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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would like some advice.

I want to start eating healthier. My parents usually ask me what I want to eat and I am actually scared to say anything that is vegetarian related because they often say bad things about them. Even if I did, they would add chicken, french fries, or fish in. So lunch and dinner usually ends up being hot dogs, grilled cheese, cheese burgers and french fries, tacos or pizza. How unhealthy is this food?

I have eaten all this junk food so often that I feel I am becoming unhealthy. I weigh 145 at 18 which is proper, but I want to start eating healthier - I've already dropped my soda consumption from 3 sodas a day to 1 soda a day.

What do you suggest I eat in place of the aforementioned foods? I eat salad once in a while... and sometimes I eat mash potatoes and corn. But I need more options. I haven't yet learned how to cook yet due to many problems - I'll keep it at that. I have been trying to learn though. One other thing that scares me is telling my parents I want to go vegan - they will think I am stupid and deny my access to that type of food I believe.

I just like more plant and fruit meals and never really cared too much for meat. I want to save more animals and I wan to start eating more variety and eating healthier. Thoughts on telling mom? Any other information is welcome aswell.
 

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Honestly, it depends how the grilled cheese is prepared, how the french fries are prepared, whats in the tacos and pizza (all btw, are vegetarian depending on what you do to them).

If you're 18, why can't you make your own decisions/buy your own foods?

Also, you can add in nuts and fruits. Its summer time, so lots of fruit should be available. Just tell them you're trying to eat healthier, the truth. Honestly, if parents have a problem with their kid trying to be healthy, there are HUGE issues at foot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am talking fast food tacos and cheese burgers. French fries are usually deep fried at home. Occasionally we make tacos at home with regular tortilla shells and put in meat, tomato, onions, lettuce and sauce. So it is pretty healthy I would say. Pizza is usually store bought frozen and cook on a machine we have for 13 minutes, I believe it is called the pizzazzo. Chicken is store bought and deep fried.

I would like some good ideas on what is healthy and what is not and what I should buy. I just don't have a good idea of what healthy foods consist of. I know people have told me there are vegetarian pizzas that I can make.

I am still learning how to make foods and buy my own food. I don't like to spread it too far, but I am autistic and have some problems with preparing food (also I think it might be because I was never taught how.) But I am slowly advancing though that and learning to live Independently.

buying grapes/bananas/apples are a good idea.
 

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I am glad you are looking to making more compassionate and healthy choices.

We don't ahve much information on your typical breakfasts, but I can tell you that the typical diet that your parents have chosen and that you are following will be deficient in the following ways:

Hot dog on bun, french fries for lunch and three slices cheese pizza for dinner - 43% of calories from fat (too high, aim for 30% or lower), deficient in vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pant. acid, potassium, riboflavin, and zinc.

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If you had a cheeseburger for lunch with tacos (with lettuce, tomatoes) for dinner, it's the same predicament.

45% of calories from fat, deficient in vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pant. acid, potassium, phosphorus, selenium.

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The problems with this processed and low-nutrient diet are many, including too much fat, not enough vitamins/minerals, not enough hydration/fresh foods, too much cholesterol and hydrogenated oils.

The best thing you can do, even if you don't go vegetarian or vegan, for your body is to include more RAW WHOLE fresh fruits and vegetables, of all colors and varieties, especially leafy greens. These foods will give your body the nutrients it needs and even have enough percentage calories from protein to provide the necessary protein for your body, provided you eat enough food throughout the day. They also contain good fats and excellent omega 3:6 ratios, of which a high-grain diet does not.

If your concern also extends to animals, do not shy away from admitting this......being compassionate and caring, to me, can not be seen as a "bad" or negative trait. If it is considered such, look to the person who views it this way, and not yourself, for the "problem" or issue. Maybe they had a bad experience with a vegetarian or maybe they know, deep down, that a fried-food diet for a growing child didn't provide adequate nutrition. Be positive and track your calories and nutrition.
 

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Perhaps it would be easiest for you to go at this from the 'learning to cook' angle?

Pizzas don't have to be unhealthy for a start. You could start by trying to make one of those. Make a thin crust, spread with tomato puree, add as many veggies as you like, and very carefully measure out the cheese. The only tricky bit is the crust, and you should be able to find recipes for that fairly easily online. You could also make homemade chips (fries); peel and slice a potato, boil until they slip off a knife (about four minutes), place in a baking tray, spray with spray oil, and bake for 20 minutes on high, so they go crispy. Season with salt, ground garlic or garlic powder, whatever you like. Or just start including veggies as a side dish in everything you eat, and slowly phase out the other stuff.

Would your parents be more respectful of your diet if you could take up a sport and blame all changes on a third party? Ie, coach says I need to cut down on fat, etc?

I'd also suggest that you look for a job. That will get you out of the house for at least one meal every working day, so you can make your own choices there. It'll also give you financial independence, to buy some of your own food.
 

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Hi! First and foremost, I'd recommend that you go to the library and check out several vegetarian books for beginners (many of them also have sections for recipes). If you don't want your parents to see them, you could read them there. They have lots of info on nutrition and getting started.

For immediately improving the healthfulness of your food, why don't you offer to help your parents make lunch/dinner and make a few changes? Tacos/Burritos are already pretty healthy (provided you watch the sodium), so you could make them loaded with beans, veggies, salsa, etc. Pizza can be made at home with whole wheat crusts (they sell them individually, I believe), rich tomato sauce, veggies, and light cheese. You can update hotdogs by eating soy dogs and whole grain buns. This could just be one tactic for eating better while still staying in your family's normal diet. However, I would say that you might want to avoid the deep fryer. Deep fried anything should be a special treat, not a daily occurrence. Even baking the fries would make them slightly more healthy.

Ultimately though, you'll likely want to tell your parents. I'd advise that you initially stick to the health argument--as it would be more difficult for parents to say "No, I'd rather you eat a diet that increases your risk of a heart attack by 24%" than simply refuting an ethical statement "Well, I don't think eating meat is wrong." Hope this helps!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by River View Post

Honestly, it depends how the grilled cheese is prepared, how the french fries are prepared, whats in the tacos and pizza (all btw, are vegetarian depending on what you do to them).

If you're 18, why can't you make your own decisions/buy your own foods?

Also, you can add in nuts and fruits. Its summer time, so lots of fruit should be available. Just tell them you're trying to eat healthier, the truth. Honestly, if parents have a problem with their kid trying to be healthy, there are HUGE issues at foot.
A properly balanced diet, with or without meat can be healthy. Meat is not unhealthy in the proper servings.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatman View Post

A properly balanced diet, with or without meat can be healthy. Meat is not unhealthy in the proper servings.
Not sure where River said meat was unhealthy? It's possible that one could have a fairly healthy diet while still eating meat but the OP seems to want support in eating a healthy vegetarian diet. Vegetarians and vegans tend to have many lowered health risks so it makes sense to me. That's not to say there aren't those that eat unhealthy junk foods while veg.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatman View Post

A properly balanced diet, with or without meat can be healthy. Meat is not unhealthy in the proper servings.
Not unhealthy? It's DEAD! :p

Can't get much worse than that!
 

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You can do lots of easy meals with tinned and/or frozen produce. Pasta and rice are easy to cook and you can make a quick sauce to go with either using veggies and a jar of sauce. Wraps are easy too, fill them with some grated carrot, lettuce and tinned beans. Fresh fruit is of course simple and easy snack, also things like nuts or trail mix or dried fruit. Try to find an easy vegetarian cookbook. They really help if you just don't know where to start.
As for dealing with your parents, definitely talk to them. Tell them you want to eat healthy foods. Tell them you don't really like the things like fried chicken and that you do like fruits and vegetables. It's great you want to eat a healthy and animal-friendly diet! Keep asking questions here too.

ETA: Had another idea - try to find a vegetarian recipe of something you really want to try, and show your mum the recipe. Tell her you saw the recipe and it sounds good and maybe she could help you make it.
 

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The best way to learn to cook is to use recipes and just go at it. It'll be intimidating at first, but soon, the recipes that were scary will seem boring and simple. As far as nutrition is concerned, you want to include a large variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and very little egg/dairy if you're still eating those. "Being Vegetarian for Dummies" has a lot of good nutrition advice that's easy to understand and some suggestions for simple vegetarian meals. You can get it on amazon for pretty cheap.

If you do rely on your parents for meals, maybe try having a different version of what they're having. Prepare some refried beans when they're preparing meat for tacos, or have veggie burgers when they're having beef burgers, etc.
 

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There is some great advice here. I think that cooking and shopping for yourself is going to be your best option. If your family asks; you can say that you are interested in eating healthier, learning to cook, and you want to know how to prepare your own meals for when you will have to live on your own in the future. You could consider taking a cooking class, buying some recipe books for beginners that have explanations of terms and techniques in them and watching cooking shows on TV to learn some techniques. Most cooking shows aren't vegetarian but you can see how things are prepared and how the tools and appliances are used.

Veggies and rice is really easy to make, the instructions for cooking rice are on the bag and I usually just toss in some vegetable boullion, chopped veggies and/or canned beans, (sometimes some cubbed firm tofu too), along with the rice and then sprinkle some soy sauce and pepper on it when it's done.
 

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Could you come at it from a healthier balanced diet angle? Like let's have more fruit, fresh veggies and whole grains so we can all be healthy and feel better. If they are super resistant, don't mention the meat for a while, just don't eat it. If you can get them to have some of those foods at every meal, you will at least have something healthy and veggie to eat.
 

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An easy way to start is to just eat small portions of the things your folks are serving, but add large portions of vegetables along with.

You can just steam or boil broccoli, spinach, carrots, anything, and with olive oil or butter, salt and pepper, maybe lime juice or curry powder, your're off to a good start.

Then gradually replace the meat with beans, tofu, nuts, whole grains.

It takes time to change habits, but once they change you'll be just as happy with the new foods.

Good luck!
 

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I think vegetarianism is only an option once your independent or if your parents understand it and want to give you that option. That doesn't sound like the case here. If they don't respect your decision then at least try and be conscious about what you eat. You want to get as much variety in your diet as possible, eat lots of fruit, veggies, beans, seeds, nuts and cut out all the fast foods. It's good that you eliminated sodas from your diet, drink lots of water and juice (make sure it doesn't contain syrup or other harmful ingredients). Also cut out some dairy instead of drinking and eating so much milk and cheese try some soy or almond milk. If you have to eat meat go for chicken, fish or turkey just remember to workout and you'll be alright. It's not hard reading labels, just remember there's a difference between good fats and bad fats, too much sugar or salt can't be good either.
 

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An easy way to start would be to make small improvements in the foods you already eat. For instance, you could eat whole wheat bread for sandwiches instead of white bread, veggie soy dogs instead of hot dogs and so on. If you have issues with preparing food and/or are not an experienced cook, you might also find you like to create a food routine. For example, I have a handful of breakfasts and lunches I alternate between, and when I want to change things up, I change up dinner. Also, try and think in terms of food groups. Include a fruit or vegetable with every meal. Some easy ones which don't require much in the way of preparation include bagged salad, baby carrots, grapes, bananas and so on. So for instance, your typical plan might look like this:

Breakfast: Bowl of cereal with soy milk and banana (vary the cereal) or oatmeal (add 1/2 cup regular oats to a prepared package to bulk it up and cut the sugar) with soy milk on the side.

Lunch: Cup of canned soup (lentil, split pea, black bean, vegetable etc.) with whole grain crackers and baby carrots, or a sandwich (soy cheese, peanut butter, cream cheese, hummus) with a fruit and a vegetable.

Snacks: raisins, crackers, baby carrots with ranch dressing, fresh fruit, canned fruit cup, fruit leather etc.

Dinner: Something fun suck as pasta with tomato sauce (mix in some frozen vegetables) or vegetable stir fry over rice, or veggie hot dogs or burgers etc. Add a bowl of salad on the side.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkrfish View Post

Would like some advice.

I want to start eating healthier. My parents usually ask me what I want to eat and I am actually scared to say anything that is vegetarian related because they often say bad things about them. Even if I did, they would add chicken, french fries, or fish in. So lunch and dinner usually ends up being hot dogs, grilled cheese, cheese burgers and french fries, tacos or pizza. How unhealthy is this food?
It's very unhealthy. Once in awhile is fine, just not daily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkrfish View Post

I have eaten all this junk food so often that I feel I am becoming unhealthy. I weigh 145 at 18 which is proper, but I want to start eating healthier - I've already dropped my soda consumption from 3 sodas a day to 1 soda a day.

What do you suggest I eat in place of the aforementioned foods? I eat salad once in a while... and sometimes I eat mash potatoes and corn. But I need more options. I haven't yet learned how to cook yet due to many problems - I'll keep it at that. I have been trying to learn though. One other thing that scares me is telling my parents I want to go vegan - they will think I am stupid and deny my access to that type of food I believe.
I'd start by drinking more water. Don't be afraid to browse the recipe section here or elsewhere on the web (vegweb and vegetariantimes.com are two good places to start), as well as the library (641 is the cookbook section)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkrfish View Post

I just like more plant and fruit meals and never really cared too much for meat. I want to save more animals and I wan to start eating more variety and eating healthier. Thoughts on telling mom? Any other information is welcome aswell.
Why aren't you allowed to cook? Are you home before your parents? Tell them you will fix dinner one night, and it will be ready by the time they get home. Try those websites and books I recommended. Try different fruits and veggies--cucumbers in vinegar with some pepper and a TBSN of sugar (to cut the sourness of the vinegar) is good...veggie sticks are good--carrots, celery, bell peppers, etc. Good luck with everything, I hope it works out for you.
 
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