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 Post subject: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:36 am 
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My coworker came into my office yesterday and said, "I know you're super busy, but when you get a minute, could you maybe write down a vegan meal plan for a week for my daughter?" Of course I said sure, but eek! Her daughter wants to try it because she currently eats a lot of junk food and thinks this will make her feel better.

Some info: Daughter is 14, they don't eat tofu (mom doesn't eat soy at all), don't like vegetables, and I'm pretty sure they both think I'm an alien (they apparently talk about me and wonder what the hell I eat). So the food needs to be basic- no nooch, miso, tahini, cashew cream... things I consider staples now, but had never used before becoming vegan. This is what is tripping me up; I can't recommend the things I actually eat.

I'm thinking of things like red lentil marinara sauce and pasta, some kind of black bean tacos, oatmeal/cereal for breakfast, hummus and veggies for snacks... but I need more ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:10 pm 
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They don't like ANY veggies? That's tough!

Tacos is definitely a good idea. The Bahn Mi from Isa Does It is good if she likes mushrooms. Pizza Bowl from IDI too. Perhaps some basic smoothie recipes?

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:14 pm 
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PB&J
Pancakes
Bean chili
Lentil soup
Chickpea salad (with vegan mayo done like tuna salad)
Baked potatoes with earth balance and bacon bits and whatever else

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:25 pm 
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That's nice of you! but also a lot of work! Maybe just give them a list of meal ideas or even links to good recipe sites. I don't think people get how much work it is to write up a week's long meal plan because you also need to include recipes and resources etc...

Lentil sloppy joes from vcon are great. Enchiladas/Tacos/Burritos.

If it were me, I'd ask them to give me a meal plan of what they typically eat for the week and then adapt it.

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:41 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
That's nice of you! but also a lot of work! Maybe just give them a list of meal ideas or even links to good recipe sites. I don't think people get how much work it is to write up a week's long meal plan because you also need to include recipes and resources etc...

Totally. I can barely do a meal plan for myself. You're right- I think just a list of ideas would be good. And maybe a list of recommended products.

Thanks for the ideas! I think I'll include a fruity green smoothie (kid's gotta get some veggies in her somehow, especially if her goal is feeling better). I love chickpea salad but am not even sure if they will buy vegan mayo. I did ask for what kind of stuff they typically eat, so hopefully she'll get back to me on that. And on how much cooking they typically do. It's tough to do this for people who are total food opposites from you and give you nothing to work with!

I'm going to push them to try quinoa, because a quinoa salad could be easy to throw together. And maybe a store-bought veggie burger and baked sweet potato fries. There's a chili recipe from Supermarket Vegan that my mom likes; maybe I'll ask her for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:50 pm 
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Questions I was just asked:

"Can you eat potatoes?"

"What about tuna?"

Lol. And updated preferences: no/minimal cooking. This should be interesting!


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:58 pm 
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This doesn't really make sense to me. If she wants to eat a vegan diet solely because she wants to feel better then what she is really saying is that she wants to eat healthy food which means a diet that consists vegetables, fruits, legumes, & nuts. You can't have a healthy diet without eating vegetables. I mean, I guess she could drink soylent? But I don't see how eating pasta and marinara and PBJs is going to make her feel any better.

If someone asked me this question I would recommend that they start trying to find vegetables they like by learning to cook and then I'd point them to Fat Free Vegan's site.

And obviously Tuna isn't a vegetable it's a fruit. Because surely she means the cactus not a gigantic fish.
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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:19 pm 
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Well, I do agree she needs to eat vegetables. That was my first response to her mom, actually! But from what I've gotten, the daughter eats canned food and eats mostly junk (mom works a lot). So I think even whole grains, nut butter, and lentils will be an improvement. I am definitely going to work vegetables into my suggestions, but just keeping in mind that she's a kid who isn't going to eat kale salad right off the bat, you know?


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:55 pm 
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Ha! Yeah it seems like a mind boggling request! In that case maybe she'd be into making chili? You can make with whole grains like bulgur and you only need to do it once and then can eat it for days. Mollyjade has a dope recipe http://scratch-sniff.blogspot.com/2009/ ... chili.html

Or see if she likes Indian food, that would be pretty easy to do a dal chickpea masala and brown rice
Oatmeal with fruit.
a whole grain salad with dressing and dried fruit
bean and potato tacos with salsa
black bean hummus or dip

If you have a good health food store she could pick up those chunks of energy, dried fruit, spiced nuts, and healthier crackers which are all junk food ish

Here's a 2 week meal plan from PETA2 which might help her see what a vegan plan would look like even if it's stuff she isn't interested in, it might help to see what vegans eat?

http://www.peta2.com/lifestyle/two-week ... egan-menu/

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:34 pm 
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Thank you! I will look into all of those!

Peta has a new edition of their college cookbook out too, so I think I'm gonna take a look at it in person this weekend. It's tough because at 14, she isn't really cooking, but still often responsible for her own dinners. So the Peta book might be good because it's all microwave, I think. But maybe not healthy. Gah. :p


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:08 pm 
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Vegan mayo is pretty easy to make, although I am not sure how adventurous they are in the kitchen.

Microwave meals and recipes are pretty good, some of Sarah Kramers books have microwave sections. It is tough with them not wanting to eat soy or vegetables tho.

Stick to lentils/beans, tacos, sloppy janes, soups/stews, maybe some grain salads or stuffed peppers to ease them into veggies.

I think sharing resources for recipes or good blogs with photos and lots of ideas would be helpful because that gives them a chance to look thru and pick/choose stuff for them

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:13 pm 
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Ooh, stuffed peppers is a great idea- thanks!

Yeah I will include favorite blogs, instagrammers, and maybe youtubers. Even if they don't wind up making any of those things, at least they will be able to *see* really good vegan food.


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:51 pm 
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Vegan Stoner blog might be a good link for them - cute little cartoons make everything accessible.

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:34 pm 
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Aren't there some passable versions of canned chili?
I wonder what are the healthiest prepared/frozen vegan foods? I mean, they'll all be packed with sodium, but maybe some of those amy's foods?

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:52 am 
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Maybe Candle Cafe frozen empanadas? Plantain & Black Bean and Chipotle Veggie are both soy-free, not completely horrid nutritionally, and low in sodium for frozen food. The plantain one has spinach and cilantro, so that may be a problem. The chipotle veggie's filling is mainly sweet potato and cheese with a few corn kernels and peas. If she eats Hot Pockets, she may be open to them.

Quorn in the US has finally (finally!) come out with breaded vegan chicken patties in regular and spicy which I think would be impossible for her to dislike, especially with Just Sweet Mustard salad dressing as a dip.


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:39 am 
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Maybe Earth Balance's boxed mac & cheese? Something tells me she's familiar with the blue box, if she was anything like me at 14. I'm also thinking buffalo cauliflower. I know it's a vegetable, but I don't know anyone who hates it when it's battered, baked/fried, and covered in hot sauce. That might be a little involved for her, but maybe something her mom could help her with on the weekend? If she's into exploring Indian food, Tasty Bite practically makes itself. I always have a pack of yellow dal (Jodhpur Lentils) around, but the channas and the eggplant are pretty good too. Gardein chick'n tenders are pretty great, my omni husband loves them.

I'm currently eating Minimalist Baker's peanut butter overnight oats, and it was so simple to make and soooo filling. It's definitely something I'd make again if I knew I'd need lots of fuel to power through a day. Might be a good way to show her how satisfying vegan food is? http://minimalistbaker.com/peanut-butte ... ight-oats/

Ooo, what about Van's frozen waffles?? I think most of them are vegan, except the one's with chocolate or the Belgian-style. Pop them in the toaster and you're done.

Man, I feel for this girl. I tried to go vegetarian when I was 12 but I hated vegetables, or rather, how my family prepared vegetables. Roasted veggies were revolutionary to me as an adult. She's lucky to have you and her mom on her team! I hope she feels better.


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:27 pm 
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Thanks, all! Great suggestions. I'm definitely putting Tasty Bite (I rely on those myself, sometimes) and Gardein chick'n tenders on the list, as well as some Minimalist Baker stuff.

She had fried mac and cheese balls from a convenience store for breakfast today, so I think anything from home will be a step up! I ate such junk at her age too, and I wish I had learned anything about nutrition sooner than I did. (Not that I don't still have junk food ruts...) I'm really going to encourage the vegetables, even if they're frozen or bagged or whatever.

I didn't know Candle Cafe had empanadas! Not sure if we can get those, but *I* will be looking, anyway. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:35 pm 
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Don't forget frozen vegetables. And those steam in the bag frozen vegetables make it even easier. Spaghetti, a bottle of marinara, and frozen peas is a pretty great meal.

And you can suggest lots of fruit if she isn't eating any fruits or vegetables. Fruits don't need to be cooked and most people like them. Just adding a piece of fruit to every meal would make a huge difference for her.

You can make a list of vegan soups that you can find at most grocery stores. Progresso, Campbell's tomato, Amy's, Dole, Pacific Foods, Dr. McDougals, Imagine.

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:43 pm 
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If you have a Trader Joes close maybe you could go there together and point some of their stuff out and she can pick up what looks good. If she's going to eat convenience food, TJ's options would be a little better for her!

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:21 pm 
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what about veggie burgers?

they certainly have not given you an easy task.

are beans out?
i agree chili might be a good fit and you can put veggies in it without it feeling like a veggie meal.
build your own taco/burrito bar is always really easy.

id say mac n cheese would be a good one but if you want to steer away from soaking cashews and nooch then i guess that's not a good one

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:12 pm 
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Is going to an RD an option? If she's feeling crummy it seems like talking to her doctor and then getting a trained professional's recommendations for nutrition might be worthwhile.

When I was 14 it was lots of frozen dinners, pasta, frozen veg. Now I'm too lazy for that even.


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:02 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
they certainly have not given you an easy task.

It is stressing me out! I want to do a good job. But they want the unicorn of meal planning- delicious, healthy, super cheap, makes itself. Hmmm.

I am getting the impression that they really don't cook at all. So I think as long as I keep it simple- canned beans, grains (minor cooking), frozen steamable vegetables, store-bought bbq sauce or salad dressing or whatever, fruit- it should be ok.

Re: going to an RD. I really don't know any more about the hoping to feel better comment. I don't think anything is wrong, but maybe she just isn't feeling energetic. I also think she isn't really a meat-eater, and may have other reasons for wanting to try veganism.

I really appreciate all the suggestions, guys!


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:23 pm 
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Maybe give them a simple overnight oats recipe? Just a few ingredients, nothing super weird, grab and go food for the morning.

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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:56 pm 
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If she's into pasta, you can add grated carrot/zucchini/celery/whatever to tomato sauce and call it marinara. Works for me in a pinch when I'm lazy but I need veggies. Trader Joe's has cheap but good sauce for this.


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 Post subject: Re: Easy meal ideas for teenaged omni- help!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:57 am 
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Yah, I know you said she doesn't love vegetables but if she likes mac-n-cheese you could always suggest the vegnews veggie style sauce (no scary cashews to soak!). Just boil onion, potatoes, and carrots in a pot and blend it with salt/pot water and some garlic (I add nooch but baby steps!).

If they have a blender he sauce is pretty darn easy, and a good way to sneak in veggies. There are also squash based sauces for pasta. Basically pasta is super easy and most young folks like it so you can use it as a way to sneak in vegetables.

I would suggest TVP for cheap/easy bulking up of meals as well. It is dirty cheap, and gives you a bit of protein/nutrients if she is feeling lethargic from the junk food. It is not quite as tasty as packaged/prepared vegan meats but it is much much cheaper.

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