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...to be worried about DD1 (12years) becoming vegetarian?

(23 Posts)
EmilyHallow Sat 18-Jun-11 13:14:47

I've been pescatarian/vegetarian for years now, mainly for health reasons, but the rest of my family all eat meat. DD1 is 12 and she wants to become vegetarian too. I feel she should be old enough to make her own decision but can't help feeling worried about her not getting enough protein/ food in general. She's healthy, but very skinny and I'm worried about a possible eating disorder in the future (one of her friends is anorexic and there have been a couple of cases of bulimia in her year). Still I feel I can't really say no as I have been vegetarian for so long and am healthy. AIBU?

MmeLindor. Sat 18-Jun-11 13:20:05

Hmm, it is going to be very difficult for you to say no, as you will seem like a hypocrite. What are your/her reasonings - is it because of animal rights issues or for her health?

And since you have been pescatarian for years, you will know what to look for to make sure she is getting the protein that she needs.

We have our niece staying at the moment, she is 17yo and has been vegetarian for years. She is perfectly healthy and looks great.

PregolaLola Sat 18-Jun-11 13:23:15

it depends if she usually is a lover of meat i think i know i wanted so badly to be a vegetarian at 12 but loved a sausage or burger or roast or ham sandwich.............
so what i mean is do you think she will really do it, my mum and dad bought me quorn and everything and i still ended up caving.

worraliberty Sat 18-Jun-11 13:24:27

Well you're in a good position at least.

You'll know all about veggie food and you wont necessarily have to cook seperate meals if she'll eat what you will.

EmilyHallow Sat 18-Jun-11 13:25:12

I chose to become pescatarian because I hated the idea of eating something dead, but now it is because I don't really trust modern farming methods but mainly for health reasons. I think she's worried about animal welfare, which was never really an issue for me hmm.
That's true, I do know how to follow a balanced (-ish) diet without meat. I just don't want her losing any more weight as she is still growing up.

exexpat Sat 18-Jun-11 13:27:31

Depends on her reasons for wanting to be vegetarian. If it's disliking meat, being interested in animal welfare or the environment etc then I'd say 12 is perfectly old enough to make that kind of decision,specially if you are already cooking a veggie option every day. But if you think it is just an excuse to eat less or become pickier about food, then you'll need to keep an eye on her.

There is absolutely no reason why she can't get enough protein and so on in a vegetarian diet. I'm veggie, my two DCs have been vegetarian since birth (they do eat a little fish, though I don't), and they are both very tall (98th centile plus), muscularly built (they swim and rockclimb) and healthy at ages 12 and 8.

TheDogsAintTheProblem Sat 18-Jun-11 13:29:07

If it helps, I was a naturally rake-thin 12 year old. I became vegetarian at that age and then vegan as an adult and I've never in over 30 years had a problem of any kind as a result.

My daughters are older teens - both are lifelong vegetarians, both perfectly healthy and neither have any hang-ups about food. I'd go so far to say that their constantly dieting peers elicit nothing but astonishment from my girls.

exexpat Sat 18-Jun-11 13:29:09

Oh, and being vegetarian doesn't necessarily make you skinny. Unfortunately. Biscuits, chocolates, bread, crisps etc etc are all vegetarian....

theyoungvisiter Sat 18-Jun-11 13:29:41

well she's more likely to eat food that she's keen on rather than food you're forcing her to eat.

I'm not sure how forcing her to eat meat would help her with weight gain/loss. It's more likely to lead to food anxiety and control issues.

I'd say use it to your advantage - tell her of course you support her choice but educate her to understand that a healthy vegetarian diet means a balanced one, and not just pasta (or whatever).

I have plenty of friends bringing up veggie kids from birth (indeed there are whole countries full of them) so I think you are over-worrying.

TheDogsAintTheProblem Sat 18-Jun-11 13:32:47

"I chose to become pescatarian because I hated the idea of eating something dead"

What state are the fish in then, if not dead? grin

Sorry, but I'm chuckling at your wording there. grin

LordOfTheFlies Sat 18-Jun-11 13:55:59

I think it is much easier for a child to become vegetarian if one/both parents already are.
I'm 45 now and have been vegetarian since age 14. It was really difficult then - all food was from health food shops where we lived.Supermarkets now much better.
DH is also vegetarian but my DCs are not.Its their chose and I will respect either way.

As long as they don't expect me to cook kidneys.I had enough of that for the cat. Boaks at memory!

LordOfTheFlies Sat 18-Jun-11 13:57:07

Choice not chose. Gawd!

Pumpernickel10 Sat 18-Jun-11 14:04:53

My DD became a pescatarian when she was 9, DH was always vegetarian and she's adapted well and as a great healthy diet.

exoticfruits Sat 18-Jun-11 14:20:55

Children do as you do, rather than as you say. I would have thought it was easier if you were already doing it. Perhaps you could read up on it more and experiment more with your cooking.

EmilyHallow Sat 18-Jun-11 14:23:49

Great, thanks, seems to be okay then. I hope that she can follow my example in eating a healthy, meat-free diet and grow up healthily... in fact, I'm sure she can.
She'll be happy I'm respecting her choice as well smile

Zimm Sat 18-Jun-11 14:36:50

YABU. I have been veggie since aged 4 and my sister since aged 2. We are both extremely healthy. We had plenty of protein - I am very tall and not in the least bit skinny. I had a very healthy pregnancy as a veggie (no fish either) with good iron levels throughout and gave birth to 8 pound 12 DD. DD is veggie now at 10 months and since weaning she has moved from 75th centile to 91st so clearly not wasting away. meat/fish are not a necessary part of our diets as long as your are sensible. Being veggie has nothing to do with eating disorders IMO.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Sat 18-Jun-11 14:38:01

I would challenge her to find out how to have a healthy diet. Get her to find out what sorts of things she needs to be eating so she doesn't fall into bad habits straight away.

thegruffalosma Sat 18-Jun-11 14:40:49

I can see why you're wary as your dd is at a vulnerable age and eating disorders can start out as diet restriction such as becoming vegetarian or cutting out carbs or dairy with the primary intention of losing weight BUT your dd is getting to the age where she will have strong views on things and if she wants to become vegetarian I wouldn't try to stop her - I would just keep an eye on her. If she seems to be cutting more and more things from her diet, reducing portion size, often saying she has eaten elsewhere, excessive exercising or visibly losing weight then I would be concerned but being vegetarian, in itself, shouldn't be a worry and if she's sensible about it it can be very healthy.

Samvet Sat 18-Jun-11 14:41:22

I have been veggie since 9 years of age, now 33 no problem there. But I also became vegan at 16 as a symptom of anorexia. So I would support the vegetarianism but watch for any further restriction in diet closely.

petisa Sat 18-Jun-11 14:43:25

Don't worry about it, as long as she eats a good vegetarian diet, with plenty of protein and fresh fruit and veg. I'm bringing my 3 year old and 9 month old up to be veggie, and they seem very healthy indeed. The 3 year old loves beans and chickpeas, which helps. I also give them peanut butter, and you can get hazelnut and almond nut butters too, all of which are great for protein. Linseed oil is good for omega 3 (and 6 I think!) and can be put on salads.

You can make burger or nugget type things with lentils, chickpeas or beans and veg like carrot or sweet potato, roll them in breadcrumbs and fry. Freeze well too. To up the fat content I always drizzle salads in olive oil, cooked veg in butter, and give them loads of avocado, peanut butter, cheese, whole milk and voghurt... and at my girls' age I lower the high fibre element of the diet by giving them plenty of white rice, bread and pasta.

My girls love their food and I enjoy cooking for them and so far would say the veggie diet has been a success. They are slim (but not skinny) and healthy looking and rarely get ill. The only downside is chopping all the bloody vegetables grin

petisa Sat 18-Jun-11 14:47:38

Quorn stuff is also good for lazy days - quorn nuggets and chicken-type fillets are really nice and easy to bung in the oven. I know feeding a 12 year old might be a bit different from my pre-schooler and baby, but I hope these ideas help.

MistressFrankly Sat 18-Jun-11 14:53:50

She will be fine i am sure. Ive been a veggie since i was 9 because meat just seemed odd to me. I wish being a veggie made you skinny but it doesnt - i am well rounded proof grin

If she is going to have food issues they will arise whether she eats meat or not. Making an issue over whether she becomes vegetarian is more likely to cause problems.

Petisa ditto on the veg chopping - YAWN. Had a really lazy week and brought frozen chopped peppers and onions grin cant wait till DD can wield a chopping knife responsibly. Or her father for that matter!

EmilyHallow Sat 18-Jun-11 16:01:15

Thanks everybody smile she is responsible and mature (for her age anyways) so I'm hopehopehoping she won't get sucked into the horrible eating disorder cycle... it ruled my life at sixteen and there's no way I would let her go through that, that's why I'm a little over-worried I guess...

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