that the child has to eat, and they need to eat good healthy food. For those of you in a vegetarian household, don’t despair. Here are 11 Kid Friendly Vegetarian Meal Ideas that will tempt even the pickiest of eaters.
Mac and Cheese
What child doesn’t like Mac and Cheese? This is a favourite with so many children that you can definitely call this meal a winner. If the child is vegan or allergic to dairy, you can substitute the cheese with cashew cheese sauce which is just a more thinned out version of cashew cheese spread.
Mac and cheese is also a good meal to sneak in some other wholesome goodness. Try adding some cauliflower or broccoli to the dish. Feel free to get creative with what you add.
Here is another winner. The trick though is to add lots of healthy food to the pizza.
Not sure how to go about doing that? Don’t worry. Taste of Home has a collection of 30 vegetarian recipes that are just so mouthwatering that you will want to eat pizza every day. You are going to have problems choosing which ones to make as they are all so good you are going to want to make them all.
Find the 30 Vegetarian Pizza Recipes here.
I have no idea what is it about noodles that attract children so much. Maybe it is the joy of the continual slurping to get all the noodle into the mouth. Maybe they are thrilled at the idea of eating a long worm and that’s as close as they can get to that reality. I don’t know what it is but the bottom line is that children love noodles. From soups to main course to side dish, they will eat them all.
If you are not sure exactly how to prepare the noodles here are two great suggestions from Cheap Lazy Vegan.
Children love burgers. It’s a common food at picnics and barbecues so you can guess what they associate this food with. Fun, fun, fun. Well, give them the burgers that they love, just substitute the meat. What should you substitute it with? There are many options. You can make burgers from black beans, lentils, tofu, mushroom, vegetables and the list goes on.
Check out these 11 Veggie Burger options from The Spruce Eats. Don’t be surprised when those picky little eaters come back for more.
Yes, children will actually eat and enjoy soup. The thing though is that lots of children do not like lumpy food. The solution to that is to give them smooth soup such as cream of pumpkin soup. Give them the soup along with a whole wheat roll and maybe some slices of cucumber. Just remember, no lumps.
Another favourite. You can make regular potatoes or sweet potato wedges.
Cut the potatoes into wedges and place in a bowl.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
You may add a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika etc. for added flavour if you so desire.
Drizzle some olive oil over the wedges so that the seasonings will stick.
Get in there with those hands and give everything a good rub so that the potatoes are properly coated with the seasonings. The children might actually enjoy doing this part.
Spread out the wedges on a baking sheet and bake at 400 F for about 40 minutes or until they are lightly browned, crisp outside, and tender inside.
Be warned that these wedges might not even make it to the dining table. I am sure you have heard the term “hand-to-mouth” but have you ever heard of “oven to mouth”? That is what is going to happen to your wedges.
Do children really like hummus? You might be pleasantly surprised. You’ll probably find though that they prefer it as a dip and not as a spread. Again that whole association of chip and dip; fun, fun, fun. Serve it with crackers or toasted pita bread. Slip in some carrot and celery sticks and watch them crunch and munch.
You can buy hummus at the grocers or you can make your own hummus from scratch. It is pretty easy to do.
Roasted Chick peas
More than likely your child is going to find chick peas quite boring (according to them) and might refuse to eat it. However, if you toss it with olive oil, a little salt and pepper and roast it in the oven you will see a turn around. This tasty, salty, crunchy snack might just become a favourite.
This joins the list of kid friendly meals not necessarily because of the irresistible taste.
This is simply because kids like their food on a stick. It is fun to eat that way.
How on earth are you going to get your kids to eat 5 servings of fruit per day? I suggest a fruit salad. The variety and colour will attract them and if you can cut some of the fruits into shapes, that will make it even more attractive.
Use whatever fruits you have to make your salad. Sprinkle a few nuts and seeds on top for added nutrition.
No bake cookies
We don’t want to leave out dessert. This is where these No Bake Cookies come in.
Do you know why your kids are going to love these cookies? It’s because they will be able to make the cookies by themselves. No worries about being burnt by the oven.
They can be had as snacks at home or they can be packed in their lunch for school where they can proudly inform the class of the role they played making those cookies.
You are going to be busy for a long time trying out all these kid friendly food options. Be prepared for an increase in your food bill as your picky eaters become ravenous partakers of all your meals.
Let us know which of these meals are the greatest hits for your kids. Share with us in the comments section below.