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Top Tips for Vegetarian meals with little ones

Top Tips for Vegetarian meals with little ones

Whether your family is vegetarian or you’ve decided to reduce your consumption of meat and fish, thinking of new and interesting meal ideas can be a challenge.

To celebrate National Vegetarian week, we've teamed up with our friends from Pickle & Squash to provide some of their tips to plan and cook vegetarian for the whole family (including your little one!). 

 

  1. Include a protein

Protein is incredibly important for healthy bones and muscles. 

The top vegetarian protein sources are:

  • Lentils, pulses and beans
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Soya and Tofu
  • Edamame beans

Nuts and seeds (don’t give these whole to babies or small children as they are a choking hazard - nut and seeds kinds of butter are great for little ones for this reason)

You can make sure to include this in your meals in a variety of interesting ways:

Make a veggie chilli with lentils and cocoa powder (little ones with love that it has ‘chocolate’ in it!)

Sprinkle a noodle pad thai with edamame beans and top with a fried egg

Top homemade jackfruit nachos with a dollop of Greek yoghurt

 

  1. Make like Popeye and add an iron source

A key nutrient in meat is iron which is essential for your brain and immune system. You can find great iron sources for vegetarians in:

  • Pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and beans
  • Dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale (chopped very finely or pureed for babies and small children)
  • Nuts and seeds (again in the form of nut and seeds kinds of butter for babies and small children)
  • Dried fruits such as apricots, prunes and figs (chopped very small for babies and small children)

How about making a veggie tagine with apricots, or pasta with spinach pesto?

 

  1. Spice it up!

Use spices to power up your family meals. Did you know that even weaning babies can have a little spice as long as there is no added sugar, salt or chilli?

This doesn’t even need to be complicated - we know what it’s like when you need to cook something quick for hangry little people.

Why not add a sprinkle of cumin to scrambled eggs, or roast some cauliflower with ras-al-hanout?

Usually, you could start introducing spices from 8 to 9 months old but in doubts, we recommend having a check with your paediatrician. 

  1. Make it fun

Little ones love anything that’s fun at mealtime. 

Why not turn your risotto pink with beetroot, or cut veg into shapes using a cookie cutter?

Or use an unusual pasta shape? We love radiatori (shaped like radiators), ditaloni (shaped like hula hoops) and conchiglioni (shaped like shells).

 

  1. Get little ones involved in cooking as early as possible

Getting little ones involved in prepping and cooking meals is a great way for them to learn what a balanced, nutritious meal looks like.

Get them interested in veg by having them wash it for you. If you have toddlers, they can help chop with a child-safe knife.

The more they get to touch, feel and smell all the different elements going into a meal, the more likely they are to try it.

 

  1. Be prepared for the mess

If you’ve read a few of our articles before, you know that it’s always our famous last tip. Mealtime is a messy business, but it’s these messy moments that make a big life for little ones, and at Nimble we’re here to help with worry-free cleaning goodies. Just grab a Nimble Sticky Stopper to clean around your little chef!

 

We hope these top tips have been helpful, the Pickle & Squash family vegetarian recipe box will also make your life even easier!

 

This blog article was kindly co-written with the wonderful resident chef and expert Alice, co-founder of Pickle & Squash. 

Pickle & Squash takes the hassle out of mealtimes by providing nutritious recipe boxes suitable for the whole family, including weaning babies from 7 months.

They are giving an exclusive code to all Nimble community: use code Nimble30 to get 30% off your first recipe box! 

 

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