Hello from NJ
Please go easy on me when you read this. I am a meat eater but I'm looking to change my ways. I'm not looking to go full vegan or even full vegetarian but I have reduced the amount of meat I eat.
I need help with getting the rest of my house (wife, 7yr old & 5yr old) to go along with me on this. The 3 of them are picky eaters, my wife more than my boys, and I need some suggestions on cookbooks, recipes or anything I can use to get more veg and less meat in our diets. Thanks in advance for any help.
Hey!!! Don't worry... I won't chastise you for eating meat. I am a vegan strictly for health reasons...nothing else! My husband is a VERY picky eater....No crunchy veggies....No fruit unless it is peeled ( yes that even means grapes!)....When we, as a family, became vegan I had absolutely no issues with the food change and suprisingly my husband didn't either. I used this website and stuck to the recipies that mimick foods that he already likes....tacos, burritos, pasta...ect. I took some of our old favorites and just veganized them too ( substitute meat for beans...cheese for the vegan cheese....milk for soy or almond milk)
If you are trying to start off slow then I would try to only eat 1 meat meal every other day at first and then slowly work the meat out of your diet. Are you personally interested in going "full vegan" or mainly vegetarian? It would probably be an easier transition if you started off vegetarian and then, if you want to, work your way into veganism.
I would check out any cookbook by Isa Chandra ( Post punk kitchen)! She has great recipies! Also the reason my husband actually agreed to become a vegan was because we watched an amazing documentary calle "Forks Over Knives". Have your wife watch it! It totally changed my picky husband into someone who is willing to try new foods! Good luck! =)
VegWeb is a great resource for imaginative, delicious recipes. One good tip is how you do it. If you do the cooking in the house, it's easier. If you don't, start. I'm sure if your spouse is the main cook she would appreciate a break. What do you mean when you say "picky eater"? Are there certain things she doesn't like, or is it like my husband--if it has roots and leaves he simply doesn't want to know. That makes it harder, if so.
Start with things like pasta with mushrooms instead of meat in the sauce, ramp up the flavours and they might not even miss the meat. Hearty soups full of beans and veggies. Lasagna with spinach and tofu and melted cheese on top. Just don't make a big to-do when you serve it, put it on the table and eat it like it's the most normal thing in the world.
Experiment with Indian foods. Asian markets are your friend because they have lots of spices and prepared spice mixes that most people don't even try. Work with the stuff you know she does like and go from there. And don't expect it to happen overnight; work longterm. Be prepared to make your own meals if necessary. Don't say anything about it, don't criticise the family food, just do your own---and make a tiny bit extra in case someone gets curious about that delicious smell.
If you can find an old copy of the 1970s book "The Vegetarian Epicure" the author wrote the book because she was in your same position. They might have it in the library or a second hand shop.
Mark Bittman, the food columnist and author of "How to Cook Everything," has gained an appreciation of the vegetarian diet. He wrote a veg cookbook "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" that is a good starting point. In addition to the recipes here, the magazine Vegetarian Times has an extensive recipe collection online. You can also peruse the gazillions of recipes in Allrecipes.com and look for ones that happen to be vegetarian or vegan. There are a series of cookbooks written by Donna Klein, many of which are reviewed in the Cookbook Lab, and most of them use readily available ingredients that are probably already familiar to your family. You can also search for veg recipes on the websites of bon appetit and food & wine.
There are very good veg recipes everywhere.