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Hi all!
I could really use some help from some seasoned vegetarians. First let me say that I myself am not a vegetarian. What brings me here is my fourteen-year-old daughter who has recently become a vegetarian. I don't have any problems with it and have been trying to support her decision, but it has become a problem for me with respect to preparing meals.

I do about 99.99% of the cooking at home. I have always had some problems with preparing meals for everyone, but this latest development has thrown some big wrenches into the plan.

So my daughter is now a vegetarian, but will eat dairy foods. She is not willing to give up macaroni and cheese which is her favorite food. My wife is a terribly picky eater and has the palate of a pre-schooler who is unwilling to try anything new. My step-daughter tends to follow her mother's example, but over the years, I am slowly wearing her down into trying new things. My son is autistic and has some food quirks as a result. I myself am diabetic and need to watch my carb intake.

It is next to impossible to try to please everyone. I don't want to become a short-order cook. So in addition to some food suggestions that would work for everyone, I could also use some suggestions and help for dealing with all these difficulties and attitudes.

Thanks.
 

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What are some of the favorite dishes that everyone likes and will eat? Maybe you could make a list, and things that normally have meat could be made either without meat or with meat substitute?
 

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-Make tacos/burritos. The rest of you can have meat, get a can of refried beans for your daughter, and all the rest of the toppings should already be vegetarian friendly.
-Pasta with marinara sauce.
-Pizza. I'd think that between five people, you'd need at least two pizzas, so make one veggie and one with whatever the rest of you want.
 

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well hello there! Good for you for asking for some help. check out www.vegandad.blogspot.com for food blog by a dad. there are some really kid friendly recipes that everyone in your family may enjoy.
 

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I think it is very easy for people to be picky when they have no responsibility in preparing meals. When they actually have to invest some time in making the food, they are more likely to embrace ownership of the final product. I would try to get them into the kitchen to assist in food prep.

I would lean towards meals where people are responsible for assembling their own food. Burritos, fajitas, tacos, sandwiches, stir fry. You can do personal pizzas. Mix the dough, but make them roll it out and put the toppings on.

And I'd try to find a chili dinner combo and a pasta dinner combo everyone could agree on. Like chili and cornbread, or spaghetti and garlic bread and salad. Those are things that can come together quickly, and can be made as vegetarian, and then have the other ingredients added at the end for omnivores if that is necessary.
 

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14 is old enough to start cooking for herself. learning to cook is an excellent tool to maintaining a healthy vegetarian lifestyle, once she has these skills she will use them forever. assist her in the kitchen but let her do most of the cooking for herself.
 

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^^^ that's a good point too. There are some veg cookbooks for 1 or 2 people, or even the college cookbooks would be good, since they are based on cheap meals with little investment as far as cooking tools or appliances.
 

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I think the best thing to do in a famiy like this is to focus on foods where it's sort of a buffet. You're not a short-order cook. Instead, you prepare foods in a way that allows plenty of customization. Like someone else already suggested, you take the concept of a salad bar and apply it to other kinds of foods like tacos, burritos, tostadas, personal pizzas, pita pockets, sandwiches, pasta, and salad too.

Other ideas:
- Teach your kids how to pick out the foods they don't like. When I was a kid I learned how to remove mushrooms from everything and then it was OK. I didn't have to ask people to make food without mushrooms, I just scraped it off. (That can be a bit tricky though because you don't want to ask vegetarians to pick off the meat.)
- Find the deals for kids at restaurants. Many kid-friendly places have one day a week where kids eat free or where things are discounted. If you can find some good coupons for places like Sweet Tomatoes then you can go out once a week or so with your family and let them eat whatever they want without you having to prepare all the food.
- Join groups and have potlucks. There is bound to be a variety of food to satisfy your family.
 

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I hope the OP comes back! Hasn't been back on since this post!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photojess View Post

I hope the OP comes back! Hasn't been back on since this post!
Me, too. I think there's a lot of good advice for him.
 
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