What to Do When Your Teen Turns Vegetarian

Your teenager declares that s/he is now a vegetarian. What do you do? Here are some tips and food ideas to meld your child’s new practice into your family’s lifestyle.

Let Go of the Apron Strings  Let your teen cook. Deviating from your family’s eating style is a sign of autonomy, and cooking is an act of independence. Your teen can run the show and be as creative as desired with ingredients. Give your teen some praise and respect for learning how to make new things and discover new tastes. By sharing their food with family and friends, your child can connect with others and find satisfaction in expanding their culinary point of view.

California Spinach DipVeggie Basics  Often teens transition to vegetarianism by eating a diet of pizza, junk food and sweets…and by gaining weight. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are the basics for building a healthy vegetarian foundation that will help your teen thrive and grow into a healthy adult.

Salads  Abandon your current vision of a salad, i.e., lots of leaves and dressing. Salads can be power-packed with nutrition, color, freshness and best of all, they can be spontaneous and easy to create. Teens love to be inventive (no rules!), so encourage them to be free spirits in the kitchen and create some ‘off-the-cuff’ salads with fruit and grains too.

Fresh StrawberriesHealthy Tip:  Use darker greens like romaine, red leaf, arugula, baby beet greens, and gourmet salad blends over iceberg. Think color and toss in splashes of bright orange, red, yellow, and purple produce. Add anything you have on hand — from pasta, bell peppers, beets, corn kernels, cubed tofu, beans, nuts/seeds, raisins, wheat germ, quinoa, crusty bread. Winning ideas:   Continue reading “What to Do When Your Teen Turns Vegetarian”