Meal prepping is one of the best things I can suggest to any busy household. It saves mid-week grocery trips and money because it prevents you from buying things you don’t need to make meals throughout the week. It also helps prevent eating out frequently, thus eating healthier meals.
It can be particularly hard for me, because my husband and I adopted a vegan lifestyle a few months ago. It’s not terribly hard for us but it can be difficult to create meals that are enticing to the children. Yes, we transitioned them as well, and they’re no exception to the rule as far as being picky eaters.
To make the transition easier for them, we incorporate several plant-based meat substitutes in their meals. The plan is to slowly remove them as their vegetable intake increases. Processed plant-based meats are still unhealthy when consumed frequently. At this time, I’m choosing to pick my battles.
I’ve found that there are a few meals from our previous meat rotation that I’ve been able to modify. It’s been wonderful because with the smallest modification I have a meal that I know my kids will enjoy without complaint.
Considering decreasing the amount of meat you eat? Concerned about your children being picky? See my 5 go-to meals for every family. They’re all quick dinner meals.
Spaghetti with Meatballs
That’s right folks. We still have traditional spaghetti with just a few small modifications. We use this sauce and meat substitute. Top it off with these meatballs and a sprinkle of “parmesean” cheese” for added flavor. I’m sure to double the servings because the little ones ask for seconds every time. Bake your favorite garlic bread or rolls to complete your meal.
Tacos, Guacamole, and Blue Corn Chips
I mean seriously, how could I not find a taco substitute? Our plant protein crumbles are, again, our go-to here. Use your usual toppings of vegan sour cream, salsa, cheese, lettuce, and wrap it in a flour tortilla. Easy peasy, quick dinner. Serve these with home-made guacamole and blue corn chips to complete your meal. If the kids haven’t had much fruit during the day, I also add a serving of fruit.
Pizza with Pepperoni
Recently we began making our own pizzas. My oldest son is the pickiest and was a tough sell on pizza before we were vegan. Whole Foods sells an amazingly delicious pepperoni. Place your sauce on your crust then add cheese. Put your toppings on and bake at 375 degrees on the rack until at your liking. If you’re wanting a vegan pizza option, and don’t want to make your own, be sure to try Daiya’s frozen pizza.
Burgers and Air-Fried French Fries
Get out your buns and plant-based burger patties. We grill ours or use the George Foreman grill. This is the mayo and cheese we use. We use the air fryer to cook our fries. I toss the fries in avocado oil and sprinkle with a dash of sea salt. Cook them 10-15 minutes in the fries then stop to stir. Resume cooking for 10 more minutes or until as crispy as you desire. The kids don’t complain and can’t tell that they’re not fried.
Sausage, Beans, and Rice
This was a go-to meal for the kiddos before we changed to vegan. Simply use a can of vegetarian baked beans mixed with sausage ground up in the food processor and warmed. Remember that plant-protein meats don’t need to be cooked, so don’t heat it too long. Place a small amount of BBQ sauce in the mixture then place over rice.
There you go. These are my fast, dinner options for busy nights when I need to prepare foods that the whole family can enjoy. I hope you find something on the list that you can add to your family’s weekly menu. Have some vegan recipes to share? Put them in the comments.