Tag Archives: vegetarian kid
Having children who are vegetarian has its pros and cons, so I’ve compiled this (not too serious) list of the best and worst things about it:
5 worst things about having vegetarian kids
- Feeling the need to be very nutritionally aware so you can defend your children’s choice to other parents
- The panicked look on the mum’s face when your child has been invited over for lunch/dinner and then divulges that they are vegetarian
- Feeling bad for them when they get gifts of non-vegetarian sweets that they used to love but won’t eat out of principle
- Having to bring your own food to BBQs
- The way their convictions make you question your own principles
5 best things about having vegetarian kids
- The new range of vegetarian foods the family gets introduced to – some are delicious!
- The benefit that healthier eating has on the whole family
- The fact that your vegetarian kids seem more adventurous in what they will consider eating than before
- Feeling so proud when they stand up for what they believe
- The way their convictions make you question your own principles!
Although life has sometimes been a little more complicated since our children have become vegetarians, I think the benefits have far outweighed the drawbacks and I definitely find myself preferring the vegetarian food that we eat these days.
Even my husband commented the other day that he is actually going off meat himself and finds it doesn’t really agree with him anymore – I’d never have believed that was possible a year ago!
As the summer holidays approach, my mind wanders back to this time last year when my parents were visiting us for a few weeks. They live in South Africa and we don’t get to see them as often as we would like. If we are lucky we might get to see them once every couple of years, but no more than that.
A month or so prior to their visit I’d mentioned to my mother on the phone that Julian had become a vegetarian.
Although at the time that he made his decision it did suddenly become very clear to my wife and I that we had insufficient knowledge about the nutritional requirements for vegetarian children and a fairly limited range of vegetarian meals in our repertoire, all in all we were pretty happy to support him.
From our point of view, it was our job to make sure they had a healthy diet as they grew up. If that diet was to be a vegetarian one, then we had better quickly brush up our knowledge about nutrition and expand our cooking horizons, both of which my wife really threw herself into.
In any event, when I told my mother, it was clearly a bit of a shock to her that a) my children would make such a decision and b) that we were happy to accommodate them. She spoke her mind quite clearly to me:
Was it possible for young children to grow up healthy on a vegetarian diet? She was pretty sure that she has read somewhere that it wasn’t. What kind of parents would allow their children to tell them what they would or would not eat? Children should be made to eat what was put in front of them, end of story. No doubt some busybody at school had turned their mind to this nonsense with some moralistic preaching. Did we know who? All children go through these kinds of fads but we really should not encourage it and must force him to eat meat. (There was more, but that was pretty much the gist of it…)
Now, let me state very clearly that I think my parents are wonderful people. I could not have asked for a better upbringing or a more loving home. But honestly, I couldn’t agree with this way of thinking. I think we have long moved on from the days when children were expected to simply do and think whatever they are told to do and think by their elders.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate a complete “laissez faire” attitude to child rearing. Children definitely need a firm guiding hand from responsible adults if they are to avoid some of the more perilous pitfalls during growing up. Surely however, if a child is mature enough to make a rational decision on moral grounds about whether or not they wish to eat meat products, they deserve some support in that decision. Maybe my parents just belong to an older generation where things were done differently, but I want my children to be able to weigh up facts and independently reach their own convictions on things like this.
I believe that most “younger” parents feel like we do and would do the same thing for their children that we have done. At least I hope they would.
For the record, when my parents eventually visited, my mother did sit down and have a chat with Julian about his decision to be a vegetarian, and was impressed by both his conviction and his knowledge of nutritional requirements. She has reconciled herself to the situation and realised that it is possible to raise a healthy vegetarian child, which is just as well as we now have two of them!
Have you ever had to deal with this type of situation with family or friends?