To not let dd become a vegetarian(89 Posts)
She is 16 and adamant that she wants to stop eating meat. I do not think this is a good idea as she doesn't eat much veg but she says she will now. I don't know what to do, I would rather for her to wait until she is 18 and fully developed.
She does not eat cheese or drink much milk. She did say she would continue eating fish which she does love. I am concerned she wouldn't be getting enough protein. She isn't active, but she is tiny, only 5'2 and just over 6 stone.
What else can she eat? And do I have a say in it?
At 16 she does surely get a say in what she eats. If she will compromise on pescetarian and learn to do some meals of her own that are healthy, would that work?
She is old enough to make up her own mind and the best you can do is support her by perhaps doing some research with her about what she can eat. For example, chick peas are a great source of protein and can go in curries or come in the form of hummous. Does she like cooking? Could you get her a vegetarian cookbook?
I became vegetarian when I was 12. I became vegan a few years ago. DS (11) has always been vegetarian. It's so much easier these days, so much choice of veggie food easily available.
I thought I was gonna click on to see your DD was about 4 or 5. At 16 she's old enough to make her own decisions, it's or your place to 'let' her. However if I were you I'd be telling her to make her own meals if she wants to be a vegetarian
At 16 I don't think you have a say. Personally I would do some research and support her. It sounds like you might be better looking up vegan recipes if she doesn't eat cheese or milk. There are plenty of people who have very healthy vegan/vegetarian diets.
It may end up being short lived or long lived but either way it's not your choice. At 16 she's capable of cooking for herself anyway so I can't see how you could control it regardless. You can't force feed her.
I don't really think you can stop her can you? She's old enough to be able to have a say in what she eats. And she's certainly old enough to be cooking for herself.
Maybe give her some advice on the importance of upping fruits and veggies and pulses etc and let her get on with it, if she gets scurvy you'll be able to step in again....?
I honestly don't think you can dictate at 16. My dd 14 has been vegetarian for about 8 months and I totally support her. I initially went along with it thinking it wouldn't last long, as that's what had happened with older dd, but she's totally committed and I'm really proud of her. She does eat a lot of vegetables and I make sure she gets enough protein by giving her eggs, lentils, beans and Quorn. I also give her a daily multivitamin with iron.
Have you asked her why she wants to become a vegetarian?
You kind of do get a say in it, if it means cooking a different meal for her most days.
However, if she's willing to cook for herself, then no you don't really.
You should be supporting her, she is old enough to decide or to try this lifestyle out.
She does sound quite thin though, buy her some books on it all and help her to make healthy choices and learn to cook too. Maybe she can cook for the family once a week? And help with the shopping so she can get the stuff she likes too.
Oh and I should add, I am definitely not tiny! DS is actually a very fussy eater and he is not exactly tiny either. Your DD does sound underweight though...is it a genetic thing? Does she not eat very much in general? That is a separate issue. Linking underweight/undernourished with vegetarianism is a little outdated imo.
It doesn't make a difference that she doesn't eat much veg. That's just as unhealthy for a meat eater as it is for a vegetarian. Meat doesn't substitute vegetables or vice versus.
It's extremely easy to eat enough protein. We don't need huge amounts.
I became veggie aged 15. Mum was deeply unimpressed, it meant she had to change her pastry recipe and everything we had a few rows about it - that did nothing to change my decision but did piss me right off.
I was in an animal rights group, I wore canvas shoes and I lived on chips and cheese sarnies and beanfeasts. I survived and have been vegetarian for 27 years so far. Mum got over herself and learned to make pastry without lard. There was no Quorn and people still pictured Neil the hippy living on lentils when they thought of vegetarians in those days but it was still a valid choice I had the right to make. My parents did not approve but they did respect my decision - so should you - if there are valid health concerns then that is a separate issue.
You can't really stop her, if she's serious her nutrition will be effected because she simply won't eat the meat parts of any food you serve. If she's saying that she will start to eat more veg it may be a good chance for her to think about her nutrition and learn some cooking. A few vegan recipes and reading about a balanced vegan diet would be good if she doesn't like dairy much anyway. Not to follow strictly but to get some inspiration.
Pulses and lentills are good for protein and other nutrients, they can be used in pastas, stews, curries, chillies, shepherds pie. It would be good to have a couple of dishes that become favourites down, along with fish and other veggie food her diet shouldn't be too bad. Maybe the whole family can eat them?
When I turned veggie at 14 I only ate 3 vegetables, none of them green.
My mum was similarly mystified about what I would eat. But - I forced myself to like vegetables and within a matter of months there wasn't a vegetable I wouldn't eat - (well, with the exception of sprouts, they took another decade).
It was probably the single best thing I could have done for my health. The variety in my diet expanded enormously.
Had this earlier last year with teen DD,we fully supported her & tried to include veggie alternatives into our usual meal plan(always includes meat/fish or smaller quantities of)tried to show her how to batch cook for the basics etc, and made alot of basics for her.But no it turned out to be a fad & we discovered that despite her beliefs that she was eating meat or meat products elsewhere & gradually started helping herself to meat at home, left with a freezer of home made veggie meals & Quorn mince!We are open to others' food choices but at this age unless the teen is willing to properly embrace it and start learning & actively cooking balanced meals for themselves then it's not fair on others.I have & have always had a one meal(cooked from scratch) policy & I won't shift on that!
Start by getting one thing straight. Vegetarians do NOT eat fish. If she eats fish she will be a Pescatarian. Not vegetarian.
Secondly, she's 16. No, you can't decide what she does and does not eat. You can talk to her, make suggestions, leave her to cook her own meals or whatever, but you can't stop her.l
You need to do some research instead of mindlessly 'worrying about protein'. Vegetarian & vegan diets are perfectly good and perfectly health for adults & children, including teenagers.
Let her know you will offer any help and advice but any extra cost or work in thinking about, shopping for and cooking meals is totally down to her.
To put it bluntly this will very quickly determine how serious she really is about it. I would not give 'permission' or worry about nutritional issues until much later if and only if they appear to be an real issue.
Why don't you have a trial week and see how it goes? Or start with meat free Monday's and gradually increase the number of veggie days in a week once she has shown you how she is going to expand her diet?
Fish is as high in protein as meat. Other good sources are eggs, quorn, lentils, beans, tofu. Plus the milk and cheese she's not so keen on of course. You might want to think about experimenting with different types of cheese, it might just be cheddar she's not keen on...
Btw, as she is so tiny and already excludes certain food groups, are you absolutely certain that she isn't orthorexic / on a route to an eating disorder?
Been veggie since I was 16. Old enough to make her own decision but NOT to inconvenience you too much. I was already cooking my own meals and making own packed lunch anyway.
One thing mum insisted on was annual check up on iron levels which was no big deal. (I had very heavy periods so made sense and was necessary for this reason anyway).
Agree the lack of vegetable eating is bad for meat eaters too.
Point of order though as she'd be eating fish she'd be pescatarian not veggie
That's what I wondered queenmortificado
As for "letting her". I think she knows her own mind. Why not Jane a conversation as to why? Is she concerned about ethics etc, it's possibly something you can look into together.
I would insist that she has a think of meal plans and how she is going to cook things
She'll be a pescetarian not a vegetarian. I've been a vegetarian since I was 10 and it's easy enough to get all the right nutrients (protein, iron, vitamin B12 etc) so long as you educate yourself and choose the right foods. As a pescetarian it will be even easier, as fish is high in protein and Omega 3. I think you should do your own research and support your daughter in following a healthy non-meat diet.
My 13 yr old dd asked if she could become a pescatarian before Christmas.We agreed to start in the new year but she has to devise menues for the week and help with cooking.Family that knew sent her a book for recipes to be written in.We began yesterday and there is now no meat in the fridge or freezer.At 16 your dd knows what she wants and all you can do is help by encouraging a healthy diet.
At her age it's up to her what she eats. If she chooses not to eat meat then that is her decision.
However if she carries on eating fish then she is NOT a vegetarian.
A vegetarian does not eat any meat or fish.
She would be a pescetrian, yabu to call her a vegetarian! She is not one!
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