Need to Feed vegan teen!
I'm new to this, I have a 16yr old vegan daughter. I want to support her deciosn, but need help with fast, easy and CHEAP food options/recipes.
I went vegan while i was still in high school (it's almost been 11 years!). I had a lot of problems with my father (mom went veggie not too long after I went vegan). Since then, however, my dad prefers my desserts than anyone else's (cheesecake included!)
Overall, being vegan is cheaper than eating cheese and meat. The vegan cheese that's out there taste horrible (with the exception of Cross My Heart-- or whatever it's called-- I'm not in the states anymore). The biggest concern would be calcium. So long as your daughter eats fruit and veg, and drinks soy milk throughout the day (either with ceral or in bread/desserts) nutrition shouldn't be a problem. People think protein is a big deal, but most people eat far too much protein as it is. Beans and lentils are a perfect sub. for meat-based additions (like meatballs and cassarole/lasagna).
For easy recipes, this site is wonderful. And I would also like to recommend "How It All Vegan" and their other books (the first one is fab. The second one has lots of "college" recipes-- microwave type ones). For a good dessert book, I recommend "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World."
I second the book recommendation for How It All Vegan. You should pick the book up for your daughter, have her look at some recipes she wants to try in a week-get the ingredients and have her cook her own meals.
It's fabulous that you're supporting her choice to go vegan-but it's totally her choice, so make her active in the cooking process and How It All Vegan is a GREAT cookbook for newbie vegans. It was actually the book that converted me from vegetarian to vegan.
I would like to chime in and advise that you try not to rely too heavily on vegan convenience foods like processed veggie burgers, faux meats, and other frozen items. Having these items occasionally is okay but it isn't healthy for anyone to eat too much processed food. Try to stay in the produce and grain section of the grocery store.
You'll find tons of great recipes here. There are also numerous blogs dedicated to vegan cooking. I would recommend checking out these: http://fatfreevegan.com/ and http://www.myvegancookbook.com/blog/. Encourage your daughter to help you in the kitchen. If she doesn't like to cook now, get her involved! Then she can throw together a fast mac-and-no-cheese in minutes after school. I went vegan at 14 and there was a long period of peanut butter and beans. Variety is the key to a balanced diet no matter what your eating preferences are.
Fast and cheap options (while maintaining a wide variety) include: oatmeal, pasta, soup, beans and rice, stir-fried or steamed veggies, and sandwiches. One of my favorite sandwiches is avocado, tomato, sprouts, and shredded carrot. Aim for whole grain, chewy breads. This is a helpful community so I'm sure you'll get plenty of great advice!
I think the best thing you can do is provide moral support. I wish my family would have; I probably wouldn't be so messed up. lol
Here are some things you should get next time you go to the grocery store:
soy milk- 3 or 4 dollars
pita bread (check the ingredients to make sure it is vegan)- 3 dollars
a can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans- 88cents (stock up on this!)
spices such as curry, cinnamon, oregano, cayenne pepper, etc. - you can get those for a decent price
fruits and veggies- stock up- 10- 15 dollars
tofu- 3 dollars
vitamins and calcium pills
i went vegetarian when i was 15. My mom and dad cooked dinner every night, they would make sure that any side dishes they made were vegetarian and make a lot of it. I would eat the side dishes as my main meal, and the rest of my family would have the side dishes plus a hunk of meat. For instance. One of our favorite meals was pasta with veggies and chicken. My mom would make the pasta, veggies and chicken seperate, like she would always do, make a portion for me with just pasta and veggies, then add in the chicken for everyone else. Or they would make chili with beans instead of meat. If they were having steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli, I would eat a bunch of broccoli, mashed potatoes, and maybe open up a can of beans and pour some italian dressing on it. I bet if you think about the meals youre making now, you probably are making a lot of "accidental vegan" dishes already!!
I was so lucky to have supportive parents, I bet your child is thankful for your support as well!