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To raise my child as a vegetarian?

(224 Posts)
rstuk Mon 06-May-13 09:25:04

Both myself and DH are vegetarians and we would like our children to be vegetarians too for both health and ethical reasons, however I'm a bit unsure because all of the websites i've checked have conflicting opinions on whether or not this is good for a small child (digestion issues etc) and our parents (non/ex-vegetarians) think we're 'depriving' the child
Help anyone? i'm completely lost

squeakytoy Mon 06-May-13 09:26:25

Feed the child vegetarian food at home, allow the child to eat whatever they like (obviously within reason regarding nutrition etc) out of the home.

Allow them to choose for themselves if they wish to be vegetarian or not.

HollyBerryBush Mon 06-May-13 09:27:56

I have a few Sikh friends, all of whom are vegetarian (some vegan) and raise their families in a vegetarian lifestyle.

We've raised all four of ours as vegetarians from birth. We both come from medical backgrounds and neither of us has read any reliable evidence to say that it's harmful. Presumably any long-tern risks would have come to light by now, as whole areas / cultures have been doing this for generations. We now have a 13 year old, an 11 year old and two 8 year olds who are all healthy.

Sparhawk Mon 06-May-13 09:29:22

As long as they have a healthy balanced diet and are happy and healthy, it's absolutely none of anyone elses business. Plenty of people around the world raise their children in a vegetarian lifestyle.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 09:32:38

We never considered cooking meat for DS (we are both veggies). I'm medical, too, and happy he gets a balanced diet - as much as any other toddler anyway!

When he is old enough to be eating away from us - at school etc - we'll explain what meat is and let him make his own mind up about whether to eat it.

rstuk Mon 06-May-13 09:33:21

Thanks I think i'm just a bit panicky as this is our first and i'm worried i'll get it completely wrong
I like the idea of a vegetarian lifestyle at home and then whatever they choose (within reason) outside the home to give them the option later in life smile

exoticfruits Mon 06-May-13 09:34:48

If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet it will be fine. You just have to bear in mind that they may chose differently when older.

Jinsei Mon 06-May-13 09:34:51

It will be fine, as long as you ensure that your child gets plenty of protein and other nutrients (iron, b vitamins etc). Children need a slightly different balance of nutrients from adults so you might need to read up a bit. smile

We are pescatarian in our house and eat fish/prawns 2-3 times a week. However, DH was brought up completely vegetarian (including no egg), and didn't eat any meat until his twenties. It doesn't seem to have done him or his siblings any harm!

LalyRawr Mon 06-May-13 09:34:55

As long as they are getting protein from other sources then its fine. You don't need meat in a diet, you just need a balanced diet of all nutrient groups (Protein, carbs, iron etc)

WeAreEternal Mon 06-May-13 09:34:59

DS is 6, he has never eaten meat, although he does occasionally eat fish (usually in restaurants, not at home) as he likes it. He is healthy and although I received a lot of negativity and judgement I think DS is much better for his diet.

I only buy locally produced organic food, I try to keep our diets as 'raw' as possible so I make virtually everything from scratch.

DS likes his diet and has never expressed a desire to eat meat.

usualsuspect Mon 06-May-13 09:36:13

You can feed them a veggie diet, but I do think you need to be prepared for them to make their own choices as they get older.

Branleuse Mon 06-May-13 09:37:08

of course its not unreasonable. Its not a particularly controversial or difficult diet

Jinsei Mon 06-May-13 09:37:14

YY, we have always told dd that she can eat meat outside the home if she wants to. At the moment, she doesn't want to, but we realise that may change in the future.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 09:38:21

Of course children brought up veggie will go on to make their own choices. Just like children brought up eating meat. It's just their default will be not eating it so if they choose to it will be an active choice.

TeacupTempest Mon 06-May-13 09:38:38

I am raising DD as pescatarian. She can make her own mind up later. At the moment she is too young to decide and I would rather she ate as I do. Many cultures around the world do the same and are clearly healthy.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 09:40:40

I don't think it's crazy to worry about, as I said we never gave it a second thought, but since having DS some of the attitudes I've encountered (including on here) about not feeding your kids meat are hilariously hysterical.

Spice17 Mon 06-May-13 09:42:46

I've been veggie since I was 10, DH is not.

Just started weaning DD and have decided to give her chicken and fish as part of a balanced diet, mainly because I'm not great at getting enough protein myself and wouldn't want her to be nutritionally deficient in any way.

I'm also a bit lazy and being veggie can be hard work at times, particularly when eating out.

However, I did consider raising her veggie and don't think it's a problem if you do at all smile

Ablababla Mon 06-May-13 09:43:05

I have been veggie from birth as have my both my parents (outs self completely) never a question for me that my kids would be the same. My parents are in their 60s and I'd say mum is still very fit and well whilst dad about average for someone his age. Certainly I don't think their diet has had any long term effects.

hackmum Mon 06-May-13 09:43:32

I am bringing DD up vegetarian. Lots of people around the world have vegetarian diets (a lot of Hindus for example) so I don't think it's particularly controversial. I would warn you, however, that it's bloody hard bringing up a child to be vegetarian when they don't like vegetables. Sigh.

Salbertina Mon 06-May-13 09:44:10

Yes

HollyBerryBush Mon 06-May-13 09:46:37

You do realise, that as my Sikh friends tell me, if you are brought up within a vegetarian lifestyle, never having meat from birth, that any intake of meat will make them ill; their digestive system could not cope with even trying it.

>disclaimer< I have no idea if that is factual, or perhaps their experiences.

grobagsforever Mon 06-May-13 09:51:10

DD is two and is being brought up veggie. One thing I did do was bf her until she was 2.7 as I wanted to be sure she was 'covered' nutritionally speaking for the first couple of years. (Breastmilk being a good source of protien and easily absorbed other vits). Anyway she is very tall, bright, healthy, loads of energy. I have been veggie since age four and I am never ill.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 09:53:25

It's not necessarily true Holly - although I wouldn't start with a huge steak! I have a friend raised vegan who had recently started eating meat and fish with no problems.

Ablababla Mon 06-May-13 09:54:25

Holly. My birth veggie sister is now fully carnivorous. Think she had to build up to it slowly but certainly no probs now.

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