Your Ad Here

Monday, August 31, 2009

My vegetarian pre-teen

My 11 year-old son, Colin, has been vegetarian since birth. I had a vegetarian pregnancy and he was born weighing 8lbs 1 oz., 21" when I was 30. On my vegetarian feeding adventure with him, I experimented with different veggie choices to feed him. At one point, when he was an older baby, I came up with a concoction that was a mixture of baby cereal, tofu, yogurt, and flax oil. He loved it! I suppose he didn't quite know better. :-) By about the age of 2, he was done with this.

A challenge I experienced as I went back to work was his diet at day care. As a 2 and 3 year-old, he was getting enticed by what he would see around him and a yogurt mixture was just not going to cut it! The alternatives they had for him sometimes consisted of two pieces of bread and cheese - not grilled or toasted and no condiments. ***sigh***I've been relieved to see that his school has included more and more vegetarian options the past few years. These include bean burritos, pizza, vegetables and fruit. At one point, his choice consisted just of a pb&J sandwich.

I'm also relieved to see that there are increasingly more vegetarian choices in general every year. The market is growing and the increasing competition helps us consumers. It's never been easier to feed kids a vegetarian diet. An easy favorite of even Colin's non-vegetarian friends is veggie dogs or smart dogs. They are certainly a healthier choice for anyone. The stand-by of veggie burgers are always popular and the varieties available keep increasing.

My pre-teen son certainly has more vegetarian choices than my infant daughter, but she doesn't notice yet. I look forward to seeing what veggie choices will be available to her when she is Colin's age.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making Vegetarian Baby Food

My daughter, Maya, turned 6 months recently, on 8/8/09 to be exact. This was a big turning point for me, as it meant the world of food options would open up "big time." I had been feeding her baby cereal since she was a little over 4 months, and could now feed her protein and other choices of vegetables, fruits, and grains.

What I have realized in the past few weeks of my feeding adventure is that there are not a lot of choices of vegetarian baby food with protein, as alternatives to meat baby food. As a native of India, I have been able to rely on my heritage for food choices that I can modify for her. For instance, instead of making regular dal out of lentils, I took some cooked lentil out for her before adding the spices to make dal. I put some in several baby food jars and later added some to baby cereal and breast milk or formula to make a healthy protein rich food for her in addition to vegetables and fruit. This is also vegan. For now, I am raising her vegetarian and include dairy - just yogurt for now. She has loved kefir - plain and peach.

I have also used a little silken tofu mixed with cereal and formula or breast milk. Although, there seems to be a little controversy with tofu so I lean more towards other choices for protein. Maya is in the 97% for height and about 70% for weight. I can not attribute her size to her diet, but at least I won't be accused of hampering her growth with her diet!