Vegetarian meals for kids can be healthy, nutritious, delicious, and quick and easy to prepare. According to a 2009 American Dietetic Association position paper posted on the VRG website, children who are raised on vegetarian diets tend to establish lifelong healthy eating patterns. Compared with nonvegetarian kids, vegetarian kids tend to be leaner; have lower serum cholesterol levels; take in less cholesterol, saturated fats and total fat; and have a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
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DIY Bean Burritos
The best part about bean burritos is that kids can make their own. When they participate in the preparation, they're more likely to enjoy what they've made. All you need to do is supply the flour tortillas and the necessary fillings: refried or black beans; cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese; lettuce; tomatoes; diced onions; sour cream; salsa; and guacamole.
Coucous With Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce
A quick and easy vegetarian recipe from the Betty Crocker website, coucous with vegetarian spaghetti sauce calls for combining the sauce with flavorful chick peas. Top the dish with chopped fresh parsley, shredded parmesan cheese and, depending on your kids' taste, crushed red pepper flakes. You can also substitute other vegetables for the chick peas.
Cheesy Cheddar Potato Boats
An adaptation from the Hidden Valley website, this kid-friendly potato dish is made by quartering baked potatoes lengthwise, scooping the potato out of the skins, then coating the inside of the skins with ranch dressing. Put the potatoes back into the skins, add cheddar cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. You can also enhance the dish by adding cooked vegetable pieces, like broccoli or zucchini.
Peanut Butter and Noodles
Adding your kids' favorite flavors to quick meatless dishes is another way to offer variety in your basic menu and get your children to enjoy vegetarian meals like this one adapted from the Vegetarian Kitchen site. Prepare 8 ounces of your child's favorite noodles and serve with a sauce made from 1/2 cup natural peanut butter combined with 1/2 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, and soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to taste.