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Mom, can I be a vegetarian?

If your teenager came to you and said they wanted to be a vegetarian, would you let them? Or, if your family is vegetarian, if they said they wanted to eat meat? If so, with what limitations? Would you make them do some nutritional research? Make their own meals, if the family meal didn't fit in with their choice? What if your elementary age child came to you with the same question? At what age are they old enough to make that decision?
Not a situation I'm facing, just curious.


Asked by missanc at 9:59 AM on Jan. 20, 2011 in Parenting Debate

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Answers (11)
  • My daughter is now 18 and when she was 15, she decided she wanted to be a vegetarian. I told her okay but there were conditions. She's a swimmer so she had to talk to her coach about the best vegetarian diet to get all the protein, etc. for sports. Also, she had to give me ideas for what to make for her along with the regular meals the rest of us were making. She lasted almost an entire year and she learned a lot about it. But mostly she learned that she couldn't live without buffalo chicken wings!!

    Answer by ceallaigh at 2:40 PM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • Why wouldn't someone let them? It just seems stupid to not let your child make a decision about their health and future like that.

    Answer by CraftingMama at 10:00 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • I have not been in this situation either, but I say they need to research it and then help prepare the meals. It is never too early for them to make that choice for themselves as long as it is healthy for them.

    Answer by pennycandy at 10:02 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • I was just thinking, because a say 10 year old child might not know what foods they need to eat in order to get all the nutrition they need (protein, calcium, etc.). Some of those sources aren't as readily available in a vegan diet - not that it can't be done, I know some very healthy vegans! but I would want to make sure my child understood the variety of fruits/vegetables they would need to eat. And I'm not sure I would want to be up to the extra work to make them a separate meal.

    Comment by missanc (original poster) at 10:04 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • I am a vegetarian. DH and the kids like some chicken or red meat every once in a while. We are also a kosher household. And for reasons of keeping a kosher household in an easier manner, like we have for years, meat is not consumed in the house. I don't mind if they eat it, I just don't want it inside.

    We often have discussions about foods and how certain things are good for us (or not so good.) I hope that I am giving them a good basis for nutrition so that they can make educated decisions about what goes into their bodies when they do start making those choices for themselves.

    Answer by balagan_imma at 10:07 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • Sure... mine did, and I passes the phase

    Answer by MommaClark3 at 10:20 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • i did for about a year and a half, my mom told me i could do what i wanted but i was on my own if they were eating meat at home lol

    Answer by pookipoo at 10:41 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • Of course I'd let them eat vegetarian - it's actually quite healthy to do so. But I'd make sure they were helping with the meal planning and cooking.


    Answer by banana-bear at 10:47 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • My children have every right to believe in something outside of what I believe in. Whether it's religion, meat or not meat, clothing style, whatever it is. I give them full right to want to express that belief as well, and as long as it's not too extreme they can practice it. If it were the case of wanting to become a vegetarian then I would sit down with them and I would help them do all the research. Talk with other healthy vegetarians and maybe even converse with their family doctor (or a nutritionalist). When we've done all of our research and found the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a vegetarian diet then they can surely become one. As long as they're healthy and maintaining a healthy weight then they can eat meat or not eat meat. That's they're choice..

    Age wouldn't matter to me. Children and teens alike know what is right for them.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 11:51 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • My daughter has been doing the vegetarian thing now for about a year...and she is 17
    if I make stuff with meat she eats something else or works around it

    she usually will have a real hamburger though if I'm making that! heh...she really tries to stick to it though

    when she was in like 3rd or 4th grade she had a teacher who told them horrible things about meat and that being vegetarian was goo-so she tried then too...even though I was not pleased with this didn't last long that time -a couple of months maybe...but sometime last year she told me she wanted to do it again. She is fine with us eating meat- but trys not to herself

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 12:36 PM on Jan. 20, 2011