Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easy and healthy vegetarian recipes for kids

If you’re a vegetarian, you probably want your children to eat vegetarian, at least in your home, but getting kids to eat healthy vegetarian food can be a challenge. Getting your kids to get excited about eating vegetarian may seem like a hassle, but with these ideas for vegetarian recipes for kids, they’ll be clamoring for you to make these dishes again and again.

Most kids love pizza, and the best thing about it is that if you make it yourself, you can keep it nutritious and vegetarian, and even better, it will taste great. First, if you want to attempt it and have a lot of time, you can make your own pizza dough. However, most of us don’t have that kind of time, so luckily you can buy either a pre-made pizza crust, or even better, pre-made pizza dough. With the pre-made pizza dough, you can engage your kids in making their own pizza. With pre-made pizza dough, you can even divide it to make smaller, personal pizzas, and have each kid put his or her own toppings on it.

The base of any good pizza, after the crust, is the sauce. You can either buy a canned tomato sauce and add to it, or you can make your own with fresh tomatoes and spices—salt, pepper, oregano, and basil are the most traditional ones to use in a pizza sauce. When you make your own, though, make sure to add a spoonful of sugar to cut the bitterness of the fresh tomatoes. Even better, dice some squash, sweet potatoes, or carrots, and include them in your final pizza sauce, for the same great flavor and added nutrition. On top of that, add a variety of low-fat shredded cheese. In terms of toppings, put out a variety of choices and let your kids choose their own. Put out sliced mushrooms, green peppers, onions, pineapple, extra tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, and any other vegetables you and your children enjoy at home.

If you’re looking for fast, last-minute vegetarian recipes for kids, though, try spicing up old favorites. Prepare grilled cheese sandwiches with whole bread and stuff them with pieces of sliced tomato and serve vegetable soup on the side. Make regular macaroni and cheese, and add fresh peas to the pot to make it healthier and to encourage your kids to eat vegetables. You can also easily make your kids a quick pita. Toast the pita and fill it with some hummus, diced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, and fresh baby spinach. This is especially a great meal for warmer weather when your kids might not want something warm and heavy. If you want something more substantial, serve them basic spaghetti or enhanced whole-grain spaghetti and spice up your tomato sauce with some chopped up vegetables—like carrots, zucchini, or squash—which will make it more nutritious for your kids.

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