How to plan veg meals w/ meat eater family - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-21-2016, 11:45 AM
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How to plan veg meals w/ meat eater family

I'm trying to transition to a vegetarian diet, but I'm really struggling to figure out what to eat because my family, my husband and 4 kids, want to eat meat and that's fine, I'm not going to push my diet on them, I will encourage them from time to time to try it though. I love to cook so I don't mind cooking for them, but where I'm struggling is that I want to be able to have a decent meal too with them and not just be stuck with a couple side dishes or salad every meal, (not that I have a problem with salads but I just can't eat them everyday lol) I'm on a tight grocery budget so I don't feel right about buying separate groceries just for myself. I think it's probably more difficult for me because I eat clean, meaning I try really hard to eat very little processed food as possible. I've looked through the grocery stores and I know there's a whole array of meat substitutes like veggie burgers, but those don't sound good to me.
I've been doing a lot of research trying to find recipes like on Pinterest and I've been searching the web for help to my questions and that's how I found this forum, so I thought this would be the perfect place to get help and I would appreciate any suggestions or advice or even if you guys could give me some cheap meal ideas that would be great.

Thank you!
HappyPhantom
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#2 Old 03-21-2016, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyPhantom View Post
I'm trying to transition to a vegetarian diet, but I'm really struggling to figure out what to eat because my family, my husband and 4 kids, want to eat meat and that's fine, I'm not going to push my diet on them, I will encourage them from time to time to try it though. I love to cook so I don't mind cooking for them, but where I'm struggling is that I want to be able to have a decent meal too with them and not just be stuck with a couple side dishes or salad every meal, (not that I have a problem with salads but I just can't eat them everyday lol) I'm on a tight grocery budget so I don't feel right about buying separate groceries just for myself. I think it's probably more difficult for me because I eat clean, meaning I try really hard to eat very little processed food as possible. I've looked through the grocery stores and I know there's a whole array of meat substitutes like veggie burgers, but those don't sound good to me.
I've been doing a lot of research trying to find recipes like on Pinterest and I've been searching the web for help to my questions and that's how I found this forum, so I thought this would be the perfect place to get help and I would appreciate any suggestions or advice or even if you guys could give me some cheap meal ideas that would be great.

Thank you!
HappyPhantom

It's pretty easy. You just need to look up some vegan dishes on the internet and experiment with them. Include one day a week as vegan to begin with, then two, then three and so on.

Approximately: I have a pasta day, a curry day (usually made with a bought spice paste), a day with nut roast and veggies (weekend), fajita day, hot dogs or burger and chips (obvs processed), stew or casserole (usually chunky root veggies and herby dumplings), a Chinese dish of some kind with tofu and rice or noodles (I usually buy a paste or sauce for this).

At least that's the kind of thing we do.
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#3 Old 03-21-2016, 12:57 PM
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It sounds like meat is often the center of your meals at the moment? That's the tradition I came from: meat, potatoes, and a side dish. I started my veggie journey on side dishes too, and I agree, it can get frustrating and unsatisfying! Try to get away from those types of meals, at least some of the time. As Spudulika suggested, try few days per week with some dinners that don't focus on the meat. If some family members insist on meat, they can add it to their dish.

For example:
- pasta or stir fry with option to add either walnut halves or small pieces of meat at the table (if someone insists on meat)
- a hearty soup or stew with fresh bread (again, if someone insists on meat chunks, they can add it into their own dish at the end...or they can sprinkle roasted peanuts on top instead!)
- fajitas with black beans and choice of seasoned and grilled strips of portabello mushrooms...or meat

I hope this helps, it works for my family and it's gotten to the point where my hubby won't even bother making his meat option anymore. Also, you mentioned cheap ideas...meat is relatively expensive, so please remember that when you 'splurge' on alternatives such as walnuts or portabello mushrooms.
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#4 Old 03-21-2016, 01:50 PM
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There is a nice blog, the kitchen treaty, with lots of recipes and tips for veggies living with carnies. I can't access it from my mobile for some reason, but http://www.kitchentreaty.com/43-reci...ating-together works on my pc.

Make sure you feed yourself too, your family needs you healthy! And veg food is not expensive.

And welcome
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#5 Old 03-29-2016, 05:28 PM
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Hey, don't fret. I think this is a great question and I have the same scenario in my home. I am a new vegetarian (90 days now). Fortunately, I am not the only one that does the grocery shopping and I have older children who can cook for themselves. This approach sounds like it will not work since you seem to have younger children.

I had the same initial concern that I would be eating lots of salads and I too cannot live on salad alone. I think if you can learn how to cook some non-meat meal options that might save you some money spent on meat. The cost of meats are not exactly cheap. So, maybe I can suggest purchasing some TVP - textured vegetable protein. They are granules that are plain in taste and can be substituted into chili, taco meat, ground beef - you just need to be able to season them up correctly so you family will get introduced to non-meat meals that you too can enjoy. That's how I started. There are LOTS of recipes out there on the internet on how to prepare TVP that looks, tastes and feels like meat. So, that might be an option for you so you can have a sit down dinner with the family. I love turning my leftover vegetarian chili into a nacho topping with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, black beans, a little quinoa, sour cream, guacamole - YUM!

Like I said, I'm pretty new but I am totally living the vegetarian lifestyle in a household of meat-eaters. I have a blog, in case you want to follow it called anew vegetarian.com, of my journey and the little things I am doing and recipes I make at home. A lot of my meal portions are for 1-2 people so they are small and cost minimal in comparison to a usual meat-eater diet. So, I'll extend that offer to you and know that there is a large community of people and resources available to you to make this transition work for any budget.

I'd even encourage you to do a little home gardening. Maybe you can grow some tomatoes, kale, fresh herbs. All of this will save you money and you will always have fresh produce right at home. And I think your kids will totally get into it as well. You can do this and not have to eat only salads.


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#6 Old 03-30-2016, 04:28 AM
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I live with an omnivore and have some suggestions that might work for meals that can be enjoyed together:

1. Pizza (either made from scratch or customised) - buy pizza bases or cheese pizzas and then add toppings to taste (everyone can have a small pizza each made to their specification!) Serve with a salad or coleslaw.

2. Pasta dishes - there are so many sauces that can be made meaty & veggie (e.g. make a base tomato sauce and serve with beans for you and grilled meat for them) serve with a side of green beans or brocolli

3. Home made bean burgers for you (and burgers for them) served with a side of potatoes and cabbage - and onion gravy (advantage if you make bulk bean burgers and freeze or chill for later)

4. Mac'n'cheese (vegetarian and enjoyed by almost everyone)

5. Anything mexican - something about mexican food seems to lend itself to veggie versions (by now my fiance prefers the veggie chilli I make)


Please check out this blog http://cookingonabootstrap.com/category/vegan-2/ it's got some really great (budget friendly) vegan options, the kidney bean burger was great - I modified the recipe's spice suggestion to suit me (sadly no leftovers survived as my resident omnivore ate the rest of them straight from the pan).
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