“Can my kids be vegan or vegetarian? “
I see this question all the time in my mom’s groups on FB. And there are always varying answers in the comments; from one end of the spectrum, “No, you’re child must eat meat for healthy development,” all the way to the other, “Of course! You do whatever you think is right, you know your child best!”
A Balanced Diet is What Matters
Neither of these statements is accurate. A child can be raised as a vegetarian with a proper diet, they don’t need meat. And just because you know how your child likes his pancakes doesn’t mean you know if he has pneumonia or not, you’d still have to check with his pediatrician.
There are lots of people who raise a vegetarian or vegan family. Obviously it should be discussed with your child’s physician to make sure they’re getting proper nutrition, but that’s really pretty standard for all children’s diets.
When I see other moms ask this question I wonder if they’re looking for a yes/no answer or for validation. As parents worry about being judged more than we want to. Decision making is hard, and especially when you’re a parent. Regardless of how secure we feel in our parenting, sometimes we can’t help but think other people are looking down on us. So it helps to ask a question and feel the support of others.
It’s Totally Cool to be Vegan or Vegetarian
So if you are looking for validation, here it is: your child can be a vegetarian! I mean you’re the parent, you have to make decisions for your child. Everything can’t be left to exploration. If you wouldn’t eat meat, it only makes sense that you wouldn’t feed it to your child.
Similar to raising kiddos in a certain religion. Share your values, your morals, and the ways you conduct yourself in order to follow the path you feel is right. Teaching children that there is more than one way to get necessary nutrients into our bodies is a good lesson. Showing your child that you can stand up and make choices for yourself regardless of outside pressure, is a good lesson.
Raising a vegetarian is a perfectly good idea, but know that just like with religion, your child may grow up and choose a different path.
Connect with Other Vegetarian Families
It’s always a good idea to connect with others who live the same values as you. And with social media and the interwebz, it’s easier than ever to connect with other parents who live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Izzy from She Likes Food was raised vegetarian and lives a mostly vegetarian lifestyle now. You can check our her list of 37 Healthy Kid Friendly Vegetarian Dinner Recipes here. Her food looks amazing!
Another great site to check out is JamieOliver.com. If you don’t know Jamie Oliver, he was the chef on Food Network with the really awesome recipes and wicked cool accent. He has some great veggie recipes.
And one more list of easy vegetarian family recipes can be found on Cookie+Kate.Vegetarian family
Your family’s diet is your business! And as long as you’re feeding them responsibly, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say about it.
I often try to make vegetarian meals but I personally haven’t practiced enough recipes to make it work. I plan on one day cutting meat out entirely, at least for myself. The health benefits sound absolutely amazing.
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