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Why Not Try Meat-free Meals With Kids?

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Vegetarian diets are greener. Just reducing your weekly consumption of meat and animal products can make a big difference in your family's environmental impact.

Vegetarian meals for kids needn't be time consuming or require special planning. In fact, many kids favorites like pizza, mac and cheese and quesadillas are already meatless. Meatless breakfasts have been a common occurrence at family tables for years. Take for example cereal, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, muffins and bagels.

To start, you could include a meat-free dinner in the list of those that you already enjoy as a family each week.  Or you can try experimenting with making a current favorite dish meatless. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results. You can look for meatless recipes in any basic cookbook. The kitchen bible, "The Joy of Cooking" contains countless vegetarian recipes. When you're really stuck for ideas, there's nothing wrong with breakfast for dinner. Just add fresh fruit in place of a vegetable. Kids will love the novelty of it.

If you have concerns about adequate nutrition, think of this: without meat your children will have more room in their diets for the fruits, vegetables and those whole grains they probably need more of anyway.

For good, sound and comprehensive advice on vegetarian nutrition for kids, pediatrician Dr.Sears' website lists and discusses different types of vegetarian diets (those that include eggs and dairy, those that include fish, and the vegan diet, which avoids using or consuming any animal products) and the nutrition behind them.

Here's more resources to get you started complete with recipes, impact calculators, nutrition research and more:

Vegan Lunchbox

Kid Friendly recipes and tips

Nutrition information

Vegan family life

Your Eating Green score