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Vegetarian - when /how to explain it to DD?

(18 Posts)
jasperc163 Mon 06-Jul-09 18:50:30

Those of you who are veggie and don't give your child meat, at what age, and how, did you explain it?

My view is that once DD is old enough to really make choices then it will be up to her what she eats outside the house. Until then, I would prefer her to be able to explain /understand that we dont eat meat (at the moment she doesnt know the difference between a veggie sausage and a meat one), but I dont want her to put it in a way that is offensive / rude to others .


limonchik Mon 06-Jul-09 18:53:15

My friend's daughter is almost 5 and vegan. She's very good at asking if things are vegan before eating them, and can explain she doesn't eat anything with animal products in it including milk, eggs, cheese. I can't see why anyone would be offended by that.

jasperc163 Mon 06-Jul-09 18:53:33

sorry meant to say she is 3 and a half

limonchik Mon 06-Jul-09 18:57:49

Does she know at the moment that she doesn't eat meat?

iMum Mon 06-Jul-09 19:08:17

I think we first discussed it when ds1 was about 2 and he noticed that my mum had something different on her plate. I just told him that it was a bit of pork, that pork was cooked dead pig and that I chose for us not to eat dead animals as I prefer them to be alive.

He is very good at checking the veggie credentials of what he eats and we were vegan for the first 3 years f his life.
ds2 however I can tell will be a different ball game!

piscesmoon Mon 06-Jul-09 19:25:18

I would find story books that have meals in them and when you are reading them just explain that people's diets are different.
The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch springs to mind, but there must be others.
I think that you have a very sensible attitude to it being a matter of choice when older.

limonchik Mon 06-Jul-09 19:33:37

I wouldn't have your DD making value judgements about her/other people's diet (even if that's the way you feel) because people will find it offensive. Saying to a friend's mum at a birthday party "I can't eat the sausage rolls because I prefer pigs alive" won't go down well, saying "I don't eat meat, could you tell me what doesn't have meat in?" is fine.

jasperc163 Mon 06-Jul-09 19:42:30

No she doesnt know. We talk about quorn etc to try and distinguish but she has no concept of the fact that a sausage at a party she went to today was meat, or in fact any understanding of what meat is.

Limonchik -yes thats my concern. I dont want her repeating things in a way that makes judgements, hence my concern about how to explain WHY we dont eat meat and that i would prefer her not to eat meat and to ask if something is meat first.

thanks everyone - appreciate the help

limonchik Mon 06-Jul-09 19:46:33

At her age, I think just "we don't eat meat" is enough information. As she gets older and asks more questions then you can explain why you choose not too, and hopefully she'll be able to grasp that not all people feel the same way.

jasperc163 Tue 07-Jul-09 11:05:15

thanks :-)

cockles Tue 07-Jul-09 11:15:00

I think 3.5 is plenty old enough to discuss why we don't eat meat, actually, if you think she will be interested. My 3.5 year old now eats meat if he wants to outside the house but we don't cook it at home. He's had ham once out of interest.

HerHonesty Tue 07-Jul-09 13:18:23

i think you should let her eat outside the house what she wants until she can make a genuine informed choice herself. unless you want to set down a hard and fast rule which will have very little meaning to her, but in a way by doing that you are already instilling a bit of bias in her.

Give her the information you had when you made the choice at the age you became vegetarian. as cockles said, let her lead the way.

jasperc163 Tue 07-Jul-09 14:09:49

to be honest - if she was going to eat meat then i would prefer that it was good quality and organic - which is unlikely to be the case in the school / parties environment. For me it is more logical to make the choice for her until she is able to be more informed...?

HerHonesty Tue 07-Jul-09 14:17:00

well thats a sort of different scenario, isnt it?

i agree with you that i dont really want my dd shoving manky cocktail sausages down her gob (we only eat organic meat at home and not very often) but equally i dont want her eating additive ridden suggary cupcakes ... BUT i also want her to enjoy life and the little parties she goes to without making an issue about the food. its difficult isnt it!! the other thing i try and bear in mind is that it was always the things i wasnt allowed when i was little that i now have major weaknesses for...

so perhaps i should ban little one from ever ever eating vegetables?!?

HSMM Tue 07-Jul-09 14:38:22

I am a veggie and my DD aged 9 is not. She loves her meat, but because of our discussions about my veggie choices she likes to know where her meat came from and how the animals were treated. However ... if she goes to a party, or Mac D, she just eats whatever's going! (DH is not a veggie and doesn't want to know anything about what he is eating)

sarah293 Tue 07-Jul-09 15:06:37

Message withdrawn

piscesmoon Tue 07-Jul-09 16:37:18

I like to know where my meat comes from and only use my local farm shop. However when they go to parties you have to be sociable and can't make a big issue out of food-you have to be polite.

thirtysomething Tue 07-Jul-09 16:51:47

mine were both vegetarian from birth but nursery accidentally gave DS cottage pie with meat in it. After that he apparently used to eye up meat on other children's plates and wanted to try it - so we said he could, the logic being that he could make his own mind up rather than feeling deprived and craving Mcdonalds as a the age of 9 he'd had enough and was back to being veggie, but now militantly so as he felt he had all the facts - had done his research on the web and watched lots of documentaries about animal rearing etc.

So it has worked out ok but I think for him, he had to go through a meat-eating phase otherwise I'm sure he'd be a raging carnivore as a teenage rebellion thing!

On the other hand DD now eats meat with relish and he winds her up, telling her she's eating dead animals and it just upsets her but makes her more determined to eat meat!

We explained to both of them that we are veggie because we like animals and think there are enough other types of food around not to have to eat animals. That seems quite sufficient as they soon learn the hard facts about abbatoirs etc and don't need us to tell them....they just come to accept it as our own choice and realise that other people make different choices and that's ok.

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