What is the best way to get small children on a vegetarian diet?

9 comments

I have a 6 year old who loves chicken and 5 year old who only likes mac n cheese and a 2 year old who eats everything. I started Jan. 1st on a vegetarian diet and my husband started 2 weeks ago. We decided that meats are really bad and want our children to go vegetarain too. Any ideas on how to do this and make it fun and tastey would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Comments:

Oh, goodness, litmama, please don’t listen to anyone who tells you meat is necessary for children’s growth. It’s not meat, but PROTEIN, that is essential for growing kids, and protein can come from non-meat sources. I have been vegetarian for three years and I envy those young people who parents have been vegetarian and who raised them from childhood to be vegetarian, too.

There are many websites which can help you start your family on a vegetarian diet, which is the healthiest, most compassionate, most environment-friendly decision you’ve made. VegFamily.com is one of them. I think there is also a website called VegetarianBaby.com for children under 3.

Congratulations on making this decision. I hope that you stick to your vegetarian diet, not just for your health, but for that of the environment, too.

{ 9 comments }

T.W

How about giving them a decision rather than forcing your views down their throats, literally.

wendyf46

I think it’s OK for anyone over 18 to be a vegetarian, but kids need meat for proper growth. If you really want them to stop eating meat, make VERY sure they get plenty of protein. this link should help.

Lane

You need to eat meat and fish, its good for you. Eliminating all meat is just silly. And it isn’t healthy for your growing kids.
Since you and your spouse have only been vegetarians for a few days, I wouldn’t necessarily think you are not going to stay vegen.
But if you do insist on no meat, you better offer tasty, healthy, alternatives because salad isn’t going to cut it. you’re raising kids- not rabbits

Heidi C

Oh, goodness, litmama, please don’t listen to anyone who tells you meat is necessary for children’s growth. It’s not meat, but PROTEIN, that is essential for growing kids, and protein can come from non-meat sources. I have been vegetarian for three years and I envy those young people who parents have been vegetarian and who raised them from childhood to be vegetarian, too.

There are many websites which can help you start your family on a vegetarian diet, which is the healthiest, most compassionate, most environment-friendly decision you’ve made. VegFamily.com is one of them. I think there is also a website called VegetarianBaby.com for children under 3.

Congratulations on making this decision. I hope that you stick to your vegetarian diet, not just for your health, but for that of the environment, too.

kostar

To the guy that thinks putting kids of a vegetarian diet is forcing your opinions down their throats…..what do you think you’re doing when you feed your kids meat??? You’re forcing your meat-eating opinions down their throats!

I would start by buying the veggie chicen nuggets and other fun meat-replacment foods. Kids won’t know the difference.

emsr2d2

Take a look at the Vegetarian Society website (link below) – it’s full of fantastic information and inspiring stories etc on how to be veggie (both young and old!)
Further to the people who say you should feed your kids meat until they are old enough to decide for themselves, I think the general idea is right but should be the other way around. Feed them a healthy, nutritious vegetarian diet until they are old enough to understand EXACTLY where meat/fish comes from and they can decide whether or not they want any part of that cruel industry.

TBL

Well, it sounds like your youngest won’t be an issue (“eats everything”), and your middle child’s picky eating was already a problem you’ll need to work out somehow (perhaps as you try new vegetarian foods, he/she will discover more foods they like?), so that leaves the oldest child. Morningstar and Quorn both make excellent chicken substitutes you could use to ease your family into a vegetarian life. You can also try cooking with seitan–it’s amazing in stir frys, for instance.

One way to get older two kids excited about new foods is to involve them in the preparation. When a child feels they were a big help in preparing a meal, they are naturally more eager to eat it. They *want* it to be good, because they had fun making it, so they’re predisposed to like it. If you can turn meal preparation into a fun family affair, your kids will be much more likely to approach the results with an open mind. (This may help you with your picky eater, too.)

Celtic Tejas

For the one who loves chicken I suggest Boca Chicken Nuggets. The other 2 you have covered.
I used things like raw fruits or veggies with “dips” allot. Apple with a Nut Butter dip. Veggies with low fat Ranch(or anything else they liked) My kids like plain Hummus too. Mini Pizzas, think outside the box, keep it simple, remember they had more sensitive taste buds than you do. Make things they can eat with their hands too. As for mac & cheese go with organic cheese or vegan cheese. Same on things like pizza.
Lots of luck.

KitKat

Mac and cheese can be considered vegetarian IF the cheese involved in animal rennet free. I know that Annies makes one and kraft now has an organic mac and cheese that is animal rennet free. I however suggest Annies because they have a whole wheat mac and cheese. Whole grains are the foundation of good nutrition.

My kids eat mainly a vegetarian diet. We eat Whole grain pastas with different sauces, vegetarian casseroles, rice dishes, stir fry, grilled cheese (animal rennet free cheese) with tomato soup and so much more.

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