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Vegan?

Okay, I want to go vegan, but with my son, it is really hard.

He is okay with octo-lavo vegetarian stuff which I make at home, cheese and veggie pizza, macaroni and cheese, etc.

But getting my son to eat vegan is  hard.  It seems the only thing he will eat vegan is recipes similar to general taos tofu with rice.  

I tried to make vegan mac n uncheese but he doesn't care for that.  He even seems to be loosing interestin soymilk

Problem is I work full time and he goes to daycare full time.  So he gets probably 60% of his food (more like 80% during the week) from the daycare.  They don't server vegetarian.  I tried to pack his lunch, but that is so hard to do.  And before he was born I decided that I didn't want to force him to be vegetarian if he doesn't want to so while he was away from home he could eat whatever but while at home he eats what I cook.

So what is beginning to happen is he barely eats at home.  He usually will only  eat a few bites for dinner, literally, only abuot 2 or 3 bites, unless I give him fruit, then he eats a bunch.  For breakfast it is the same, half a cup of soymilk and a few bites of bread or whatever, again, unless it is fruit, then he eats a bunch.  Then when I drop him off they give him breakfast and I see him tearing into it, eating like crazy!  And for lunch I just know he is doing the same thing.

And on the weekends, he barely eats anything!  He will just sit in his high chair with whatever I cooked in front of him and cry.  I just am so frustrated!  

Do you think he is eating less at the daycare then I think?  I used to think I was a pretty good cook but now I am not so sure.  And the things he used to love he doesn't like anymore.  His tastes keep changing!  He used to like blackbeans, but now he won't touch a black bean burrito.

I guess I should just stick with it.  But packing lunch for the daycare really isn't an option, there are too many issues with that.  I guess I just need to learn not to take his criticism so personal.  But how would you feel if everytime you made something you thought was delicious and you proudly served it to your kid, but everytime you did this, your kid would just sit there and cry.  It is really dis-hartening.  I am giving up to tell the truth.  The other day I went to the store and bought a cheese pizza and he ate that.  I just don't know what to do.  I don't want to cook him seperate meals.  Should I just give him fruit for dinner, let him try what I am eating, if he doesn't like, then just fruit, and nothing else?  He won't EAT anything else at home!  

I read on another thread about L2A's son who at the time was 17 months old (same age my son is now) and she said that her son was going through a "bland stage". 

I wonder if Mikey is going through the same thing?  The other day to get him to eat I made pasta with cream of mushroom soup and broccoli, nothing else but salt and pepper and he seemed to really like it!  I couldn't stand it to tell the truth, it was terribly bland.  Maybe that is it? He did not like the spring rolls I made (which were awesome by the way!), or the black bean burritos, or even the tofu nuggets I made last night.  I just can't seem to get it right with him!  Bland, yes, I will try that tonight I think.  Bland. 

For starters Snow, how old is your son?

I know for me at least when I went vegan, all the dairy had to go - ALL of it. If I had some, I wanted more. It wasn't until I got rid of all the dairy in the house, and didn't have any for about a month before the cravings went away. If he is getting it at daycare, he might be in the same boat I was. Conversely, I had to acquire a taste for soy at the same time I was missing milk. During that period I tried tofu for the first time. It was so bad, I did not try it again for 7 months. It honestly might not taste good to him no matter what you do to it for awhile.

Can I ask what recipe you used for the mac and cheese that you made him? If it is like any of the recipes here for it, I would not eat it either, as before I went vegan I didn't have a taste for yeast flakes. I don't know any omnis that do. I wouldn't even try to feed them to someone who wasn't vegan now that I think about it.

Here is another question: is he balking at your veg food specifically, or is he wanting packaged convenience food? Have you tried feeding him seitan dogs or vegan cheese singles?

I know what you are going though with your food being snubbed, as numerous members of my family do it too. Honestly, it hurts and after awhile I have a hard time making an attempt to cook for them at all.

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1.) fruit is vegan
2.) i would try analogues like veggie dogs and soy cheese?
3.) maybe have him stop eating at school, he is still pretty young, i understand you not wanting to "force" him, but it's not like he can make a conscious decision about food yet. 

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I am a single mom too, and I know how rough it is to balance all the things that are going on in your life.  If any of this comes across as harsh or judgemental, please know that I didn't intend it to sound that way. 

First things first.  If health was not a concern, I'd probably eat chocolate for every meal.  I know that it an extreme example, but if the daycare is like any of the ones I've visited, they are feeding him processed food.  (I have yet to see one serve things like baked chicken, vegetables, and fruti.)  They can claim whatever they want about it, but it is junk food.  Your son is too young to make intelligent dietary choices.  He just wants to eat what tastes the best to him.  I know it hurts your feelings, but you have to see it for what it is.  Who wouldn't prefer junk food over healthy food if they weren't going by taste alone.  What Evergreen said is very true.  Through the daycare he has gotten used to processed foods.  You can't expect him to eat your food if he can hold out eat junk food somewhere else. 

I can understand that you want him to make his own choice about being vegan, but by allowing him to eat SAD food most of the time you are making that choice for him more or less.  Research shows that what you are fed the first several years of your life determines your tastes for the rest of your life.  When Caitlin was 3 we were at a restaurant and there was a piece of chicken in her beans.  She spit it out and almost started crying.  She didn't have any idea what it was but said it was disgusting and tried to wash her mouth out.  Now she cringes when she sees people eating chicken.  I don't know anyone else who has tried and disliked chicken.  My point is that we like what we are used to eating.  He could choose to be vegan later in life, but for now you have made the choice for him to be nonvegan.  Is that really what you intended? 

I really hate making anything other than desserts for nonvegans around here.  People here don't really eat vegetables routinely and don't like anything that isn't swimming in grease and/or velveeta.  The food they eat literally sickens me just looking at it.  If it doesn't come out of a box, they won't eat it.  Being vegan or not has little to do with it I think.  It's more about processed versus whole foods.  It hurts when people snub what I make, but I've learn to take it in context. 

I am a single mom too.  My daughter is almost the top priority in my life.  Feeding her healthy food is very important to me.  I'm not saying that these things aren't true of you and your son, but sometimes I need to sit down and really prioritize things.  The choice is obviously up to you, but I personally wouldn't let him eat the daycare's food anymore.  He will protest for a while, but once his tastes changed he would be fine.  You mentioned a few things he likes.  Start there.  If he will eat fruit, maybe add a nut-based dip to round out the meal.  I have yet to find a kid that won't drink a smoothie.  Fixing a lunch for the next day isn't that hard if you do it while making dinner or maybe even over the weekend.  I personally avoid meat/cheese analogs to avoid confusion and because thoy are processed, but in this situation they may be a good place to start.  Trying new things or even bland foods is a good idea, but remember that toddlers like repetition.  If you can find 3 or 4 things he really likes, that is all you really need to get through this picky phase. 

As I see it you really have 2 choices at this point.  You can feed him vegan 99% of the time (accident happen) or mostly give up and feed him omni and let him chose to go vegan later if he chooses.  In my experience it is hard to go back and forth and truly enjoy what you are eating.  I also can't help but wonder what the daycare providers think about this.  Are they thinking "look at that poor kid eat.  His mom only feeds him vegan yucky food at home.  He's practically starving when he comes in."  This is how most nonvegans think.  Is that the message you want to send?  That's really not a major issue, but I could see them intentially feeding him nonvegan stuff even if you put a stop to it, thinking it's in his best interest.  I only mention it, because it is something you need to watch out for.  No matter what you choose to do, your healthy lifestyle will speak loudly to your son, and he is blessed to have you as a mother. 

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snow queen: i agree that your son is probably getting used to all the crap they are feeding him at day care and is starting to crave it... that food is fatty, sugary, and basically addictive for young kids and as labarte said your tastes for certain foods develop young and you don't want him craving that crap the rest of his life... i also agree that he is too young to choose his food path right now so you should make decisions about what he should consume...

maybe you could prep foods on your days off so when you need to pack his lunch you won't have so much work to do... to make life easier you could also buy some pre-made things for his lunch: prepackaged veggies (serve with a vegan dip), vegan yogurt, fruit cups, crackers...Easy things you can make at home are sandwiches, pasta salad, potato salad, cold homemade pizza, old pasta... Good luck my dear don't give up... I agree with feeding him vegan foods you know he likes at first and grow from there

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Thanks for all of your replys!

I only have a minute so I am going to make this quick.  When I posted that long sorry-butt post I was upset, and the post turned out long every time I am upset.  I should know better by now...

Anyway, I may start sending lunch with him to daycare.  I think I will get more small tupperware containers, maybe even lunch box tupe of things that have places for different items.  Then I can pre-make his lunches. 

You are right.  Well, it is time to go home now and tonight it is orange tofu with rice.  I think he will like that. 

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Ooooh. If you can get a copy of Vegan Lunch Box at your library, that could help out with some ideas.

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I agree with what everyone has said, for the most part. If you can send vegan food with your son, but aren't, then you are choosing for him not to be vegan for the sake of ease. If, however, it is like headstart or some other gov. program, then I understand that the kids HAVE to eat what they serve. In that case, do what you can to be consistent at home.

I send a lunch and two snacks every school day with my daughter. Snacks have to contain 2 food groups, one of which must be a protein. I also send soy or almond milk for the days when the other kids have cow milk. It is a total pain in the ass, sometimes. It makes me late for work sometimes, if I was lazy and didn't pack it the night before. Sometimes she comes home with everything still in her lunchbox and I wonder what she DID eat. But, for the most part, she gets a healthy meal, and I don't have to worry too much about her eating weird food. It is do-able.

Pack food the night before, and , like someone said, it doesn't need to be fancy. Kids don't really care if they eat the same thing often. My daughter almost always gets the same basic lunch-a sandwich, soy yogurt or pudding, fruit, nuts or seaweed.

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Get a Laptop Lunch box....so awesome and easy to pack. no waste at all. Noah has been using the same one for 3 years.

Don't take it personally. Lyle (19 mos) won't eat much of anything except fruit and he just wants to snack on Tings, crackers, and cookies. It drives me nuts, but I just do the best I can do-and were sticking with veganism. he is SOOO picky, and likes something one day, and wont touch it the next.

try my eezeee cheezee grilled cheese on here. lyle happens to love that. weird!

ETA
And yes, on the packing lunches. Noah is almost 9 and he has never bought school food a day in his life (and has been in daycare/school since he was 6 months old). Its just part of our routine, and we don't really think about it. It's usually just a sandwich, fresh fruit, yogurt, and some sort of snacky thing to much on, and a drink. Not really a big deal.

Some things that the pickiest eater in the world will eat (lyle):
pancakes, grilled PBandJ, hummus on bread, oatmeal, french toast, eezee cheezee grilled cheese
most of those items can be "doctored up" to include some nutritional supplements.

The kid will not eat any vegetables, but will eat most fruits he is offered.

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L2A, wow, your Lyle sounds almost exactly liky my Mikey.  He LOVES mac n cheese, but when I try vegan mac n cheese, uh uh, no way.  I will try your grilled uncheese sandwhich.  I will look it up, thanks.

And the list you have for Lyle's like - em - foods, looks pretty much the same as MIkey's!

BTW L2A, what kinds of sandwiches do you typicaly pack?  I try to stay away from processed junk, such as vegan lunch meats, do you make the lunch "meat" at home? 

Thanks.

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I know you didn't ask me but vegan dad has an awesome lunch meat recipe: Veggie Lunch Meat

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I know you didn't ask me but vegan dad has an awesome lunch meat recipe: Veggie Lunch Meat

Thank you I can use all the help I can get! 

Anybody know anything about that eezeee cheezeee recipe that L2A was talking about?  I can't seem to find it

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I couldn't find it either. 

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http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=8472.0

there it is!

usually for noah we pack PB and J. It really is a healthy food! Use WW bread. You can try spreading some hemp oil or flax on it, or use a different nut butter. Some recommend not introducing peanuts until age 3. We waited with noah (he used soynut butter a lot) but lyle has peanut butter already.

Noah who is almost  9 now is SUCH a good eater. He eats everything that we prepare now, and wants seconds! he wasn't always that way, and used to want every thing super plain. I hope Lyle will get there someday, but right now it's really tough. He did eat some glazed carrots tonight (brown sugar and EB drenched). And a Boca Chic Patty. I hate giving him those, but DH was cookin tonight!

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YAY SQ~ I'm glad your son liked the eezee cheezee!
you might even try making some and letting it cool and seeing if he will eat it that way....cuz then you can pack it in his lunch for day care!

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Thanks L2A!  I will try that I think.  He doesn't seem to mind things room temperature. 

I don't know if I am imagining things but yesterday my son and I ate exclusively vegan, and so far today, and I plan the rest of the day, also being vegan.  But after eating that eezee cheezee sandwich for lunch I noticed a dramitic rise in energy level for him.  He is normally pretty active, but not like he was yesterday afternoon and so far this morning too.  He has been running around like crazy, and happy!  Luaughing, making cute squeeking noises as he does so.  It is adorable.  Yesterday I thoght maybe it was the nutritional yeast in the sandwich, but today he hasn't had any NY, we had seitan scrable for breakfast (and yet another thing to add to  his list of vegan food he likes) and that had no NY in it, but again he is running around like crazy happy. 

I am thinking that this vegan diet is REALLY good for him.  He doesn't seem to be coughing at much either. 

Definatley going to pack lunch for him!  This is so awesome.  He is so neat to be with right now, and if this is from the vegan diet I see a whole lot of improvement!!!! 

Con: more poop, he blew out a diaper this morning  :o :-\ and I was very glad I have a detachable shower head in my shower!
Pro: more energy, healthier, happier, poop don't stink!  ;)b

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really? poop doesn't stink? did you read my other thread?! lol!

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L2A's grilled cheese sandwich was good :) i just made it!

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Day two of sending lunch for him to daycare.

It is taking some adjustments.  But his couph is still virtually gone.  And now I just read on the internet that dairy allergy commonly causes cronic couph. 

I suspected that he had a dairy intollerance before becuase whenever he would drink a cup of milk he would either spit up or throw up, and at more than a year old he shouldn't be doing that anymore. 

My son has a dairy allergy, of that I am almost sure now.  I think that this vegan diet is going to have to stay.  I can't tell you how much better he is.  He LOOKS better, it is amazing.  How can a simple diet change bring such drastic results for the better?  He doesn't seem to need to sleep as much any more either, but that may be due to the fact that he is no longer waking up at night couphing.  He seems to sleep better, all night.  Wow, vegan diet rocks!

Any more great recipe suggestions?

Luckily at daycare I can send things and they can warm it up in the microwave.  Today I sent some sundried tomato/garlic/pine nuts vegan alphredo sauce (supposed to have been pesto but I messed up, it turned out pretty good though) with some fettuccini, a cup of cut up mango, and some vegan yogurt, and I told them to serve him their fruit with meals.  I left a half gallon of Silk soymilk to give him.

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Today was day six of vegan.  There was some shredded cow cheese in my fridge and some turkey peperoni that needed to be used up, so instead of waisting it I thought I would go off of vegan for one day, the last day, then back to vegan, forever more tomorrow.  Well get this, my son who was the cheese aholic before, wouldn't hardly touch the pizza!  I was amazed.  HE ate two bites of it and and acted like he didn't want anymore.  So I decided to give him leftover vegan grilled cheese from the daycare packed lunch and some fruit, and he ate the grilled cheese and threw the pizza on the floor.  I was amazed, he would have never done that before.

I guess he is vegan now.  I ate the pizza, and now I have an upset stomach.  Hmmm, I think vegan for both of us from now on. 

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I saw in a recipe review that your son liked broccoli rice casserole.  My daughter loves anything with rice in it.  Anyway, I have made a vegan broccoli rice casserole that she loves.  I also served it at a church potluck and to family over the holidays.  No one knew it was vegan and just thought it was Velveeta.  I cook a cup to white rice with a bouillon cube but otherwise according to the directions.  Meanwhile finely dice a small onion and a stalk of celery and cook them until soft and then add a coarse chopped head of broccoli. I add a tab bit of water and steam it until it is just barely cooked.  I then prepare the cashew cheese sauce from this site.  I mix all of this together and spread in a 9 x 13 pan.  My daughter likes french fried onions on top.  Just bake it for about 10-15 minutes at about 350 until bubbly and slightly browned.  I have also made this with double the rice, so I guess it depends on how cheesy you like it.  With 1 cup of rice (before cooking) it is very creamy and cheesy. 

http://vegweb.com/recipephotos/albums/userpics/15967/normal_brocrice.JPG

The cashew cheese sauce is here:  http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=10618.0
It sounds somewhat similar to Dragonfly's but with the healthy addition of the peppers. 

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