Any Ideas?

Received Saturday, November 13, 2010
Whats to eat I work for a wonderful family. The parents are not American born. Recently their one year old has been refusing to eat their native food and the parents are fine with that and have told me to start cooking food that is more American and kid friendly. I'm more then happy to do that but I am running into a problem: nothing is VEGETARIAN! The family comes form India and requires organic food but I am finding it impossible to find recipes or even quick meals that meet these requirements. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough? Any links or recipe ideas especially if you work with a family of the same orgin.


LovingNanny said...

I don't really get the problem. You don't have to cook a 3 course meal for him. How can you run out of ideas?
I will help you a little bit. What about:
-potatoes with beans
-potatoes with broccoli
- sweet potatoes with peas
-sweet potatoes with carrots
-potatoes with yellow squash
Just go to the grocery store and take a look around!

Good luck!

Mama Pajama said...

I purchased childcare menus online from Little Acorn Learning. They come out seasonally, with four little cookbooks a year. Very inexpensive, written by a nutritionist and all organic, whole food (as in the food, not the market!) ideas. It has day by day menus to follow. Actually, there are two different books, one is written for daycare people who have the children breakfast through afternoon snack; the other is written for afterschool and weekend users. They are pretty great. Check them out at I think the current autumn recipe booklet may be just what you need! They also have really detailed nature-based activitiy guides with crafts, stories and verses written monthy that are amazing too! Good luck!

Mama Pajama said...

Whoops! ps....they are eBooks and can just be downloaded to your computer OR printed out, which I love!

ohionanny said...

you can google all sorts of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Most major grocery stores carry organic foods (don't the parents purchase their own food? if not, don't they tell you where to shop to get the foods they desire for their diet?)

I have someone in our family who is on a restricted diet. Google is your friend in this matter!!

whole foods said...

there are plenty of wonderful gluten and meat free meals and snacks you can make. tofu veggie stir fry: gluten free pasta and tofu balls, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes. Fruit cups, yogurt parfaits, etc.

For quick meals such as breakfast or snacks, try the frozen food section of Whole Foods: they have gluten free waffles and pancakes that you can top with fruit.

Bostonnanny said...

I work for an Indian family with an 18 month old boy, he did the same thing. It depends on the family, are you sure they don't eat meat? My family were born in India and they eat chicken. Anyways the baby loves Mac and cheese, grilled cheese, streamed veggies and seasoned greenbeans. He will eat anything with pasta, like baked ziti. As for Indian food try making him Dal or paneer they are very kid friendly Indian dishes and just put less spices in them. I've learned to make the Dal from his visiting grandparents and can share the recipe. The paneer is really easy and you can change a lot of the items put into it. I would ask the parents for their favorite recipe.
You can make him pancakes, eggs, waffles for breakfast and streamed veggies, pasta and fresh fruit for lunch. It's not that hard. And ask the parents if they don't eat meat because most Indians do, they just don't eat beef and they tend to limit the amount of meat they give their children.

Also buy soy chicken nuggets or tofu

Anonymous said...

Sorry about being Anonomous... My phone won't let me choose anything else! Argh!

I just worked for an Indian family for a year and had the exact same problem with both their 2 year old and 1 year old...

What I would try to do is plan and schedule their meals for the week so that I alternated "American" food and Indian food. I LOVED trying their Indian food but I can see why the kids got tired of it because it can be very salty/spicy and often the same type of texture. The family I worked for was also vegetarian and these were some of the kids favorite non-Indian foods:

Vegie stirfry with noodles

Steamed brocolli with cheese melted on top

Any type of pasta with melted cheese or red sauce (another thing I would do is melt a little cream cheese into the red sauce to make a "creamy" red sauce... HUGE HIT)

grilled cheese (sometimes I would put sliced tomato or cucumber in it)

Sandwhiches made with veggies, cheese and mustard

They often had vegetarian frozen items such as veggie burgers (HUGE FAVORITE), "chicken" nuggets, tator tots, sweet potato fries, and cheese pizza.

Those were the main rotated items along with Dal and other Indian foods.

It may just be a phase too... A lot of 1 year olds turn away food that they used to like just because they realize they can! :) Keep trying with the Indian food and incorporate other foods as well... Good luck!

TinyDancer said...

i worked for a family in a similar situation you'd be surprised how many things can be vegetarrian: any kind of pasta, soup, use beans to replace meat in tacos what about breakfast for dinner, pancakes, waffles, as you. I made spinach lasagne a lot cause she loved it and got some veggies that way that she otherwise wouldn't eat. Once you get on a roll it'll come easy.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any experience with this, but I love I have found so many great things there! I'm sure there would be some good vegetarian recipes. They also have reviews from people who have used the recipe, as well as a tool that converts the recipe to the number of people you need to feed. It's awesome :) Good luck!

world's best nanny said...

MissMannah said...

I think it is odd that "the parents are fine with this" and they want you to cook something "kid friendly." What do Indians feed their toddlers in India? I'm assuming they are just as picky over there, but they learn to eat the food anyway, just like our picky eaters eventually do here too.

Of course, I say this as a total hypocrite because I come from Indian heritage and I can't stand the food! But in my defense, my parents didn't really introduce me to the food as a child. ^_^

Veggie Nanny said...

In my experience it seems that non-vegetarians are often under the false impression that vegetarian meals have to be really complex. They really don't need to be. At any given meal, I usually eat the same things as the meat-eaters, and just sub in a veggie burger or tofu patty for the entree. If I get bored with those, Avacado and Zucchini are probably my favorite things to base a meal around.

As far as snacks, I've actually found that a lot of kids I've watched really like hummus, which is a great source of protein for a vegetarian. Nuts are good too. Even something like dipping pretzels in peanut butter can be a good way to get some protein in their diet.

Also, you should make sure you're very clear on what the family will and won't eat. I don't think I've ever met any two vegetarians that have the exact same set of rules, so it's good to be sure you're all on the same page to avoid any problems.

anon #1 said...

I'm of Indian heritage too and in actual reality, as a rule Indian families, on the average, have far more difficult eaters than most other nationalities. I've seen many Indian mothers literally force feeding their children until the age of 5/6 claiming that their child never, ever asks for food and doesn't like eating anything. The non-Indians families I know have children who generally ask for food when they are hungry as soon as they can talk and will ask for food every 2 hours and will whine for food if NOT given food. I don't know if it's genetic (Indian children have smaller appetites) or the parents nagging and force-feeding that causes Indian kids to have more feeding problems. Of course there are exceptions to the rule but in my observation, about 80 percent of Indian children under the age of 5 do not like to eat and only 5 percent of non-Indian kids have that problblem.
(repost for anonymous)

MN Nanny said...

I posted the anonymous comment above (I am on a "real" computer now!)

YES Veggie Nanny!!! I forgot to mention Hummus! My past charges LOVED it! I used to spread it on toast for breakfast, let them dip veggies/snacks in it, etc. EXCELLENT suggestion!

anon #1 I think there is a lot of truth to what you said... The older child I used to nanny NEVER had interest in food but her parents and grandparents were ALWAYS trying to feed her! It didn't matter what time of day or even if she actually had just eaten a FULL meal... they would always try to offer her more and more and then top it off with an 8 ounce bottle of milk (She is 2 and they still give her a bottle!). I do think that her parents and grandparents attitude towards food is why she "rebels" against it... She is sick of always being forced to eat!

Priya said...

Indian kids having eating issues is not genetic but entirely brought on by parental obsessions with overfeeding. This is how children are fed in India. Two adults (usually grandparents) hold the child down screaming and crying while the mother literally pours the liquified food down the child's throat and then hits him if he spits it up or throws it out. Children learn to hate food because it is forced on them. When they immigrate to the U.S., they realize it is illegal to feed children in the manner above so they tone it down some and chase them around the house all day begging them to take "one more bite". As a result, they associate food with force, pain, and fear.

MN Nanny again... said...

Exactly Priya.

Another example: I took my charge to music class yesterday and there is the cutest/sweetest Indian baby boy in the class. One of the mom's was talking to his mom and said:

"Wow, he really likes his tummy!" (he was having tummy time on the floor) and his mom said: "He is chunky?!" (she had clearly not heard her correctly) and the other mom says: "No, he like his tummy!" (to clarify) and his mom says: "Oh (very disappointed), I thought you said he looked chunky, which I would have loved to hear because we are trying to get him to gain weight" so the other mom says "Oh! (very surprised) is he under weight?!" and his mom says "Oh no, he is actually above average. He has just been a little fussy lately so we figured if he gained weight it would help." I just had to shake my head because it was like a flashback to my last job. My previous charge was less than average but the doctor had said that she was right on track with kids her age (because I guess most 2 year olds are average or just under). But her parents were FREAKING out and trying to feed her all day long. What a waste of time for the poor kids that have to go through that.