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Help! need some ideas for meals for teen

Hi I am new to this site and the overall vegitarian/vegan experiance . My daughter is  and has been vegitarian while heading in the full vegan mode, she uses no animal items besides milk she hasn't quite finished the process. I am very proud of her for her decision but am stumped at what she can or will eat ... Are there any good starter foods ? We are spending alot of money on meat crumbles or tofurky or fake cold cuts. She now tells me she really wants some food. I am looking for any help I feel terrible for not being able to give her a balanced meal . Thank you

First of all, I just want to say that I think it's great that you're so supportive of your daughter. That likely means a lot to her (although teens don't always show how much they appreciate their parents' support ;)  ).

In regards to food, you can save a ton of money by not buying all of the "fake" stuff (mock meats, mock cheeses, etc.), so finding her other options will not only be healthier for her but also cheaper for you. Is your daughter a picky eater? Does she like tofu? What about beans? Lentils? Anything that she really DOESN'T like? Give us an idea of her tastes and I'm sure everyone will come up with fabulous suggestions!

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hi kennylisa! welcome to vegweb!  :)

it's great that you are being supportive of your daughter. there are a lot of teens on the board who aren't as lucky to have supporting parent(s) at home!

first, i will point you to this thread, which offers alot of advice on things you'll want to know to keep her healthy:
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16684.0

if she is working on being vegan, this means that she will not eat any foods that come from animals, including meat, fish, chicken, milk products (butter, milk, icecream, etc), or eggs. many also do not eat honey. you will also want to avoid foods that have these ingredients in them. there are a lot of good lists online of hidden animal products in foods. someone has posted a good link for that around here someplace!

as for starter foods, i will say that if she wants to be veggie, that she'll need to be willing to try and eat a variety of foods, including veggies. you don't mention if she is already eating a lot of veggies, but know a lot of kids don't want to eat them. if she eats a variety of foods and gets enough calories, then she shouldn't have any problems.

beans are a good sub for "meat" crumbles-- you can make tacos with them, add them to soup, mash them like you would eggs or chicken for a sandwich fillings. they are also really cheap and can be really filling. a big part of veggie cooking is moving away from the idea many of us are told when we are growing up-- that a meal is a hunk of meat, some potatoes, and pudding for dessert. you don't need to worry about having a "meat" or protein replacement at every meal. a lot of the foods we eat have protein in them, and when we eat a variety we are able to get all the proteins we need.

in terms of cooking, i feel that if kids are old enough to make choices about their diets then they can help contribute to the learning and cooking (as their age allows). let her check out some of the recipes on here (a lot of us have been busy taking pictures so many have pics!) and also check out some vegan cook books at the library.

if there is anything you would like advice on specifically (i.e. replacing cheese or milk), feel free to ask. we are a happy, friendly bunch!

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i know for me--though i am not a teen, but am not to far removed (i'm 25), i looooove lots of salads (romaine lettuce, grapes, garlic sesame sticks, granola, blackberries, with lemon juice for dressing); i looooove brown rice and mixed veggies; making your own seitan (though it can be a tricky experience!)--seitan o' greatness http://www.postpunkkitchen.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=15959
soups are nice too!

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Does anyone remember the name of the thread about a month back about this same topic?  I wanted to paste a link here, but I can't find it.  The mom wanted to make sure her girls were eating okay.  Someone asked if they were covering up an eating disorder and the mom said the girls just like to eat healthy and they choose fruit as snacks at the store.

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Thank you all for responding I didn't want to make message long ... Ok here goes Lexi is very picky her diet has consisted of just fries from Wendy's .. She likes raw veggies .. I have tried tofu but she doesn't like the feel of it ....to mushy, she loves potatoes no matter how they are cooked. I have tried vegetables like eggplant or garden veggies to no luck she is a regular teen . She likes pizza . I have tried shepards pie with the meat crumbles but no luck. I have tricked her and made smoothies with tofu and she liked that . I do really support her .. It takes alot of courage to follow thru she has not eaten any meat for almost  2 years . It is so hard she won't go out to eat because she doesn't trust restaraunts to be honest about there cooking pratices . I have tried making her snacks and treats but using an egg replacer has ruined most items they get to flat and greasy and hard like brownies. I am open to trying new items for her ...Thanks

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Does anyone remember the name of the thread about a month back about this same topic?  I wanted to paste a link here, but I can't find it.  The mom wanted to make sure her girls were eating okay.  Someone asked if they were covering up an eating disorder and the mom said the girls just like to eat healthy and they choose fruit as snacks at the store.

Here's the link. I was thinking about that, too! The name of the thread is "New Vegans":
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16684.0

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As my recently vegetarian married son tells me (mind you, I raised him a veggie and he veered away, only to come back to it) that you can't just give up meat and eat chips, bananas, apples and some salad...you'll get very sick.  How right he is!

Others have said, you don't really need any meat replacements and not every meal needs a distinct source of protein either.  She needs whole grains, quinoa, whole wheat, barley, old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant).  She has to go beyond Granny Smith apples and bananas.  As a reminder, corn and peas are not really vegetables, one is a grain, the other a legume.  We are all talking fresh beets, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, onions, kale, spinach, chard, zucchini, mushrooms. 

I totally agree with getting her to cook some too.  I know I had a real aversion to certain foods like asparagus and green beans because while we had fresh ones, they were cooked until they were totally and thoroughly gray and dead.  Once I learned to cook them properly, I loved them.  Sometimes it is all in the cooking.  Don't feel bad though, I am NOT picking on you.  Most of us have no idea what to do with an eggplant other than slicing it and frying it, the first time we are confronted with one!

Tofu has to be flavored up, seasoned up, spiced up and dressed up.  I have been eating it for about 30 yrs and in those days I had to make my own at home.  I am a die-hard fan and I can eat it out of the box, but most people find this disgusting.  It is rubbery, bland and has a beany taste sort of. 

Look on this site for all sorts of good recipes.  Keep us posted.

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Here's the link. I was thinking about that, too! The name of the thread is "New Vegans":
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16684.0

That's it!  Thanks.  :)

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i understand that some high school students are too busy to cook dinner for themselves, but, if your daughter isnt busy every night, maybe you could have her chose a recipe she wants to make, get all the ingredients and help her make it!  i know id eat anything that i make, no matter how much i dont like it.

in addition.  i have a friend (early 20s, still young, still pretty picky, but getting better) most of the foods she would eat when she went vegan were stirfrys over brown rice.  she chose only the few veggies that she liked and added some braggs (a healthier alternative to soy sauce).  she slowly tried different veggies and spices and is continuing to try different foods.

theres also a category on here called 'various veggies'.  you could look at the specific veggies that your daughter enjoys and find a couple recipes that she might like.

good luck!!

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Does anyone remember the name of the thread about a month back about this same topic?  I wanted to paste a link here, but I can't find it.  The mom wanted to make sure her girls were eating okay.  Someone asked if they were covering up an eating disorder and the mom said the girls just like to eat healthy and they choose fruit as snacks at the store.

Here's the link. I was thinking about that, too! The name of the thread is "New Vegans":
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16684.0

i posted that link in my response.....  ???

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I have tried making her snacks and treats but using an egg replacer has ruined most items they get to flat and greasy and hard like brownies. I am open to trying new items for her ...Thanks

i find that often when i try to make recipes that have eggs/milk in them using egg replacer that they don't turn out so well--usually really crumbly as i remember. i have much better luck baking with vegan recipes. i notice vegan ones tend to have more baking powder and stuff like that in them. i found some links to recipes that i've made for snacky things that turned out really well (some even have tofu in them!)

brownies: http://www.theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=161
chocolate cake: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=6686.0

most of the cookies on here have been rated. just hunt for something that looks good and read the reviews. people are pretty honest when reviewing recipes on here and if they say the don't work then find another one to try.

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I don't have any specific foods tp lug, but just my two cents. I'm 17 and I'm learning to be a helthy vegetarian. My parents were okay with me going vegetarian when I was younger, but I would always end up just eating side dishes. Lots of potatoes and the like. Now that I'm growing up a little (not aging, mind you!) I'm learning to cook more for myself. I appreciate my food more. Why don't you let your daughter browse this site? Take her grocery shopping with you! Perhaps I'm just an oddball, but I love grocery shopping.

I've found that when I try the purely vegan versions of old favorites, the texture is different. Not bad; just different. 

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Does anyone remember the name of the thread about a month back about this same topic?  I wanted to paste a link here, but I can't find it.  The mom wanted to make sure her girls were eating okay.  Someone asked if they were covering up an eating disorder and the mom said the girls just like to eat healthy and they choose fruit as snacks at the store.

Here's the link. I was thinking about that, too! The name of the thread is "New Vegans":
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16684.0

i posted that link in my response.....  ???

::) Yeah, I know.  I saw that afterwords and thought that if I didn't say anything, people might not catch it - but I was dealing with the wrong crowd.  All of the veggies we eat keep us healthy and alert to catch such things.  Now if this were a meat and cheese site, I'd be in the clear.

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My boyfriend and I can't stand the feel of tofu either, so I freeze it. Once it's frozen, take it out and let it thaw. I defrost it in the microwave - it's quicker. Press out any excess water. I cut it up into roughly 1 inch by 1/2 inch pieces. Put it all into a container an squirt soy sauce in there. Put the lid on the container and shake it up until all the tofu has some colour. Then I bake it. Its consistency is no longer slimy. Some say it resembles chicken. This is the only way I can eat tofu and it's really easy. Try that one on her. If you want your tofu to be a bit cruncher just keep cooking it.

When I feel like I haven't been eating enough greens or fresh vegetables I have a bit of a fry-up. I make a stir-fry with everything I can find. I love rice noodles, but any pasta or rice works. Play with stir-fry sauces for flavour. My favourite right now is vegetarian oyster sauce - it's really mushroom sauce.

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About the texture of tofu.. it takes a long time and a lot of experience to learn to prepare tofu with a pleasant texture.  In a restaurant, I've found about 50% of the time even the chefs make tofu terribly. I'd say to try easy things, and to make sure she learns how to cook, because as a vegan, it is necessary.

Here is a list of teen-friendly easy-to-prepare things that I eat all of the time..

Bean tacos:  1 can of black beans: cook beans and can liquid on medium heat, with 1 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of chili powder. Drain before serving. Top it with fresh salsa: 2-3 roma tomatoes, 1/2-1 yellow or red onion, 2 cloves garlic, optional bell pepper/jalapeno. Dice all small, add a splash of rice vinegar and a pinch of dried parsley or fresh cilantro. Assemble beans topped with lettuce and salsa in heated soft corn tortillas, this makes about 8 tacos.

http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=10680.0 Dragonfly's Fried Rice, I make a huge batch of rice to last for about 5 meals.  For each meal, just saute onions and carrots, cabbage and I sometimes make some peas, throw it and the cold rice together and saute everything together with some soy sauce until it's warm.

Instead of fries as a side, I like roasted root vegetables.  Just wash & cube everything medium sized (3 carrots and 2 small potatoes is what I normally do) and toss with a sauce of 1 tbs olive oil, 1/2 tbs soy sauce, and a little ground sage. Put everything in tin foil, close it up. Cook at 325 for 40 minutes or so. Turn halfway through cooking or the potatoes will stick.

Always have vegan spaghetti sauce on hand, you can make whole wheat pasta, and mini-english muffin pizzas in the oven, with onions, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, whatever you happen to have.  I top with a little of Dragonfly's uncheese, melted (I'm a big fan obviously!).

Good luck!

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I'm a very mediocre cook and I can make some delicious things with a little imagination and the help of vegweb. I agree with Kylissa though, it is important to learn to cook. Not because she's vegan but because everyone should know how to cook healthy meals. Preparing fresh tofu is difficult, but I don't think you can really screw up frozen and thawed tofu. Trust me, if you could, I would have.

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White bean tomatoey based soup (Like a pasta fagiole) you can add pasta too. Serve it with lots of bread.

Lentil soup

Broccoli and garlic sauce over white rice (You can add fried tofu cubes, fried red and green peppers and fried mushrooms to it).

Spaghetti and veggie meat sauce.

Spaghetti and pesto sauce.

Spaghetti and alfredo sauce.

Vegetarian chili with cornbread or breadsticks.

A big plate of homefries.

Lasagna

two big spring rolls served with mustard.

Pizza with fried red peppers and veggie meatballs

Pizza with fried green peppers and pieces of veggie ham

Pizza with any kind of vegetable ( cooked beforehand though the vegetable).

Baked individual spinach pies served mustard.

French fries and a tossed salad served with bread.

stuffed shells with tofu ricotta

mock chicken salad sandwiches with potato chips

veggie meatball hero

veggie turkey sandwiches with potato chips

Fried tofu chicken served with veggie coleslaw

Italian stuffed mushrooms (www.Bettycrocker.com) I think it's a meal within itself

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I'm not sure whether someone has already suggested this--there are so many good suggestions here--but since Dragonfly's uncheese sauce (http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=7126.0) was mentioned, I'll add my two cents worth.

We just call it Dragonfly Sauce around my house and put it on soba noodles topped with steamed (or otherwise cooked) veggies and also on baked or boiled potatoes. Both are delicious and very simple. Don't expect it to taste like cheese, but it adds another satisfying flavor to the food.

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I'm not sure whether someone has already suggested this--there are so many good suggestions here--but since Dragonfly's uncheese sauce (http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=7126.0) was mentioned, I'll add my two cents worth.

We just call it Dragonfly Sauce around my house and put it on soba noodles topped with steamed (or otherwise cooked) veggies and also on baked or boiled potatoes. Both are delicious and very simple. Don't expect it to taste like cheese, but it adds another satisfying flavor to the food.

I would love to make the Dragonfly cheese sauce and any of the yeast cheese recipes really. But I don't want to use anything that was made on the same equipment with eggs or milk. Are there alot of brands of nutritional yeast out there? All I know is of Redd Star

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I doubt that Red Star is made with equipment that has processed eggs or milk. It is made and/or used by the folks at The Farm (in Summerville, TN) and they have been vegan for 30 years. You can get Red Star yeast through http://www.bulkfoods.com (probably other places, too).

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