How to plan meals for the vegetarian teenager

Preparing healthy meals for the family can be a challenge, especially if one of the members, especially a teenager, decides to become a vegetarian. Teenagers need to know that being a vegetarian requires more than simply eliminating meat from their diet! Plus, they have to eat all their vegetables!

A vegetarian diet if appropriately planned is a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet. It also generates health benefits since it contributes to preventing and treating certain diseases.  

To support your teen’s food choices, you need to learn new ways to prepare some family meals. Your teen can learn to cook and prepare nutritionally balanced meals through participation.

Nutrients to pay special attention to

All vegetarians need to eat various categories of beans, peas, lentils, soy products, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and eggs makes it easy to meet protein needs. Especially people who don’t eat any animal products, should get enough iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and zinc.

Iron

Choose whole-grain breads and cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, eggs, lentils, and nuts. For example, eat cereal, drink orange juice for breakfast, add strawberries, kiwis, peppers, or tomatoes to your dark green leafy vegetables, and prepare a vegetarian chili made from tomatoes and beans. To increase iron absorption from plant foods, simultaneously consume foods rich in vitamin C.

Calcium and vitamin D

Each day, consume two cups of fortified milk or soy beverage. Some non-dairy products also contain calcium, including calcium-based tofu, broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, almonds or almond butter, and cooked beans such as soya, white bean, white bean, black bean, dry bean, as well as juices fortified with calcium. A calcium and vitamin D supplement may benefit vegetarians who do not consume milk or alternatives, including fortified soy beverages.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is found in foods of animal origin, including milk and eggs. If you don’t eat any animal products, look for foods fortified with vitamin B12, including fortified cereals, fortified soy milk, fortified vegetable “meats,” or take a vitamin B12 supplement.

Zinc

Opt for beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs all contain zinc.

How to plan a meal guide for vegetarian teens

Remember that the Food Guide is only a guide to healthy eating. The eating habits of vegetarian adolescents do not differ from the behaviors recommended for non-vegetarian adolescents.

Keep in mind that hunger associated with growth spurts or increased activity changes. Also appetite seen in tall people. The only difference is in the type of food chosen.

Plan meals with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables to meet your increased dietary needs.

Fruits and vegetables

Try about 8 servings per day for men. 7 servings per day for women.

Grain products

7 servings per day for men. 6 servings per day for women.

Milk and alternatives

This includes fortified soy beverages. 3 or 4 servings per day for men and women will be better for your meal plan.

Meat and Alternatives

3 servings per day for men. 2 servings per day for women.

Few meal items for vegetarian teens

Omelets or frittata made with vegetable are good choice. Plan meals including asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, and onions, served with whole-grain bread or toast and a glass of milk or fortified soy milk

Burritos or tacos made with dried beans, black beans, or refried beans is your another option.

Stir-fry tofu with vegetables, and nuts, served with whole-grain couscous or brown rice.

Salad made with leafy green vegetables, chickpeas, white or kidney beans, nuts, vegetables, pasta, rice, couscous, or barley

Falafel and hummus made with chickpeas, served with whole-grain pita bread, salad, peppers, or carrots

Multigrain or whole-grain bagels spread with peanut or almond butter, served with sliced bananas or apples and a glass of calcium-fortified orange juice

Lentil, bean, and vegetable soup served with whole-grain bread or crackers

Canned beans cooked in tomato sauce and molasses, served with toast and vegetable dip

Casserole made with beans or lentils, rice, corn, and tomatoes

vegetarian pizza

Vegetarian chili with cornbread or couscous

Vegetarian lasagna

Whipped soy milk with bananas and frozen berries, enhanced with a splash of orange juice

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