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Child Vegetarian Problems

So it seems like I have created a monster with my conversion to vegetarianism. My little sister who is 12 years old has decided to follow in her big brother's foot steps and become a vegetarian as well. That is all fine and great but she does not like anything plant based which is a key to vegetarianism.
My sister is one of the worst eaters I know. Before, she would only eat meat and bread and no veggies. Now she is only eating bread and quesadillas. She does not like any beans, any vegetables and she is going to wind up malnourished. My mother has explained to her that she is not eating properly but as you know kids are stubborn especially this little one. She wont even listen to me when it comes to eating right. I don't know what to do about it.

Any people experienced with kids like this that want to offer some advice on this important matter?

Fri. May 23, 2:15pm

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my son was the same way, at first you may have to doctor the veggies quite a bit, lots of cheese and dips, also have her participate in the preparations. We are now growing our own garden, every day we water he gets very excited about his plants, and we talk about what we will make with them.
Also make sure you have lots of variety. He is a long way from perfect but everyday we are getting better.

Friday, May 23, 2008, 2:43 PM

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If you can afford it, some of the meat substitutes are definitely worth buying. Fake burgers, dogs, chicken nuggets, ground beef, etc.

This does not, of course, address the nutrients that only fruits and veggies provide. Does she at least like fruit?

Friday, May 23, 2008, 2:53 PM

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I think she eats a banana here and there but that is about it.

Friday, May 23, 2008, 3:39 PM

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My kiddos are vegan, and it was tough when we 1st 'converted'. Try to get her to drink smoothies, especially green smoothies! There are TONS of recipes online, and you can easily pack in tons of vitamins and nutrients and cover the veggie tast with fruits/juices.

Friday, May 23, 2008, 3:52 PM

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Try mixing in veggies into her favorite foods that are bread-looking. Like add diced onions, broccoli, carrots, and peas into brown rice and mix. Make a sandwich with whole wheat bread and put avacado, cucumber and some italian dressing inside. Lasagna with eggplant and lots of other veggies inside. There are lots of ways to slowly sneak veggies in. I know a mother who bakes veggies into her cookies and breakfast breads. Good luck!

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 1:03 PM

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So she wasn't eating veggies before either? So why was this okay with your mom? My kid went through that as well, I basically told her that if she didn't eat the veggies that she wouldn't get anything else, especially bread. I started serving her the veggies alone before anything else, after 2 days that stopped. She decided she liked carrots, broc, squash, green beans, sweet peas and lots of other veggies. It may seem mean but it forces them to try it. Our new rule for new food is she has to try it at least 3x and have 4 bites to know if she likes it or not and if she still doesn't like it I try again in a few months. Kids are fickle what they like today they might not eat tomorrow.
Try to get her to eat tofu, make the veggie part of it fun for her.

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 1:36 PM

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1:36 - like your strategy. Seriously, if some parents only served what their kids wanted - they'd get nothing put processed carbs (mac 'n cheese) and fried food (chicken fingers!)

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 2:47 PM

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my daughter went through this when she was 15 or 16 - too old for me to do much about it. She would eat some beans, but no eggs, cheese, meat, only a small amount of peanut butter. I tried doing lots of bean receipies, and she would eat salad, but getting enough protien just wasn't happenening. It went on like this for 4-5 months. Finally she acknowledged she had turned into what she called a 'candytarian'. She knew it wasn't healthy. From there she went back to healthy eating.

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 6:07 PM

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young kids will not starve themselves. if you are truly concerned about how much she is getting. i would try sneaking the veggies into her other foods somehow be creative. my daughter is fortunately not like that she loves all fruits and veggies and that is pretty much all shell eat other than her soy milk but we continually offer her other things at every meal and she chooses what she wants and what she doesnt. she gets what we have . if she doesnt like it she doesnt have to eat it but she gets nothing else. i refuse to make multiple meals. just keep trying im sure eventually she will grow out of it an dstart to eat other things

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 8:24 PM

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parents have power

You have it right on! The parent has control here of what is purchased and in the house. They will eat if they are hungry enough. It is a tough fight...and sometimes the peas sit there and they eat them cold....but they learn to eat them and next time they will eat them hot because they are better that way.

Don't call the super nanny on this. Mom and dad have to do it and model it.

What do your parents eat?

Saturday, May 24, 2008, 9:40 PM

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Okay, 3 problems I see with 'sneaking' it in:
1. If it's visable, she still won't eat it.
2. This is not teaching her how to eat healthy and enjoy it! It would be a greta idea to teach her how to eat healthy for life.
3. There is no way she can get close to the daily nutrients she needs by eating a cookie with a 1/4 baby carrot in it.

I love what the above poster said about feeding veggies 1st at dinner, this worked SO WELL in my home too.

Another idea:
IMake it a game! Once a month, we have 'The Great Veggie Challenge". We go to the store, everyone picks out 3 veggie (one had to be a new/rarely eaten veggie) and come home and cook/dress them any way we want! (My kids are young, so sometimes it's gross concostions, but you get the point!) We all try them, and vote ananomously for our favorite one. The winner gets $5 dollars, and they always discover ways to eat veggies they might not have liked before! The bonus is that we most often look up how to prep and cook the veg, and I gt to learn and teach them what that particular veggie has that our bodies need.

Sunday, May 25, 2008, 11:53 AM

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Love the "Veggie Challenge" 11:53! Very creative and fun!

Sunday, May 25, 2008, 5:59 PM

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Anyone with kids...

knows that once they are in middle school, it will be nearly impossible to monitor their foods. I would suggest the morningstar line of chicken nuggets, breakfast patties, and chicken sandwich patties. I would be nice if you could force the veggie thing and with hold the other stuff until she eats the veg, but it is not realistic. Plenty of adults go days without a veg and are still alive (walking time bombs). I would explain the saturated fat concept to her. She may at least begin to think about it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008, 6:42 PM

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I have kids....

And I still expect to be the parent in the house when they are in middle school. ESPECIALLY IN MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Getting our children to eat healthy, exercise, vitamins is our job regardless of MIDDLE SCHOOL. Middle school is 6th grade - 8th...age 12-14 (appriximately).

Especially then we need to work harder to stay on top of what they are doing in general...not just the food.

If we give up on good habits for chicken patties just because they are "at that age", we should give up on trying to teach them anything past the point of puberty!

There have been some great creative ideas here about how to challenge your children to try veggies. Thank you! When you value healthy eating, you can find ways to be creative so that your kids will try things.

But 6:42 don't be fooled into thinking you don't have some control over your child's dietary choices. You do the shopping and probably most of the cooking.

OP- your question is about your sister's unhealthy eating choices and your mother not being able to control or influence that.

I'll bet there is more going on here than just an eating issue.

Best wishes as you try to be a good influence on her.

Monday, May 26, 2008, 9:15 PM

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Amen to that 9:15! I have family with kids who are 3 -5 and they're already shrugging their shoulders with a 'Whaddaya gonna do?' from issues to eating, sleeping, manners, etc. Yikes! Throwing in the towel already?? If their kids are in the driver's seat now, can you imagine the teen years!? LOL - no wonder my children think I'm so mean, by comparison I am! But they are delightful to be around and they have a well-rounded diet ;)

Monday, May 26, 2008, 10:45 PM

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I have a very picky eater. Here's a weird tip. Buy baby foods like peas, green beans, squash, whatever. Stir it in her food. She won't see it or taste it unless she is eating something super bland. That, and you might see if she will take a vitamin or health drink.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 8:23 AM

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