My kids haven’t noticed that they are not the most adventurous eaters. And, to be fair, they both eat a much wider variety of foods than they did as toddlers/preschoolers.
Nevertheless, over the years I’ve discovered some tried and true ideas for healthy vegetarian meals that are likely to please everyone:
- Scrambled egg sandwich on whole grain bread (melt on cheese if desired), with fresh fruit on the side.
- Grilled cheese (Paninis made with sliced mozzarella are a favorite in our house. Vegan cheez could be subbed in), add veggies like spinach/tomato/avocado as desired, and serve on whole grain bread, with a cup of tomato soup (soup can be used for dipping the sandwich).
- Veggie soups (homemade butternut squash or cream of broccoli are two of our favorites) with fresh whole grain bread and/or whole grain crackers.
- Pasta with vegetables on the side, and a choice of marinara, and vegan “cheez” or traditional Alfredo sauce.
- Taco night (my daughter thinks this should be every Tuesday!): Let everyone prepare their own taco as they like with refried beans and sides of lettuce, chopped tomato, stir-fried bell peppers, grated cheese (or vegan “cheez” shreds–our family likes Daiya brand), regular or tofu-style sour cream, salsa, and avocado slices or guacamole.
- Homemade pizza (English muffin pizzas work well on a busy evening, kids can make their own if desired) with organic mozzarella (or vegan shreds), veggies as desired on the pizza, or on the side.
- Mac and cheese (can be vegan), homemade or from a box mix (My kids like Annie’s Organic Grass Fed), with a little pureed sweet potato to boost nutrients (a small jar of baby food works and is easy–just don’t tell my kids I do this!)
- Veggie burgers, “chik’n” patties, or veggie hot dogs, served with cheese (or cheese substitute)–with lettuce/tomato/avocado as desired–on a whole grain bun, with a side of baked beans (homemade or from a can), or sweet potato fries (homemade or from the freezer section).
- Stir fry with tofu or other meat substitute, over rice or noodles. Save some chopped fresh veggies to serve on the side if kids prefer their veggies raw.
- Homemade cornbread served with chili or other more “adventurous” soups or stews.
- Potato “bar” with sweet and white potatoes with a variety of toppings, such as shredded (real or vegan) cheese, salsa, olives, sour cream (dairy or soy-based), or stir-fried bell peppers.
- Make-your-own sushi night (I must give credit to M. for this idea): Let everyone roll their own favorites into sushi rolls with nori paper cut into squares, rice (mix seasoned rice vinegar into cooked sushi rice), and cucumber, carrot and avocado sliced finely. Serve miso soup on the side.
Good sides to increase nutrient intake:
- Fresh fruit (sliced apple, mango, or watermelon, berries, grapes, or whole clementines), or applesauce or canned peaches (packed in lite syrup or fruit juice).
- Baby carrots or other chopped veg. “sticks” (cucumbers work well), and/or cherry tomatoes, with ranch dressing or hummus to dip.
- Smoothies with fresh fruit or even a little spinach thrown in for a “green” smoothie. My son, who is not a big eater of green vegetables, is a big fan of smoothies, even green ones!
Taco night! It was a Wednesday, though, not a Tuesday…(Picture taken by my son)