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When Vegetarians Raise Vegetarians

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?

Image Source: Getty
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 7 years
My dad is vegan, my mom is mostly vegetarian besides chicken, and I eat meat, they've always encouraged me to choose what I wanted, as long as it was healthy.
talonsage talonsage 7 years
"Carnivores may not give much thought to the burger on their plate, but vegetarians might." Excuse me? Do you know any carnivorous humans? No. We're OMNIVORES. I understand you're out to make a point, but at LEAST use the proper terminology.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 7 years
I think the article is hard to understand from how it paraphrased, their may even be a mistake. But, after reading it a few times I think that she agrees with vegetarians raising their kids vegetarians--she says that kids that have limits do better then their limitless peers when on their own. And her quote suggests that you should raise them vegetarian but give them reasons and explanations instead of force them into eating what you eat--what most of the comments said. At least that's what I gathered from reading it many times over--it was confusing. So the comments that are against the author could be wrong--she is just saying to give reasons to children for not eating meat, instead of forcing them and I THINK she also points out children who have limits feel less stressed out when choosing food.
kmckay kmckay 7 years
Right on Cali Grammy!!! I am vegan , my husband is vegetarian. We don't have kids yet but people question how I'll raise my kids. Do people adhering to the SAD (standard american diet) FORCEFEED thier kids happy meals? meat by-products? flesh, pus, and muscles? No... they are looked at as people feeding their kids. However, when I explain how I'll feed my kids I get, How can you FORCE you kid into that? Seriously. Hypocrites anyone?!?! Ugh.. sorry to be forceful. Touchy subject for me. I don't preach to anyone about how they feed their kids yet I've probably done more research into my diet and how to be healthy than most people who just eat what is considered "normal" so it irks me.
filmgirl81 filmgirl81 7 years
I was raised by a vegetarian mother and a carnivorous father. They allowed me to eat whatever I want, but by the time I was in college, I made the decision to turn into a vegetarian. My boyfriend is not a vegetarian, so if we do end up having kids, I will definitely be in the same mindset as a lot of the other commenters. I won't be cooking meat for my kid, but they can choose to eat what they want.
SarahPW SarahPW 7 years
I am pregnant now and both my husband and I are vegetarians. I will not be buying meat or serving it at home, but if my child chooses to eat meat outside of the home, I can't stop them. I will explain why we don't eat meat, but it will ultimately be their decision.
Angelica Angelica 7 years
I was raised a vegetarian, but my parents constantly reminded me I could eat meat if I wanted to and kept an open conversation about why they put so much effort into eating healthy. I can remember having chats about organic food and veggies before I even understood why they cared, but I always knew I could make my own food choices. I'll have to take my husbands lifestyle into account, but I will definitely use the same tactic with my children. It's important that children learn to eat healthy — whether that includes meat or not — and that's all about communication!
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