Wednesday, April 04, 2007

my vegetarian son

Up until recently, I had no problems with Alec's diet. Little by little I've been noticing that he liked any sort of meat less and less. Now he just refuses to eat it. I have to beg him, bribe him, and sometimes even feed him myself. I feel guilty because, well, I don't like meat all that much either. I feel bad pressuring him to eat it. It's just that I feel he needs protein. He's so thin. He'll be four years old in June and he still weighs only 30 lbs at the most.
I've been trying to sneak in some meat in his meals. A couple of nights ago, I made stir fry and cut up some beef into tiny little pieces hoping they'd just blend in. He was eating fine, then tasted the beef, took it out of his mouth and said "Eww, this mushroom tastes bad".
So, I've been looking on websites to find information about kids nutrition and protein requirements. I have no problem getting him to eat fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. All he hates is all meat except for fish. But, well, I can't and won't make fish every night. Knowing that he loves the taste of fruit, I tried looking for recipes that included some sort of protein in fruit. I ended up making pork chops in a cranberry glaze. He loved it and ate the whole thing. Score! Wait, Brianna hated it. Suck. Just when I thought she was the perfect dinner daughter who never complains about food (other than eggs), she was whiny yesterday. She was wiping the glaze off the pork chop and complaining the whole time. That's it. I give up. I'm going to become one of those moms who just give them canned food or macaroni and cheese every night. Yeah, and then my mom, my grandma, and Rodrigo's mom will all come over and punch me in the face . . and Rodrigo will marry me just to be able to divorce me.
Ah, I miss the days when the kids were young enough to just eat whatever I gave them. Why did I ever teach them to speak?

feeling: I LOVE this coffee
listening to: The Shins (Phantom Limb)


Jesser said...

I'm with Alec. ;) I'm not a big meat-eater either. Lucky for me, I married the man who really doesn't think it's a meal if it doesn't include a big slab 'o' meat. Have you tried hiding tofu in things? I have a few recipes with "hidden tofu" and they do pretty well on protein. He might also like edamame (or mukimame) with some salt on it ... that's a pretty good proteiny snack. Or maybe soy nuts or other nuts?

Anonymous said...

There are lots of vegetarian sources for your child - if he is not allergic to nuts, they are a great source. Also, beans are fantastic (hi-protein, hi-fiber, low-fat), I like Eden brand or if you soak and cook your own, they taste even better. Lots of kids will eat beans (test every kind on him - some like the white, some love the kidney beans, some love black beans) as finger food but if they don't eat theym whole, you can make them into white bean dips, hummus, etc. or puree in soups. Not only is tofu a great source of protein, but tempeh is too - it's an acquired taste but once you dig it and find a couple of favorite recipes, it's a great thing to keep in the fridge (you can get the flavored kind and just saute cubes up for the kids). And also, people are unaware that whole grains like barley, brown rice, millet and quinoa actually have protein. Dairy: yogurt is great (low-sugar, organic brands of course) and cottage cheese - both great sources of protein and healthier than cheese (which often has as much fat as meat). The main problem with having kids on a vegetarian diet is that they just don't eat that much to start with so they really should eat the vegetarian protein sources throughout the day. Just make sure he eats protein in the morning and then every couple of hours since vegetarian sources of protein don't keep the blood sugar steady or last as long in the digestive system as animal sources! He'll be fine!!! You're doing great! Sincerely, a vegetarian (since I was a kid) nutritionist

foodiechickie said...

I'm the same way Yvett. I don't like meat much, but Niel really likes it so we compromise. I prefer seafood but love bacon and pork though. LOL. I just eat more of the salad and side dish than the meat.
I think this site is pretty inmforative and cute if you do have a vegetarian or vegan site. I just like looking at the pictures for ideas how to pack more creative looking lunches. I need to get rice molds:

MerrieB said...

Ever since my lapband surgery I'm all about finding creative ways of getting enough protein. I have to get 65+ grams of protein a day. I eat lots of dairy snacks, in addition to meat sources. I love the Frigo Cheese Head string cheese. The low fat version has 9 grams of protein per piece. Someone already said this , but beans are an excellent source of protein.

There's nothing wrong with him not eating meat as long as he gets enough protein in a vegetarian diet. Who knows, it could also be a phase. My stepdaughter is a vegetarian because of her love of animals. She's only 11, but she really thought it out.