Vegan teen wwyd

(31 Posts)
Claybury Sun 03-Jan-16 09:36:55

18DS decided out of the blue to follow vegan diet. He has no cooking skills and no desire to learn or engage with me in the kitchen. What should I do
1) let him eat what he wants out of the normal foods we have as a family ( which would not be a balanced vegan diet )
2) go out of my way to cook separately for him
It is a nuisance as he won't eat family meals but if he was willing to meal plan and cook for himself I wouldn't mind. Problem is he appears in the kitchen at 6pm hungry saying 'what can I eat ?' He cannot comprehend that meaks especially vegan food take more than 5 minutes planning.
In his favour I will add he will eat almost anything - he's not remotely fussy.

tabulahrasa Sun 03-Jan-16 09:39:57

Let him get on with it, he's 18 and when he appears at 6 looking for food tell him - I don't know, what are you making?

Haggisfish Sun 03-Jan-16 09:40:17

Tricky. What does he plan on doing when he leaves home?! I would be pretty much forcing him to cook for himself. However, you could incorporate it relatively easily into family meals-using quorn instead of mince etc.

Claybury Sun 03-Jan-16 09:58:15

Tabu- that's sort of what I have been doing, although I do cook a couple of veg dishes a week which we all eat and he can reheat the following day for himself. He's looking rather thin though ...i was hoping if I was relaxed about the idea he would give up. But it has been 4 months now.
Rest of family do not want to eat quorn!

Haggisfish Sun 03-Jan-16 10:07:19

Will they honestly know though?! I've used it before and only dh could really tell the difference in bolognaise etc.

Fitzers Sun 03-Jan-16 10:11:54

He's 18, let him figure it out and cook for himself. I'd cook a meal that he would eat, if I was also cooking it for the rest of the family, but aside from that he should sort himself out. I'm not anti-vegan, although it wouldn't be my choice, but, given his age, he should be expected to take responsibility for his dietary choices himself.

DoreenLethal Sun 03-Jan-16 10:12:45

So you haven't bothered teaching your 18 year old son to cook? Why the hell not?

Quorn is not vegan, by the way.

Get him a vegan cook book and just teach him some basics now so that he can cook himself.

12purpleapples Sun 03-Jan-16 10:16:17

Standard quorn isnt vegan, though they do have some vegan products.

BertrandRussell Sun 03-Jan-16 10:21:32

He's 18 and can't cook for himself?

Any reason why not?

JennaRoss Sun 03-Jan-16 10:28:29

If he's old enough to decide that he wants to be vegan then he's old enough to cook for himself.

I agree buy him a vegan cookbook, have a few staples in for him to cobble together a quick meal and let him get on with it.

drivinmecrazy Sun 03-Jan-16 10:39:21

My 15yo vegetarian DD1 announced she wanted to become vegan last year. I told her to thoroughly research what that entailed and she soon realised what a commitment it would be to maintain a healthy balanced diet. Soon readjusted her thinking!

GladysTheGolem Sun 03-Jan-16 10:41:10

3. Let him get on with it and prepare his own food.

Even if it's just chips and beans.

Claybury Sun 03-Jan-16 11:41:29

Doreen- as I said he is unwilling to engage with me ( he barely speaks at home ) and although I would be delighted to teach him to cook he is totally unwilling to learn so I can't.

MrsGradyOldLady Sun 03-Jan-16 11:51:29

My 15 year old DS is the same. You can't force them to learn how to cook can you? My DS says he doesn't need me to teach him to cook as he's doing gcse food tech. So I guess when he goes to uni and he's feeling a bit peckish he'll just knock up a gingerbread house...

My DS can make toasted sandwiches and reheat leftovers and that's about it. If I didn't cook he'd live off packet food and sandwiches. I try every single week to get him to help more at mealtimes but he just mooches about for about 10 minutes then wanders off.

Personally, I wouldn't cater for a vegan diet. I don't know enough about it to make sure sure I was providing a balanced diet but then I'd worry he'd starve. He should be doing all the research himself but not sure how you can force him?

roundandroundthehouses Sun 03-Jan-16 12:03:11

My logical head says he's an adult, he won't starve. I'd suggest that you throw up your hands and retire from cooking for him, as you shortly would have been doing anyway. He'll soon either step up or change tack when he realises what paltry pickings he's on. He's just made the job of cooking for him massively complicated but thinks that it's just your job to deal with it. He refuses to engage with any notion of handling it himself. That's unreasonable behaviour that I'm sure you wouldn't take from any other adult.

I do know how complicated it can be in our heads and hearts, though. I'm currently trying to stave off veganism - a diet that I know can be followed healthily by a capable and engaged person - in a vegetarian 17 yr old with ASD, who has eating issues, no interest in food and whose weight, if I take my eye the ball, quickly drops below six stone. Any time and energy that might have gone into teaching her to cook over the years have instead gone into getting her to eat enough. (And yes, we did hope that teaching her to cook would stimulate an interest in food. It didn't.)

Sneeziemcweezie Sun 03-Jan-16 12:05:28

I became vegetarian at 13 and learned to cook for myself as part of the process. While my parents were really supportive they were a bit bewildered by it all, I am am really good cook as a consequence and so glad I was allowed to get on with it. If my DD announced she was following a particular diet I'd expect her to find out about it and work with me on meal planning etc as that is the only way for her to be responsible for her health.
As previous posters have suggested buy him a recipe book. I'd also make sure there are various staples in the house that he can use when feeling hungry at 6pm. Vegan quorn is now available in asda ('chicken' chunks and spicy burgers) and may well roll out to more supermarkets, there are loads of vegan products in Holland and Barrett too. It is currently 'Veganuary' and so there are loads of resources on line that give menu suggestions and list products that are vegan. In fact there are huge numbers of products that are vegan in supermarkets, its just a case of checking the label. If you are worried he isn't getting a balanced diet you can buy vitamins to supplement his diet - but I'd definitely put more responsibility on him to engage with his diet, plan it a bit better and take responsibility for what he eats - he'll get the long term benefits.

roundandroundthehouses Sun 03-Jan-16 12:08:11

(But yes, I'm sure there are people out there wondering why the hell I've never taught my 17 yr old to cook!)

pinkyredrose Sun 03-Jan-16 12:27:28

He 'barely speaks' to you? shock I think you have bigger issues to worry about than him being vegan!

roundandroundthehouses Sun 03-Jan-16 12:38:25

I'm slightly wondering if there are control issues going on. If he is really wants to be a vegan, then why isn't he informing himself on how to achieve this? Especially as he (presumably) will soon be leaving home. He refuses to even speak to you (!) never mind agreeing to your kind offer to learn about healthy veganism alongside him, and share your practical cooking skills with him. But still expects vegan food to be provided. What does he say when you ask him what he'll eat when he leaves home?

It looks almost like a wilful attempt to make things as awkward and difficult for you as possible. But maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree. It's also possible that (lacking good skills in cooking and nutrition) he simply doesn't understand that being a healthy vegan takes effort, and is used to just having his food available. If you think that's more likely, then my advice would be to make sure there are stocks of vegan food in the cupboard and then leave him to provide for himself, which is mostly what you do anyway. Advise him about vitamin supplements, as he's likely to need them when he leaves home. You may well get the advice thrown back in your face, but he may remember it when he gets run down at uni.

BertrandRussell Sun 03-Jan-16 12:53:37

"My 15 year old DS is the same. You can't force them to learn how to cook can you? "

Well, actually, yes you can!

Taking a share in the cooking and housekeeping should be non negociable.

Claybury Sun 03-Jan-16 12:57:25

Round - I'm pretty sure it is the latter - in that he has no true idea of the effort it takes to feed a person/ family from scratch let alone someone with a particular diet.
He has researched it extensively himself online ( too extensively probably ) and being an impressionable young person he buys all the ecological reasons for Vegansim. However the issue is translation from theory into practicality.

Pinky - yes plenty of big issues however he needs to be nourished which is quite important too !
He's also not interested in food, so maybe that is why he has no interest in food preparation. He will happily eat a bowl of cold lentils and a few bananas for dinner. As I said, not fussy !!

roundandroundthehouses Sun 03-Jan-16 13:07:31

Ah, well, that's a relief. In which case I'd suggest a gradual but graceful retirement from cooking for him, apart from family occasions. Also, if he's planning to go away to uni, he's very likely to meet other vegans there, and student towns often have readily available vegan options in cafes, etc. He will also be in the vicinity of other students cooking (with varying degrees of ability and enthusiasm). It's more likely that the practical side of things will come from there than from you, especially as your relationship/communication currently sounds like it's not the best.

There are loads of student-friendly recipes and cooking videos online (Sorted Food, etc.), so standing on a chair next to Mummy isn't the only way of learning to cook these days. I also wasn't taught to cook whilst at home, but gradually learnt after I moved out. I now manage to produce a family meal with veggie option every night, so it didn't do me any harm grin.

whois Sun 03-Jan-16 15:55:19

If he's not fussy, would he engage enough to learn to cook something super easy with you? Like a huge vat of vegan stew with plenty of pulses in? Or a big batch or roasted veg and chickpeas? Something like that he could cook once and eat for the next 3 days.

lljkk Sun 03-Jan-16 16:21:11

bowl of cold lentils and a few bananas for dinner

Does that mean he can actually cook lentils?
I'm fairly sure that is actually a balanced meal. Not something to get me excited either, of course. Hot lentils with salsa on the other hand... I'd cook as usual & let him pick & choose from the fare on offer. Come to think of it, most of our meals are easily veg or vegan simply by leaving out the pastry/meat. so maybe easy for me to say...

Blu Sun 03-Jan-16 16:50:41

Get a few frozen items, the Tesco Mexican Beanburgers are nice , some frozen vegan sausages, felafel.

Tub of hoummous, keep some pita bread in the freezer.

Have an avocado available , the big bags of nuts they do in Lidl,

If you make curry make a vegan spinach and chick pea curry, and freeze some individual portions.

Is he OK? With the non-engagement , and the new diet, etc?

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