For some, dinner is just a meal. For others, it is a way of life and a testament to their beliefs. Carnivores may not give much thought to the burger on their plate, but vegetarians might. They often take comfort in the fact that no animals were harmed in the making of their cuisine — a mindset many would like to pass onto their offspring. Some vegetarian moms limit their children to a strict greens and fruits diet, and others allow their children to choose meals for themselves — meat included. While the choice may seem insignificant to some, others believe a parent's push to be strictly vegetarian may have negative consequences.
Instead of forcing a child into vegetarian restrictions, Jennifer Nelson, director of clinical dietetics at the Mayo Clinic, thinks children who can select their own food may experience less peer pressure than their limitless foodies in the lunch room. Furthermore, she argues it may even cause a child to feel stressed out if she is not limited to parent-approved choices when out on her lonesome. To avoid setting children up for failure, Nelson recommends this tidbit of advice:
You should offer age-appropriate explanations for why they don't eat meat . . . Then give children reassurance and strategies for making food choices when they're not with you.
So tell us, would you raise your child to have the same eating habits as you or would you allow them to test things out for themselves?