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Feeding Families with Young Vegetarians

November 14, 2008

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More young people are switching to a vegetarian or pescetarian diet (vegetarians who eat fish) for health and ethical reasons. Some adolescents recognize that a diet consisting mostly of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is better for their health and others choose a vegetarian lifestyle because they are alarmed by factory farming or other animal rights issues.

While many parents want to support their child’s dietary decisions, some find it difficult to satisfy the whole family at mealtimes. Some parents order takeout most nights so they don’t have to cook multiple meals for the each person in the family. But takeout is not the only way to fulfill everyone’s dietary needs.

Instead of making two main dishes, you can make a vegetarian dish that would also be good with meat added later. Try making this vegetarian chili and set aside some for the vegetarians in your family before you add the meat.

Chili for Everyone


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 carrot, cut into quarter moons
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups cooked or canned red, black or kidney beans
1 cup water
2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound organic ground turkey 


1. Heat oil in a large heavy pan and sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, carrots, chili powder and cumin and sauté for 5 minutes.
3. Slowly add beans, water, tomato paste and salt.
4. Cook on low to medium heat for 20 minutes.
5. Serve chili to the non-meat eaters.
6. Cook the ground turkey in olive oil until brown and toss into the rest of the chili.

Click here for more delicious recipes for vegetarians, pescetarians and meat eaters.

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.