Original post: March 28, 2013
My six-year-old daughter made her first charitable donation this year. She decided to save the endangered chimpanzees.
She’s an animal lover so the organization did not surprise me. The giving did. I donate regularly to wildlife organizations. She sees the catalogs, the free gifts. One day an appeal from Save The Chimps arrived in the mail. I did not know them, but asked Sofie — who had recently shown an interest in chimps and monkeys — if she wanted to donate.
She immediately said yes. I explained this meant giving some of her money. (I offered to split the $25 donation with her.) We also discussed why the chimps needed saving. She wanted in. She opened up her piggy bank. I wrote the check.
I thought that was the end of it.
A month later, the mother of one of Sofie’s school friends thanked me for my daughter’s activism.
“Huh?” I said.
“Yes,” she said excitedly. “My daughter came home last night in an uproar about people testing makeup on chimpanzees! She wants to send money to help them… and she even got her grandmother to donate to the cause.”
“Huh.” I said.
Sofie’s kindergarten teacher expounded. Apparently, Sofie had instigated a “Let's save the animals” campaign among her classmates. She told them about the plight of the chimps, how sad she was that they were being taken from their families and put into cages for experiments.
My daughter is becoming a social activist at school, yet all I hear about at dinner is how she played Star Wars at recess.
I’m proud of her, of course, so much so that I have been inspired to expand my charitable contributions via Eco-Mothering. Every season I’ll choose a charity to receive 5% of the profits made from my blog that quarter with a minimum donation of $25. The focus of my selected charities? The environment, of course, plus animals and children. Check out my selected charities — maybe you'll be inspired to give yourself.
Original post: March 8, 2013
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Original post: June 7, 2016
Recently my nine-year-old has mentioned a desire to eat less meat. We are not a vegetarian family, but Sofie has several vegetarian friends and a soft spot for animals. As much as she loves the taste of most meats, I think she’s grappling with the realization that animals are being killed for her food.
I’m all for supporting this change. A semi-vegetarian lifestyle is healthier and eco-friendly (learn why). My role now is to determine good sources of protein to replace the meat in Sofie’s meals.
As the main building blocks of the body, proteins are necessary for building and maintaining our muscles, tissues and organs; fueling our brains; and aiding in specialized functions. A “complete” protein includes all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Vegetarians often get all those amino acids through eating a varied diet.
After some research, and knowing my daughter’s tastes, I’ve decided to focus on these seven protein sources for Sofie. Some were surprising, especially since I didn’t have much idea of proteins beyond beans and eggs. I’ve also included links to some kid-friendly recipes for each protein.
This nutrient-rich food is a complete protein (8 grams of protein per cooked cup) high in fiber, iron, magnesium and calcium. Although often grouped with grains, quinoa is actually part of the food family that includes spinach, beets and Swiss chard. Kids might enjoy its many colors (white, red, orange, purple, black) and its somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Quinoa can be eaten in a variety of ways from soups and stir-fries to breakfast porridge and meatballs.
A member of the legume family, lentils are packed with B vitamins, fiber, folate and 18 grams of protein per cup. They fill you up in a most nutritional way and have a nutty, earthy flavor. Again, lentils can be fun to choose by color: green, brown, red, yellow and orange, although green and brown lentils retain their shape better when cooked.
Peanut butter has been a kid favorite for decades (learn the history of peanut butter), and the peanut is a legume containing vitamin E, folate, copper and biotin. Peanut butter offers about 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. How do other nut butters compare? Almond butter has 7 grams per 2 tablespoons and includes a good amount (80 mg) of calcium. Sunflower seed and soynut butter both contain about 9 grams of protein; soynut has 60 mg of calcium, while sunflower is rich in magnesium, zinc and iron. Any nut butter can be enjoyed as a spread or a dip for fruits and veggies.
Pumpkin seeds—sometimes known as pepitas—are a complete protein that also provide good levels of manganese, copper and zinc (eaten unshelled). They can be eaten raw, baked or boiled and offer a sweet, crunchy flavor along with 12 grams of protein per cup.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
With 13 grams of protein per cup, chickpeas are also an excellent source of manganese, folate, fiber and folate. They have a buttery and starchy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. You can find chickpeas dried or canned, which is quicker for cooking (dried ones require pre-soaking). Be sure to rinse the canned beans first or seek out BPA free versions.
An excellent and delicious source of calcium, potassium and probiotics, Greek yogurt has the edge on regular yogurt because it typically contains half the sugar and double the protein. One cup of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt contains 25 grams of protein. Fruit varieties have more calories and less protein (about 10 grams per cup). Try sweetening plain yogurt with fresh fruit and honey for your kids.
One egg contains about 6 grams of protein (3 grams in the white and 3 in the yolk), yet each part contains all essential amino acids, making them complete proteins on their own. This is good news for a girl who only likes the whites (unless scrambled). Eggs are also an excellent source of B vitamins, selenium and iodine.
More Plant-based Proteins:
What recipes do you have for vegetarian proteins?
About the Blog
Donna created her Eco-Mothering blog while working for an environmental non-profit. Her motivation was two-fold: to document her new parenting journey and to share eco-friendly information with a larger community. This blog will highlight a selection of posts from eight years of writing at Eco-Mothering.com