Giving young children Quorn instead of meat...

(56 Posts)
MamaBear17 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:17:39

Background to avoid drip feeding: I have been a veggie for 18 years, finally being 'allowed' by my mother to give up meat at the age of 12. From the day I found out where meat came from I was repulsed by it and never wanted to eat it, however, my mum thought that giving up meat would make me ill so used to do insane things like puree meat up and mix it into mashed potato without telling me. My DH is a carnivoire. He loves meat and all meat related products. We both respect each others views and it has never been an issue between us. When I got pregnant with DD we agreed that DD would eat meat, however, I would not hide my reasons for not eating meat from her and if she asked to become a veggie too, regardless of her age, she could.

DD is now 22 months and eats a balanced, varied diet. However, she has started to show an interest in eating 'mummy's meat' from my plate and seems to enjoy Quorn as much as she does meat. The other day I was cooking for just me and her so did a Quorn based meal and hubby got upset. He said that she is too young to choose yet and I completely agree, however, I can't see the harm in her eating both. I have no plans to stop cooking meat for her. On the occasion in question it was just easier to cook one meal. DH thinks that I am denying her nutrients by giving her Quorn instead of proper meat and is concerned about the Soya content because he read somewhere that Soya can make girls infertile. I understand his worries but as a healthy veggie I think he is being a bit precious. However, I am prepared to accept IABU if the majority swings that way. Thoughts and opinions please?

peeriebear Tue 18-Jun-13 10:19:47

Quorn isn't made from soya, it's made from fungus.

peeriebear Tue 18-Jun-13 10:20:40

And going out of your way to add meat to an otherwise perfectly acceptable meal just for a toddler would be ridiculous! The meal you made was fine!

Quorn doesn't contain soya it is made from mushrooms - mycoprotein.

I don't eat meat (but do eat fish) and DH does eat meat. My children eat a mixture of veggie, fish and meat based meals. You don't need meat everyday to be healthy.

A varied diet including meat dies not have to mean eating meat at every meal. It's perfectly fine to allow a child to have vegetarian food. Eating quirk every day wouldn't be good but as part of a balanced diet it's fine!! U wouldn't eat quirk everyday anymore than you would eat meat every day. smile you are denying her nothing you are expanding her options to try new things.

Quirk? Quorn

MamaBear17 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:23:08

Sorry, that was unclear - some of the other meat replacement products that I eat and that DD has showed an interest in trying are soya based things too.

jessjessjess Tue 18-Jun-13 10:24:22

Eating meat is a choice, not the default position.

I personally have more issue with people giving kids meat when they are too young to consent to eating dead animals. So it's all opinion and there is no 'right' thing to do.

If you're worried just make sure you get some good dietary advice.

Perhaps remind your husband that soya is in alot of neat products too? He can't veto vege soya alternatives then agree to sausages crisps chocolate, sausages, biscuits any kind of reformed meat products, stock cubes, bread etc

curryeater Tue 18-Jun-13 10:26:56

Was your husband worried that she was not eating meat at that meal, or that she was eating quorn?
I think they are different, the first is a bit silly (for a single meal) and the second is more reasonable.
Quorn is manufactured and we don't know enough about it to be feeding it to small children imo.
I would also suggest that if you need manufactured foods in your diet then you actually really need the real stuff. If you were a healthy beans-nuts-pulses vegan, I would say, ok, that works for you. If you feel a need to eat fake meat I would say not eating meat does not work for you. That bit is none of my business of course.

Can you just do something based on eggs for you both next time?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 18-Jun-13 10:30:50

I wouldn't give a child that young soya.

Veggie meals are absolutely fine, you don't need meat every meal or even every day, but I don't see the point of meat substitutes, whether it is Quorn or something soya based.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 18-Jun-13 10:30:53

Curry, a lot of vegetarians don't think of quorn as fake meat. It's just something to have in addition to whatever else you are eating. It doesn't taste like meat imo and for some products it's actually nicer.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 18-Jun-13 10:32:20

Wheresmycaffine - yes that would be sensible wouldn't it? To turn the child's diet into a battleground hmm

fedupofnamechanging Tue 18-Jun-13 10:35:23

To be fair, if he's objecting to soya, it's not unreasonable to point out that soya exists in foods other that vegetarian ones. Everyone should know what they are eating.

I'm also not sure that it is reasonable to ask a vegetarian to make meat based dinners, that they cannot eat, when it creates additional work and maybe if the dh feels so strongly about it, he might like to do the cooking for dc.

MamaBear17 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:35:42

He objects to the Quorn, not the meat free aspect of the meal. I eat Quorn because I like it, not at every meal, but a few times a week. I eat nuts and pulses too (not a big bean eater though). I accept his viewpoint, I just think that it cant hurt. The meal in question was Quorn bolognaise. Homemade sauce, chopped mushrooms and veggies, with quorn mince and pasta.

The point is he's clearly ignorant of the matter. He feels that not having meat is denying his dd nutrients which vegetarian meals are all part of a varied diet. Most people don't serve meat every day. He sounds like he's using health reasons as a reason not to eat the vege food but if he was that worried then he wouldn't allow her to eat lots if other things either. But sausages will be ok cos their meat hmm but they still contain the stuff he claims he doesn't want his dd eating.

VulvaVoom Tue 18-Jun-13 10:38:49

I'm a veggie and have been since I was 10. I would not give DD Quorn (when she can have it) myself as I agree with some other posters that most veggie meals are fine without it.

The other reason I wouldn't is that though I still eat Quorn I find it irritates my stomach at times (I have IBS) and a few other veggie people I know have said the same.

In fact my old boss asked me if it caused me problems as it did him and I suddenly realised it definitely made my symptoms worse at times.

Oh and that Meal sounds fine. If it was every meal then no but you would surely agree that the same meal meat or vege everyday wouldn't be good either. It's balance.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 18-Jun-13 10:43:06

Most soya is grown for animal feed and used as a filler in processed meat products. If he is serious about her not eating soya he will be reading every label with care.

Morloth Tue 18-Jun-13 10:44:01

Well Quorn is pretty disgusting IMO. However if she likes it then some probably won't do her much harm.

We eat veggie many nights but Quorn (or any of that manufactured meat replacement stuff) is as out of the question as heavily processed meat (i.e. hot dogs etc).

I can understand him objecting to her eating Quorn a lot more than I could him objecting to her eating veggie.

jacks365 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:44:27

I'm a meat eater but dd3 is a vegetarian so I frequently make things like chili con carne with quorn as it saves making 2 meals and yes I then also feed it to dd4 (19 months). I also frequently do things like omlettes which contain no meat. Judging by the way dd4 is currently running around its not doing her any harm, we rarely eat meat at lunchtime and probably only about 3/4 dinners a week so I can't understand your dh complaint about not giving her meat that one time.

GiveMumABreak Tue 18-Jun-13 10:45:49

As long as DD is eating a varied diet a Quorn meal every now and again is fine.

My advice to you is to both is to relax a little - a relaxed and enthusiastic approach to food will help your DD more than strictly controlling her every mouthful.

I am veggie, my family eat meat, but sometimes a bit of quorn too (my 10 year old DD is starting to show an interest in becoming a veggie too).

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Tue 18-Jun-13 10:45:55

I think it's fine for her to have what you have

If he really has an issue with it then presumably he can cook whatever he wants to for her

lottiegarbanzo Tue 18-Jun-13 10:46:05

I'd be interested to know what his objection is to quorn. Does he think it is acceptable for your dd to eat mushrooms and eggs?

curryeater Tue 18-Jun-13 10:46:45

Karma, I am not talking about how the vegetarians see the quorn, I am talking about what it is, which is manufactured protein

I would say that, while you might not agree, there are reasonable grounds for thinking quorn is dodgy and you don't have to include it in vegetarian meals, so if it upsets the op's dh it should be left out of the dc's food

TheFallenNinja Tue 18-Jun-13 10:47:47

Quorns fine, don't see a problem with that. Maybe your child will grow up veggie, maybe not, depends on their taste/view I suppose.

I'm a confirmed carnivore but love Quorn. I don't regard it as a meat replacement though, just another type of food.

MrsOakenshield Tue 18-Jun-13 10:48:33

you (or rather your DH) do know that a vegetarian who eats dairy and eggs gets more than enough protein, it is not necessary to supplement this with quorn or any other kind of TVP. And that excess protein that isn't burnt off by excercise will turn to fat.

also, what's this about the baby being too young to make a choice? A choice has already been made, to give her meat. I don't understand why people think that a vegetarian child has had parental choice foisted upon them, but a meat-eating child hasn't. We attach our choices to our children all the time, but this really seems to be the one that upsets people.

DH is veggie. I am not. I made the decision to bring up DD as veggie, for a number of reasons - I'm not about to start cooking more than one meal, which I would have to if she turned out to be a total carnivore; cost; healthier. When she is old enough to understand the arguments on either side, she can then have meat/fish outside the home or for a sandwich or similar - but that main meals in our house are veggie.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 18-Jun-13 10:48:59

There is no soya in decent sausages, only if you buy cheap crap ones.

Morloth Tue 18-Jun-13 10:51:32

Quorn is IMO, the franken nugget of the vegetarian world.

The veggies I know treat it the same way I do cheap 'chicken' nuggets.

No biggy to have sometimes but you wouldn't want to make a habit of it.

MamaBear17 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:58:38

I think he is just overly anxious. He sees Quorn as a replacement for meat. I, however, do not. I eat it because I like the taste, not because I want to eat something meat tasting. He is worried that she will end up preferring Quorn and will then give up meat and that will make her ill. His concerns are based on the fact that I was anaemic as a child (due to my diet, because my mum refused to 'let' me be a veggie so I just wouldnt eat anything that contained meat and my family ate meat at every meal) and at the end of my pregnancy. However, my meat eating SIL was anaemic all of the way through her pregnancy too, so I am pretty certain that had nothing at all to do with my diet. She is our PFB, he is a worrier. He is lovely though and will accept a reasoned argument, which is why I asked on here. Thank you for all of your replies.

ChunkyPickle Tue 18-Jun-13 10:59:37

DP and I are both omnivores, but we still eat Quorn sometimes, because it tastes nice (the mini eggs I think are tastier than pork-based ones for instance) - just as we eat a variety of meat and fish, and it's not unusual to have a dinner (shock horror) that doesn't contain meat at all.. is that not normal?

Everyone's already said that Quorn is mushroom, not soya..

Your DP is reading into things that aren't there - you're not forcefully converting, you're just sharing - could as we do, and rather than having Mummy's meat and Daddy's meat just have meals - some of which are veggie, some aren't, and you just don't eat the meat bit of a non-veggie meal? Or does DP not want to eat veggie at all?

MamaBear17 Tue 18-Jun-13 11:03:39

He does eat veggie, but only if I do a pasta based dish. He eats a lot of white meat and chicken in his evening meals. I suppose he would argue that it balances out because he has a meat free breakfast and lunch. He doesnt like DD eating from his plate (however, that is a different thread entirely...) but I encourage it. I am a 'pile it all in the middle and share' kind of eater.

MamaBear17 Tue 18-Jun-13 11:04:05

white meat and fish^

Pozzled Tue 18-Jun-13 11:04:21

I'm a vegetarian, DH eats meat. Like you, we agreed the DDs would eat meat. However, I use quorn a fair amount and certainly wouldn't bother making 2 meals. If I do something like Bolognese, we all eat quorn- DH included. My DDs are 2 and 4 and have been eating small amounts of quorn since they were weaned.

SixPackWellies Tue 18-Jun-13 11:06:53

If he is concerned about the health part, then there are some terrific books about building up infants, toddlers and children as vegetarians and vegans which he and you both could read. I know you are vegetarian not vegan, but as an example I can highly recommend these two books;

SixPackWellies Tue 18-Jun-13 11:07:18

that was supposed to be 'bringing up' not building up.

Quorn shouldn't be given to children under three.

I have been vegan, i now eat fish, but no other animal product.

There are better other meat substitutes available, i used to use Asda's own.

I started to eat fish after being ill and seeing a Dietian, she was very against using Quorn regulary, so i researched it.

I don't see the need to use anything instead of meat, that is like saying a meal isn't a meal without meat. I would rather leave my Mushrooms etc chunky, if i felt i needed substance.

I would domore research about weaning a child on a non meat diet and go with that, rather than fill her up with chemical meat substitutes. As said,most vegetarians/vegans i know look at those products like cheap chicken nuggets.

I had a very positive response from my main consultant, who was Hindu and vegan. In his family (some Hindu's are not vegan) all of the children were raised on non meat diets and people recoved from illness etc, without having to use animal deprived food.

WilsonFrickett Tue 18-Jun-13 11:16:19

I really don't care about the ins and outs of it. But making a meal for you and then a separate meal for a toddler is bonkers, imo. If DH would be there and you'd be making two meals (or two variants thereof) then fine, but cooking for you then something different for her is just nuts.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 18-Jun-13 11:26:10

As far as I am aware the only issue with quorn is that it can fill a wee one up but with not a lot of nutritional value.

There is no real issue with soya. The vast majority of the "information" on how soya is bad is to be found on woo blogs rather than scientific journals.

Look at all the dairy intolerant babies that have to have soy formula...

50shadesofvomit Tue 18-Jun-13 11:27:34

Quorn used to come with a warning that it wasn't suitable for under 2s or under 3s. Not looked recently but I think it was because of too much fibre and too little fat?

We are carnivores but occasionally eat Quorn Bolognese rather than regular. First time I did it as an experiment so see how the kids would like it and they did so we still make it sometimes now.
I think the important thing is to get your dd to enjoy food and it's probably a lot easier to do that if all 3 of you eat veggie sometimes.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 18-Jun-13 11:33:02

Well, knowledge is power. Sounds like he needs to read about nutrition, stop attaching unreasoned significance to coincidence, then he can stop worrying!

maninawomansworld Wed 19-Jun-13 12:42:35

Quorn and other meat substitutes can be dubious especially for small children.
I get that many people want to be vegetarian, some do it on health grounds, some do it because they disagree with eating animals but I really don't see the logic of a highly processed substitute full of additives like quorn. Either give her meat or don't but faux meat is just odd and I'm not convinced of it's healthiness.

By all means if she decides that she doesn't want to eat meat then let her make that decision when she's older or cook her a veg based meal without the need for substitutes but heavily processed meat substitutes aren't great food.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 19-Jun-13 13:08:30

he clearly has no underrstanding of the nutritional needs of a young child, they need protein. this can come from milk, eggs, beans, wholegrain, nuts, seeds... etc. as long as you give her a mix of the nine amino acids she needs it should be ok.

bugsybill Wed 19-Jun-13 13:33:39

I'm a veggie and tried Quorn a few years ago, was sick after eating it- headaches, body aches, vomiting, bloat, diarrhoea. Once i linked the sickness to the Quorn and then did some googling I discovered that some people are intolerant/allergic to it. Can't remember the stats but it would be worth looking into this before feeding it to your child.

bugsybill Wed 19-Jun-13 13:35:21

Also from what I recall it is some type of fungi, not mushrooms or soya.

burberryqueen Wed 19-Jun-13 13:38:21

yes Quorn is fungus grown in a lab - weird shit IMO - u could try some other veggie dishes like with lentils or beans etc?

princesssmartypantss Wed 19-Jun-13 13:44:07

i am not a vegetarian, (sorry) but i cook a lovely lasagne with quorn green lentils and mushrooms because it tastes lovely and frequently give my ds (2yrs) macaroni cheese for his tea.

Sarah1611 Wed 19-Jun-13 13:44:37

One of the little ones I nanny for used to go to a nursery which served only meat free meals (they serve meat now) and quorn was often on the menu. He couldn't eat it as it has cows milk in which he can't have.

TheCatIsUpTheDuff Wed 19-Jun-13 13:49:04

Thanks for alerting me to this - I'd intended to wean DD onto the same foods we eat so will check out if there's any evidence that Quorn or soya is risky. The NHS website doesn't mention it being a problem.

I agree with Mrs Oakenshield's stance - I'm veggie, DH eats fish occasionally but meals at home are veggie and we're not going to start buying meat, but when DD is old enough to understand, she can eat meat outside the home. PILs are predominantly veggie, so it's only really my parents who would have it around her when she's really little.

MrsOakenshield Wed 19-Jun-13 13:50:07

hmm, I wonder if that's the same nursery DD goes to - did serve fish but has now (due to uninformed parental pressure, I have no doubt) started serving meat. Just red meat, oddly, from an organic farm or summat. Feel annoyed that money has been taken from other things to pay for this (and annoyed that DD is now referred to as being on a 'special diet').

I have to say I never knew that Quorn wasn't recommended for little ones, we never have it cos DH hates it and I didn't like the idea of her having meat substitute, just seemed a bit odd!

nhs says small amounts of quorn are ok from around 9 months

TheCatIsUpTheDuff Wed 19-Jun-13 13:56:35

Vegetarian Society say it's fine from 9 months, but not to give it too often because it's low in calories and fat - the reasons many adults like it!

stopgap Wed 19-Jun-13 14:00:29

Isn't Quorn highly processed? I'm a meat eater, but wouldn't give my toddler DS hot dogs or Spam. When we do eat vegetarian (50% of the time) I use cheese or pinto/kidney beans as the protein.

theodorakisses Wed 19-Jun-13 14:01:19

I have been making chilli with Quorn mince undetected by anyone else for years. We also eat sweets and crisps though without any apparent ill effect so I think it is more about how you feel, what you like and how strict you are about diet. Living in the ME, most of their peers are Filipino and have ready made noodles and a bowl of sugar in their lunchbox so I guess we are at least ahead of them. I think it is up to parents what they feed their children and there are extremes on both sides.

megsmouse Wed 19-Jun-13 14:07:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exexpat Wed 19-Jun-13 14:11:32

There is certainly no problem nutritionally with bringing children up vegetarian, and I don't think a bit of quorn or some soya-based sausages will hurt her. Personally I prefer not to use too many highly-processed meat-substitutes like that, but as part of a varied diet they are fine. My DCs have been brought up pescetarian from birth - mainly vegetarian, as I am, but with a little fish - and our vegetarian meals are mostly based around vegetables plus tofu, beans, lentils, eggs or cheese rather than imitation meat.

I get the impression your DH doesn't know much about nutrition, and is possibly worried that you are trying to convert your DD to vegetarianism by stealth. Can you look up some reliable information to show him that your DD does not need to eat meat at every meal to grow up healthy?

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