i am 16 years old and my mom cooks our dinners. but she cooks dinners that have meat in it. so i end up eating these premade microwavable dinners. but i dont like them because i see them as unhealthy and i prefere homecooked meals. i dont know what to do about my meals so that they are healthy and vegeterian. please help me.
Perhaps you could start making your dinners and replace the meats with beans. Also, if you have a slow cooker you can make enough dinners for a week and you can freeze them. Take some sauce or whatever mum is cooking out before she adds the meat. You really need to talk to her about it. She is probably hoping you will get sick of instant meals and eat her dinners again.
I agree (as a mom) if you don't want the food she works hard to prepare, then you will have to fix your own. Get a good basic vegan cookbook that doesn't require crazy ingredients that are hard to find. Make a small list for the store each week and if your parents won't buy it for you, buy it yourself and fix it. After a while, when you are proving to them that you are healthier and happier eating this way, your mom may be willing to fix you some things some times too.
Personally, I don't agree with the mentality that you should have to buy and prepare your own food. Lets face it, a vegan diet can be made as easy or complex as you want- there are lots of ways to incorporate a vegan diet that don't put strain on the regular cooking such as buying and substituting vegan margarine instead of butter, having soymilk on hand, ect. I know when I was 16 I had an extemely busy schedule, and didn't have time to have an actual paying job (school, sports, volunteering, ect.). In this case, I really do think it is important for parents to step up and help their children out and support them. Just because you may not understand something doesn't mean you should reject it or be unsupportive (I believe in this in regards to all aspects of life, not just talking about veganism).
However, since it IS your decision, I do think you should be involved as much as you are able to be. Find recipe's that are easy for your mom to make if you can't help to make it yourself, go grocery shopping as often as you can so you can take the extra "search" aspect away from your mom, ect. A good idea for you might be to make big enough batches of simple things such as brown rice, beans, prepared vegetables (that you can easily saute or steam later in the week), and other staples that you can easily make meals from to substitute with your mom's cooking.
And of course, hopefully your mom and other family members will come around and start to live a little healthier too! Everyone can benefit from eating healthier, even if it is only a matter of reduction as opposed to elimination. If you haven't already, make sure you have a one-on-one talk with your mom to let her know how serious your intentions are about this. She may just think it is a "phase" (as many of my friends thought at first).
I guess my perspective comes from having an extremely supportive mother, who also has adopted a vegan life style. Good luck to you! Keep us updated!
kirene has some good advice, especially about staples. I would also suggest perhaps trying to find simple, recognizable dishes that your family might also enjoy (such as googling vegan pasta recipes - everyone likes pasta and you can find some pretty yummy recipes that they might be willing to try and they'll find out that your 'vegan' dishes are good and they enjoy them, too). If you have The Kind Diet, there are some good pasta recipes in there, but like I said you can google and find all sorts of stuff. Also, if you have the book, maybe ask her to read it - that you would like her to understand why it's important to you and that it will really be good for your health - son't all moma want their kids to be healthy?
My 13 year old tried vegetarian 2 summers ago, while the rest of us continued to be meat eaters. She ate a lot of frozen vegie burgers. She only lasted 3 weeks and she gave in to a real burger. This past summer she decided to try again and she and I both did some reading. I decided to go vegetarian too and spent the summer learning to cook lots of different dishes. We eat a lot of brown rice and beans and fresh stir fries. Fresh food tastes the best and my daughter is still a vegetarian after 7 months. I cook meat for her sister and dad, but we have actually found it easy to incorporate a lot of vegetarian options. Microwaved yams are great. She can easilty put together a stir fry now, and likes to stuff pitas with vegies. She eats a lot of hummus. Don't give up. If you leave some informative books around, your family just might join you! Just make sure you get healthy proteins... beans, nuts, whole grains. Don't rely too heavily on the prepared tofu foods. Too much soy actually is not good for you. Good luck!
I feel for you, I too tried to be a vegetarian at a very young age and I am now 30. When I was 12 I decided to become a vegetarian and all my mother would buy for me was pasta and I could have whatever vegetables she made for dinner (corn or green beans). I followed this diet for 4 years and became very ill for it's lack in nutrition. After seeing a doctor and being force fed meat I decided to get a job and purchase my own food. I did research and found many recipes and cooked my own meals. When my mother would go grocery shopping I would go with her, grab my own cart and go in my own direction and shop. Good luck to you, it's not easy having a family that does not support your choices. To this day I have to prepare all of my meals for holidays and my vegan dishes are not welcome at any family gatherings. You are very lucky to have a site like this where you can find support and if you have any questions or want ideas I'd be glad to help! Everyone here has great suggestions!! Don't give up!! Good luck!
I feel your pain. I am 19 and I commute to college. My entire family loves meat and dairy and getting them to cut back seems close to impossible. However, they are very supportive of me. This didn't used to be the case as they often teased me and begged for me to "switch back" to make their lives easier. I sat down with them though and told them how important this lifestyle is to me and that their comments hurt me. This changed everything and now they are so understanding. I definitely recommend making your own food. It's what I have to do at every meal. It's really not so bad. The fact that you'll be learning how to cook your own meals at 16 will help you learn the basics and become more experienced than people twice your age. When you're on your own, you'll already know how to take of yourself. Also, because you are the only one eating the meals most of the time, you'll have leftovers that will last days! That means less cooking throughout the week. For example, I like to do an oatmeal or some sort of grain porridge in my slow cooker on a sunday night and when I wake up monday morning it's all ready and I have leftover oatmeal for the rest of the week. The same can be done with vegetable soups and chilis. I highly recommend buying a slow cooker and finding some good recipes. I also found that when I make my vegan meals, my family will try them out and they usually love them! I make vegan brownies and other desserts all the time and they love my pumpkin pancakes. You may find that your mother will make some of the vegan dishes on her own after seeing how delicious they are! I know how hard it is to be a teenager and be the only vegan you know, so I'm always here if you need support :). Good luck with everything!
Sara I feel your pain. Due to a bunch of food intolerances as well as going vegetarian/vegan, I was forced to begin cooking just about every meal myself (telling my mum to stop using onions and garlic, which I can't eat, just wasn't going to happen!) It started off slow (microwaving veggies and lots of pasta!) but its been about a year now and I'm able to cook most recipes in TKD and just LOVE cooking!
I totally understand that its hard - especially finding time when at school (I'm at uni as well as working), but I usually just properly cook a couple of times a week, and eat leftovers, toast, wraps, smoothies etc for the rest. But the more you cook, the more you'll love it and the better you'll get.
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