Vegetarian
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Forcing my kids to become vegetarians


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  My kids are happy omnivores. I do all the cooking and food shopping in the family, so I buy chicken and fish for the meat portion of their diets. They like pasta with chicken and veggieschicken salad and tuna salad. They don't care for beef, except for the once a week Mc Donald's my mom gets them, so this isn't a problem. When they want hot dogs...it's gotta be the hot dogs from Whole Foods that are nitrate free, antibiotic free, growth hormone free, 100% beef.

 They drink organic milk (they don't like soy or any other milks), and they like yogurt. The kids enjoy the little Bluebell vanilla cups and they eat part skim, mozarella cheese. I always make steamed broccoli, peas, carrots or green beans (at this point they don't want to eat other veggies and keep calling Okra "Oprah"! They do eat pinto beans but only my daughter likes peanut butter. They love whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread. Mac & Cheese is a treat about 1-2 a week. For breakfast they like whole wheat blueberry or regular waffles or pancakes.

Everyday for snacks and dessert, they choose from these: Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, grannysmith apples, blackberries, oranges or grapes. Watermelon is a hit, when I buy some.

 Here's the problem...my husband. He says that I'm trying to turn them into vegetarians. Why? I think it's because I refuse to cook meat for him. He's at work when I cook dinner for the kids. I'm getting ready to go to my night shift job when he gets home. He's still got that macho mentality that there should be a plate of dinner, with meat, sitting on the table for him when he gets home.

  We've been married a long time. This is nothing new. He knows he needs to cook for himself if the kids ate all the dinner. When I get home from work, I don't walk in and say, "Where's my breakfast?".  I mean, come on! I work all night, having a meal ready for me, when I get home would be great, but do I expect that...absolutely not.

  I do want the kids to have a  vegetarian day once a week, after school lets out (only 2 days left). I think it will challenge them to think outside the box of a meat eating diet.

 Why aren't my kids veggies now?  Because there's no way my husband would ever let this happen. He told me that if I tried, he would tell their grandmother (my mom). This woman (who I love, dearly) scares the h*ll out of me and I would never, ever want her to think my kids were vegetarians. She would crucify me. If the kids ever want to become vegetarian, we're going to have to do it behind everyone's back.

 Any advice on vegetarian for a day foods to keep a 9 and 12yo interested?

49 Replies (last)

Okay, too many posts to quote, so I won't quote any.

Since when does eating meat mean that you have an unhealthy diet? Since when does being a vegetarian mean that you have a healthy diet? I know plenty of meat-eaters who have very healthy diets [including myself]. I also know quite a few vegetarians who live off of chips, candy, pasta with tons of cheese, etc.

I respect anyone who has a healthy diet. I don't disrespect anyone who has an unhealthy diet, until they force it onto their children.

I was taught in numerous nutrition classes that a vegetarian diet for a child was not healthy. Of course it is great when a child's diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. However, there are certain nutrients in meat that you need.

Also [again, I don't mean to be disrespectful] I see many posts on this forum of "oh no, my iron levels are to the floor," or, "I'm constantly constipated!" or, "not getting enough protein," or, "always tired," etc. So if I see any of these people forcing their kid[s] on a vegetarian/vegan diet who have no idea how to do it correctly, yes, I get scared as well as angry.

I'm sure some of you who were raised vegetarian or raised your kids vegetarian did a good job [gave them a multivitamin, balanced their diets, etc.], and I respect you. I just mean to say that some people who have raised their kids [or, dear God, babies] vegetarian or vegan and have done serious harm or killed them.

I can't help but be over-protective and overly-cautious.

Original Post by randomv3:

Original Post by prinzessin_naseimbuch:

Original Post by adolphs:

Original Post by prinzessin_naseimbuch:To OP: raise your kids how you want, but make sure you leave them with choices.  Do not lock them into vegetarianism b/c you think it's better.  If they want to they'll go full veg on their own.

But if you feed them meat, aren't you "locking them into" omnivorism?

That's just crazy.  Parents feed their children what they think best.  The kids can decide when they get older what they want to eat.  My parents thought pizza, hamburgers and canned corn were best for me.  I chose differently when I became an adult.  Nothing is "locked in" whatever that means...

What I meant was: don't remove meat as a meal option if the kids are still okay with eating it.

 And what if the parent doesn't want to handle meat products? They should be forced to touch it and cook it even if it makes them sick or they are morally opposed to it?

When I have a kid, I'm not looking forward to being elbow-deep in crap while changing their diaper. But as a [hypothetical] parent, I would do what is best for their health, even if it means doing something nasty.

And who says you have to handle raw meat? You can buy frozen meat and just pop it in the oven. You don't even have to touch it.

Original Post by muttlover:

Original Post by randomv3:

Original Post by prinzessin_naseimbuch:

Original Post by adolphs:

Original Post by prinzessin_naseimbuch:To OP: raise your kids how you want, but make sure you leave them with choices.  Do not lock them into vegetarianism b/c you think it's better.  If they want to they'll go full veg on their own.

But if you feed them meat, aren't you "locking them into" omnivorism?

That's just crazy.  Parents feed their children what they think best.  The kids can decide when they get older what they want to eat.  My parents thought pizza, hamburgers and canned corn were best for me.  I chose differently when I became an adult.  Nothing is "locked in" whatever that means...

What I meant was: don't remove meat as a meal option if the kids are still okay with eating it.

 And what if the parent doesn't want to handle meat products? They should be forced to touch it and cook it even if it makes them sick or they are morally opposed to it?

When I have a kid, I'm not looking forward to being elbow-deep in crap while changing their diaper. But as a [hypothetical] parent, I would do what is best for their health, even if it means doing something nasty.

And who says you have to handle raw meat? You can buy frozen meat and just pop it in the oven. You don't even have to touch it.

Or ask the kids to help...teach them how to cook.  My mom didn't like to be the one to hand mix the meatloaf (the squelching sound of the meat disturbed her) so she asked me to do it.  I learned how to make meatloaf and had a wonderful time combining the ingredients (I loved that sound).

Original Post by muttlover:

Original Post by randomv3:

Original Post by prinzessin_naseimbuch:

Original Post by adolphs:

Original Post by prinzessin_naseimbuch:To OP: raise your kids how you want, but make sure you leave them with choices.  Do not lock them into vegetarianism b/c you think it's better.  If they want to they'll go full veg on their own.

But if you feed them meat, aren't you "locking them into" omnivorism?

That's just crazy.  Parents feed their children what they think best.  The kids can decide when they get older what they want to eat.  My parents thought pizza, hamburgers and canned corn were best for me.  I chose differently when I became an adult.  Nothing is "locked in" whatever that means...

What I meant was: don't remove meat as a meal option if the kids are still okay with eating it.

 And what if the parent doesn't want to handle meat products? They should be forced to touch it and cook it even if it makes them sick or they are morally opposed to it?

When I have a kid, I'm not looking forward to being elbow-deep in crap while changing their diaper. But as a [hypothetical] parent, I would do what is best for their health, even if it means doing something nasty.

And who says you have to handle raw meat? You can buy frozen meat and just pop it in the oven. You don't even have to touch it.

I didn't say anything about raw meat.  A lot of vegetarians find meat repulsive, regardless of if it's raw or not. If it actually makes them vomit, dinner probably won't be too tasty.

Plus, That's like telling a vegetarian to just pick the meat off pizza when there's no veggie option. If it's a moral issue, just popping it in the oven or picking it off won't solve anything.

I just don't see why her husband can't cook some meat for the kids if he so desperately wants them to eat it.

 

Original Post by randomv3:

Original Post by muttlover:

Original Post by randomv3:

Original Post by prinzessin_naseimbuch:

Original Post by adolphs:

Original Post by prinzessin_naseimbuch:To OP: raise your kids how you want, but make sure you leave them with choices.  Do not lock them into vegetarianism b/c you think it's better.  If they want to they'll go full veg on their own.

But if you feed them meat, aren't you "locking them into" omnivorism?

That's just crazy.  Parents feed their children what they think best.  The kids can decide when they get older what they want to eat.  My parents thought pizza, hamburgers and canned corn were best for me.  I chose differently when I became an adult.  Nothing is "locked in" whatever that means...

What I meant was: don't remove meat as a meal option if the kids are still okay with eating it.

 And what if the parent doesn't want to handle meat products? They should be forced to touch it and cook it even if it makes them sick or they are morally opposed to it?

When I have a kid, I'm not looking forward to being elbow-deep in crap while changing their diaper. But as a [hypothetical] parent, I would do what is best for their health, even if it means doing something nasty.

And who says you have to handle raw meat? You can buy frozen meat and just pop it in the oven. You don't even have to touch it.

I didn't say anything about raw meat.  A lot of vegetarians find meat repulsive, regardless of if it's raw or not. If it actually makes them vomit, dinner probably won't be too tasty.

Plus, That's like telling a vegetarian to just pick the meat off pizza when there's no veggie option. If it's a moral issue, just popping it in the oven or picking it off won't solve anything.

I just don't see why her husband can't cook some meat for the kids if he so desperately wants them to eat it.

Agreed. If you want something badly for your kid, always be ready to do it yourself.

Sorry, I read the original post, but for some reason I was under the impression that the father was also a vegetarian. Oops.

I would also never tell a vegetarian to "pick the meat off." I was a vegetarian for a few years, and having meat juice on my meal definitely would have bothered me.

Original Post by muttlover:

Choosing to be a vegetarian should be just that: a choice.

No offense, but I don't agree with forcing your kids to be vegetarian. I really hope you know what you're doing. Deficiencies in any vitamins or minerals can retard the growth of children and cause permanent damage.

Children have a high need for iron. Iron is necessary for brain development because it helps carry oxygen to the brain. A diet high in fiber can impair the absorption of iron. By the way, spinach and other leafy greens are not good sources of iron because they contain oxalates that prevents a lot of the iron from being absorbed.

What protein sources do you plan to feed your kid that isn't loaded with fiber? Faux milks would do the trick, but feeding your kid too much calcium will also impair the absorption of iron.

Maybe if you give me a sample menu of your kid's vegetarian diet, I could get a better picture. I still highly doubt that a vegetarian diet can give a growing child all of the nutrients they need without causing poor absorption of certain vitamins.

Your kid doesn't deserve to be mentally impaired or slowed in growth because you, as a parent, decided to force your moral dietary beliefs on them.

 muttlover,

 You read the title of my post but not my whole post if you're under the impression that I was going to convert my kids to a 100% vegetarian diet. I was going to have them eat vegetarian one day a week, only during summer vacation and I was going to call it, "Vegetarian for a Day".

 My husband was absolutely against it. He wouldn't even allow (yes, allow) me to have a vegetarian for half a day with them. It's ridiculous because they don't eat meat 3 times a day (he would know that if he ever cooked for them).

 I was going to include milk, eggs, fruits, veggies, and nuts and nut butters, and pasta (like spaghetti). This was only to open their eyes to a vegetarian diet. The choice is theirs when they are adults. I do cook meat for them, even if I don't like doing it.

So, take it easy, muttlover. By the way, I really enjoy your posts in the lounge. 

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

...I was going to have them eat vegetarian one day a week, only during summer vacation and I was going to call it, "Vegetarian for a Day".

...

 I was going to include milk, eggs, fruits, veggies, and nuts and nut butters, and pasta (like spaghetti). This was only to open their eyes to a vegetarian diet. The choice is theirs when they are adults. I do cook meat for them, even if I don't like doing it.

...

 how about doing it unofficially?  You could do it without making a big deal about it and the kids probably won't even notice, nor would your husband.  When they get older you could mention to them how often they go days without eating meat.

Original Post by randomv3:

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

...I was going to have them eat vegetarian one day a week, only during summer vacation and I was going to call it, "Vegetarian for a Day".

...

 I was going to include milk, eggs, fruits, veggies, and nuts and nut butters, and pasta (like spaghetti). This was only to open their eyes to a vegetarian diet. The choice is theirs when they are adults. I do cook meat for them, even if I don't like doing it.

...

 how about doing it unofficially?  You could do it without making a big deal about it and the kids probably won't even notice, nor would your husband.  When they get older you could mention to them how often they go days without eating meat.

   That's a great idea. Right now, if I mention anything vegetarian, my kids think I'm gonna sneak some soy or tofu in their food.

   The unofficial way sounds more do-able too, and it would only be once a week. When they're older, they may indeed be more appreciative of having eaten veggie once a week.   :)

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

Original Post by muttlover:

Choosing to be a vegetarian should be just that: a choice.

No offense, but I don't agree with forcing your kids to be vegetarian. I really hope you know what you're doing. Deficiencies in any vitamins or minerals can retard the growth of children and cause permanent damage.

Children have a high need for iron. Iron is necessary for brain development because it helps carry oxygen to the brain. A diet high in fiber can impair the absorption of iron. By the way, spinach and other leafy greens are not good sources of iron because they contain oxalates that prevents a lot of the iron from being absorbed.

What protein sources do you plan to feed your kid that isn't loaded with fiber? Faux milks would do the trick, but feeding your kid too much calcium will also impair the absorption of iron.

Maybe if you give me a sample menu of your kid's vegetarian diet, I could get a better picture. I still highly doubt that a vegetarian diet can give a growing child all of the nutrients they need without causing poor absorption of certain vitamins.

Your kid doesn't deserve to be mentally impaired or slowed in growth because you, as a parent, decided to force your moral dietary beliefs on them.

 muttlover,

 You read the title of my post but not my whole post if you're under the impression that I was going to convert my kids to a 100% vegetarian diet. I was going to have them eat vegetarian one day a week, only during summer vacation and I was going to call it, "Vegetarian for a Day".

 My husband was absolutely against it. He wouldn't even allow (yes, allow) me to have a vegetarian for half a day with them. It's ridiculous because they don't eat meat 3 times a day (he would know that if he ever cooked for them).

 I was going to include milk, eggs, fruits, veggies, and nuts and nut butters, and pasta (like spaghetti). This was only to open their eyes to a vegetarian diet. The choice is theirs when they are adults. I do cook meat for them, even if I don't like doing it.

So, take it easy, muttlover. By the way, I really enjoy your posts in the lounge. 

I did read your original post. But after reading that other posters [seemed to be] encouraging a 100% vegetarian diet, I did get upset. So I apologize, my post wasn't really aimed at you.

Vegetarian days are fine. I also think that if you don't want to cook meat, that your husband should work something out with you. I am studying nutrition, and I have been learning how important nutrition in a person's childhood is. So, yeah, I get a bit protective. :P

I hold nothing against you, or anyone else in this forum. Sorry if I came across as pissy, but I get very frustrated when I am lead to believe that a young child is not being properly nurtured.

49 Replies (last)
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