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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! =)


Thanks Veggie. 

I'm not going vegan, or really even full vegetarian but I am looking to reduce my meat intake alot, like maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Maybe even less but I cant give up my yearly family pig roast.  

The reason I'm looking to do this is mainly health reasons. I'm a firefighter and had 2 chest pain scares. the 1st was heat exhaustion & over exertion while working at a fire. The 2nd is the reason I'm looking to do this, the doctor is chalking it up to angina. After some bloodwork & stress test it turns out my bad cholesterol was ok but my hdl is way low. So besides moving my fat butt off the couch I'm trying to cut back on the meat and fill up on the veg, beans & legumes.

Its funny you mention Forks Over Knives because I was watching that while I was typing my post. The other documetaries that are pretty good are Food Inc & Food Wars. They all have me rethinking what we've been eating.

Now I just have to get Ms. Fussy to go along with me.


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.


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Thanks yabbit. Your husband sounds like my wife, not big on vegetables. She wount eat alot of root vegetables, no onions, certain greens... My kids on the other hand, my oldest doesnt eat any kind of sauces at all, no tomato, bbq, ketchup, mustard... nothing everything is plain and he's afraid to try new things. My little guy is a bit more adventurous and will usually try something new.

As far as cooking we split it most of the time, depends on my work schedule but having a degree in culinary arts my wife expects me to do most of it lol. I like the idea of subsituting mushrooms for meat, mushrooms are one of the few things my wife actully enjoys, and the hearty soups, I'm a big soup guy.

Again I thank you ladies for tips and ideas. Hopefully things will change here, even if it is a little at a time.


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 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.

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