I know that eating enough veggies is a struggle for many people. Since childhood we are programmed by media, and even trusted adults like teachers and grandparents, that kids are supposed to like sugary treats and fried foods better than healthy foods. This unfortunately happens because many adults find vegetables unappetizing which transfers over to their cooking. People often end up boiling vegetables and drowning them in salt and butter to make them palatable. They do not prepare them with the same love, reverence and creativity that they do for meats.
I am raising my family differently. I have three small children ages 4, 5.5, and 8. Since they were babies, I have offered them a huge variety of vegetables and foods rather than adhering to society’s more accepted ideas of “kid food”. All three of them had avocado as their first food and progressed to roasted vegetables, tofu, stews, rice, and beans as they got more teeth. My kids are not vegan like my husband and I. Rather, they have the choice to be omnivores until they decide on their own to be vegan, if they ever do. I think being vegan is a choice one needs to make without pressure or guilt from a parent. I do however feed them mostly vegan. They certainly eat a 90 percent whole foods diet with some convenience foods like fish sticks or chicken fingers from reputable brands without too many “bad” ingredients. Lately much to my delight, they have been preferring meat substitute foods like Morningstar or Gardein chick’n nuggets and vegan burgers.
This makes me happy as I do not have to keep buying into the whole factory farming system by keeping meat available in my house. I anticipate as time goes by and they grow older and less picky about food, they will most likely only eat animal products outside the home. Also as I grow deeper into my veganism, I may want to revisit making any of it available at all.
I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for much of my late teens and early twenties until I became very serious about cooking professionally. Then I needed to start eating everything so I could taste my work. My thirties were spent as a plant forward omnivore. In 2018 after having 3 babies in succession and wanting to lose the excess weight, I tried several month-long diets. I did two rounds of whole30 bookended with 30 days of veganism. I remembered how much I loved eating this way and in January 2019 I decided to go back to my roots and start eating vegan as a lifestyle change. I just felt better eating a vegan diet. I felt better about what I was putting in my body and I felt better physically. I am more energetic, more creative and more centered eating the rainbow. In 2020, much to my great pleasure, my husband decided to join me in this vegan journey. He is also enjoying the benefits of a plant filled diet now and I think we are setting a really good example for the kids.
Do I wish the whole family was vegan? Do I wish the kids exalted in quinoa’s flavor or ate all their veggies voraciously without a fuss? Sure. But do I lose sleep over it? No way. They are kids. I provide them with a variety of nutritious foods, gently encourage them to eat them, educate them about nutrition and health and then move on. Do they have Doritos and ice cream sandwiches? Sometimes! If I do not give them treats, someone else will and then they will be obsessed. Do I get pissed when people give them donuts, candy and fast food? Yeah but I let them have it because I don’t want to be a big jerk. They sometimes complain that their friends have McDonalds often and have cookies and gummy bears in their school lunch. But most of the time they gobble up their black bean burritos, roasted broccoli, guacamole, pasta primavera and veggie burgers and tell me that I make the best food ever. That is really all I can ask for.
Today, I share with you my favorite quick vegetable marinade which is full of flavor and will make any vegetable sing when prepared on a grill. This vegetable preparation is sure to please even the most fervent hater. It is versatile and works well with every veggie imaginable but my faves are eggplant, zucchini and asparagus. There are few ingredients and it is simple and quick to throw together, toss your veggies in and get grilling. Pile your grilled veggies on a salad or make a sandwich or chop them up into a pasta or grain salad. Any way you do it, they are sure to be your new favorite way to get in that recommended 5 servings.
Grilled Seasonal Vegetable Marinade
Yield: 1/2 cup
3 tbsp dijon mustard, juice of two lemons, 2 cloves garlic chopped small, 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, pinch of salt and black pepper
1. Whisk all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth
2. Coat your vegetables by tossing in the bowl and grill
Enjoy! If you make this recipe please share with Sara and VeganZine on Instagram with #VeganZineBoston.
Sara Tercero is the Better Food Guru!
You can find more of her recipes and content here.