Vegetarian Kids

November 24, 2009 :: Posted by - Summer :: Food, Parenting :: Comments Off

Creative Commons License photo credit: lilivanili

I am trying to cut out meat from our diet. Maybe not entirely out, and I’m still not ready to give up milk and cheese, but replacing many of the typical meat dishes with vegetable ones. This is a two-part idea, based on both my desire to stay away from cruelly treated meat animals and to keep the man I love living for a few more years.

So I plan out a vegetarian menu, I buy the food, I cook the meals, we all eat it as a family. Sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes it’s not. But I try to always make it as healthy as possible. So when I found out that there was a parenting poll about feeding kids a vegetarian diet and that most of the people who responded thought it was cruel to do to kids, I got a little peeved. How in the world is making an effort to feed your kids a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables cruel? When did fruits and vegetables and beans and grains become close to child abuse?

Multi-Minding Mom was the first blog I read talking about this horrible poll, and she made some great points about feeding kids and giving them food choices.

What is cruel is feeding your child a diet of highly processed foods, laden with fats and refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and dare I say free-flowing juice boxes.* Cruel because not only is there a correlation between negative behavior and highly processed food, but you are also setting them up for a lifetime of obesity and a higher chance of becoming a Type 2 diabetic. There are even instances of children being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes which should never happen

So what is so cruel about feeding kids a vegan or vegetarian diet? What exactly is the cruelty of it? Do they assume the food is awful, that the kids could never enjoy it, that there is just no flavor without meat? If so they must really be bad at cooking. Even before I started changing our diet, my kids were already in love with eating fruits and vegetables. There’s usually not a day that goes by without them begging for a green smoothie for a snack. Do they think kids absolutely need meat for a healthy diet? Have they not seen the approved Food Pyramid where meat, nuts, seeds, and beans occupy a small space together. You can get protein from all of them, not just meat. Protein does not have to come from animals only, especially with today’s advances in fake-meat.

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