I haven’t always been a vegetarian and so sadly my children have grown up with the taste of meat.  Now I am faced with the desire to convert them to vegetarianism but in a gentle way (mostly to have a bit of peace around the dinner table).

Almost all children love McDonald’s, especially the “Happy Meal”.  It seems absurd but in their mind nothing could be better than a no nutrition,  high caloric meal loaded with fat and sugar that comes with a toy!

So, I came up with this idea – what if I could harness the joy of the happy meal but make it myself at home, and make it a healthy vegetarian experience?

Now, the joy of the happy meal comes mostly from the box the meal is presented in.  So, I found some noodle boxes at the local discount store and decorated them with bright stickers to make them sparkly and gorgeous.  Then I carefully ripped out some pages from my daughter’s colouring books to use as placemats.  I also bought some little pencils and crayons at the discount store where I bought the boxes and I used these as the ‘toy’ part of the meal.

For the food element I bought some vegan nuggets,  made some chips at home in the oven, and squeezed some organic tomato sauce into cute little dishes.  Last of all I poured a splash of juice topped up with lots of water into a glass with a straw.

I am very happy to report that this dinner was met with squeals of delight.  My 10 year old ate almost everything, leaving just a few chips and didn’t even notice that the nuggets weren’t really chicken.  She then coloured in a beautiful picture for me and was all smiles.    My 3 year old was completely distracted by the colouring and had to be pleaded with to eat anything – so note to self, show the colouring pencils but then remove promising to return them once the dinner is eaten!  Oh well, I’ll get it right next time.   Despite the delay my youngest did eventually eat some dinner, about as much as she would have eaten from a non-vegetarian meal so I would count it a success.

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7 Comments on Happy Meals at Home

  1. mel says:

    Hi Grace,

    i have just made rice cakes that when shallow fried in coconut oil (cold pressed extra virgin)taste very similar to chicken nuggets ( as i was told by a neighbour )and instantly i thought of you.

    500 grms -organic brown rice flour
    1/2 tsp garamasal powder
    1 tsp curry powder
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    2 pinches himilayin salt
    5 tsp filtered water
    1/2 cup coconut oil

    place all dried ingredients into bowl, mix well, add enough water to form into a dough like texture (not sticky) and roll into small balls and shallow fry for 20 secs turning frequently.

    i hope this helps as a healthier alternative to soy xx

  2. Ria Harvison says:

    Hi Grace,
    Love what you did to entice your children to eat a nourishing meal. Macca’s pay a fortune to create the appeal and attraction for their cardboard meals. As a society we are influenced so much by bling and colour and purchase product that is in effect empty. Bring back simplicity by the bucket loads and make our lives better.

    The ensueing discussion created by your topic is also interesting. Love the variety of views that people have, it is always a fertile learning curve.
    Love and light, Ria.

  3. waterlightearth says:

    Hi Anastasia,

    Even though your intentions are good, I believe you should research your argument a little deeper before injecting fear and placing sanctions on others whom choose to live differently than yourself; we all know where that way of thinking leads…
    I am what ‘you’ would call a ‘radical environmentalists’ or what i would call a conscious person. I have lived a vegan lifestyle for 13yrs now ( and no i dont even use beeswax, can you imagine!) I have raised 3 incredibly beautiful and healthy children accordingly. All of my pregnancies and births were natural and wonderful. Due to societies sanctions I was constantly tested for vitamin deficiencies and believe it or not I was always above average! (Funny that didn’t make it in the news) my children only ever get a common cold once or twice a year and it passes in less than a week. We eat all organic food. And are aware of everything that my children eat, which means I prepare everything.
    Now the picture you have just painted of someone like me is a picture that speaks of carelessness and neglect and ironically that is nothing but carelessness in itself.
    So I suggest that before your place sanctions on others- look a little deeper into where these sanctions originated ie the meat and dairy industries that are tied with the media and find your own original thoughts that come from true concern and fact and understanding about health.
    You talk about organic meat, due you know that means that the cows, chickens ect are still only being feed grain? that is organic but has it got the chlorophyll they need from real food like grass? This is just the surface, I think you would benefit from looking into it more deeply.
    So I agree with your comments about soy products, but I think you should have stopped there, and not tried to save face by putting others down…it is comments like yours that make people live in isolation, so please be mindful!
    Sincerely Mel

  4. Anastasia says:

    sorry I didn’t know about the tumor and latose intolerance…
    And again I meant no hate at all. Please don’t take it personal, I only heard of some extreme environmentalists … they don’t eat any meat or any animal derived products, not even honey, they won’t even use a lip balm with beeswax in it =.=

    • Grace says:

      Don’t worry Anastasia I understand your motives were good – I didn’t take it personally. Its lovely that you take the time to write in your thoughts. Keep it up!

  5. Anastasia says:

    Did you not know that vegetarianism is not such a healthy trend? Better eat real organic meat, organic free range eggs and chiken, but not some soy substitute.
    I heard on the news a report about “healthy” children of vegetarian parents, children just stopped growing… Resumed growth after intorduction of “unhealthy” elements into their diet such as milk, eggs, and meat.
    I’m not being mean, I’m just really concerned about vegetarians and vegans…

    • Grace says:

      Just to clarify, I’m vegetarian not vegan – I still eat eggs and some dairy. My children are lactose intolerant so they tend to avoid milk. In regards to eating meat – I have a cancer tumour and my treatment was to stop eating meating immediately & combine this with a nutritional therapy. I green juice every day and make all my food generally from scratch – including pasta, cakes everything that we eat really – all using organic ingredients. This has enabled my tumour to shrink and my vision to return (I was going blind as my tumour is on my optic nerve) so for me I am convinced that vegetarianism is the right choice for my body. The prepared nuggets that were shown in the photo were something I bought specifically with the idea of replacing chicken nuggets from McDonalds as these were identical in shape to the McDonalds variety. I don’t feed my children soy replacements all the time, when they do want to eat meat they eat organic meat only. I do thank you for your interest and concern.