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Is it cruel to...

I read this question in Parenting magazine, and was wondering what your opinions would be? The question was:

Is it cruel to make your preschooler follow a vegetarian diet?

My answer would be no, it's not cruel simply because if you never introduce a child to eating meats, they aren't missing anything. Some people argue it is important for children to eat meats for the proteins BUT there is just as much protein in other non-meat foods, like eggs, cheese, beans and lentils, peanut butter, etc. I do not make my kids follow a vegetarian diet but I do have them eat healthy just because it's what I buy and what they are used to. What do you think?


Asked by AprilDJC at 2:59 PM on Sep. 27, 2009 in Just for Fun

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This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • We skip meat 3 days a week simply because beans are cheaper than chicken. I agree that it might have some developmental issues, but that would be something to talk to your doctor about. I am not an expert about it, so I don't know if the protein that is good enough as an adult is good enough as a child. I also agree that if your child wants it after having it elsewhere, you should make an effort to give it to your child occasionally. I do know that most other places they do not put the emphasis on meat we do here so I doubt it is world ending if your not offering it.

    Answer by auroura at 3:26 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • i don't think it cruel but i'm not going to tell my kids they can't have meat just because i don't like it, i never deny my kids food (junk yes, but food, no)

    Answer by josiesmommy00 at 3:03 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • Cruelty is thrown around so much these days. Cruelty to me is starving your child. As long as you provide a healthy diet and are careful to make sure the proper proteins are combined to ensure complete proteins, I think its fine. Not being vegetarian at all, I'm not sure on the science behind that.

    Answer by Ginger0104 at 3:07 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • I don't feel it's cruel, but I feel a child should be allowed to make reasonable food choices and not be dictated by the parent's vegetarian beliefs. If a child wants chicken, they shouldn't be denied chicken just because mom and dad thinks it's murder to eat animals, and all that B.S.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:12 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • Meat based protien is VERY VERY important to your child mental and brain development and overall health. How would you like to find out when your kid is 8 that your veggie diet is what caused your child to be mentally challenged or slow? God put the animals here for people to eat! Read the bible. you dont have to have tons of meat in your diet but 4 oz. of meat based protien a day is what the RDA for an adult is.
    Are you cruel for not feeding your kids meat? If it causes your kids to be mentally retarded or mis developed YES it's cruel.

    Answer by vbruno at 3:14 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • I think as long as they are getting the proper amounts of protein and such it doesn't matter how the child gets it. However I think it's horrible for a parent to insist that a child can not have meat at an older age if they chose not to follow vegetarian diets. Yes I have friends whom raised their kids to be vegans and the child chose to eat meat and they pretty much have disowned the boy who is 16.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:14 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • I agree with anon 3:12. It's one thing to feed them as you do, but don't get mad if they eat meat elsewhere.

    Answer by BridgetC140 at 3:18 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • I don't think it's cruel at all to have a kid follow whatever diet a family is used to as long as they are getting the nutrition they need. Some people just don't eat certain meats or other foods for religious/cultural reasons, and I see nothing wrong with it.
    On the flip side, isn't it cruel to make a kid eat meat just because the parents believ it's ok, when animals are raised and slaughtered for food? (I am not a vegetarian, just playing devil's advocate)

    Answer by raybird1031 at 3:20 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • Wow anon :14, that's crazy. I would never be able to basically disown my child for their choice of food. We aren't vegetarians, we do eat chicken, turkey, and bison. We do avoid fatty red meats when possible, but my kids are fine with that. They love bison, turkey and chicken, and they do get the occasional burger or small steak when we go out to dinner. I don't see a point in restricting foods that are not inherently bad for you, but I also don't see a problem with a vegetarian family choosing not to feed their toddler/preschooler meats. If that child got old enough and decided they wanted meats, I would hope they would let them make their own decision.

    Answer by AprilDJC at 3:23 PM on Sep. 27, 2009

  • I wish I could skip meat mostly because of the price, but it's a staple in our house. My son is very allergic to milk products, eggs, and nuts so the only real source of protein left is meat! Not much we we can.

    No, that doesn't sound cruel.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:12 PM on Sep. 27, 2009