My 11 year wants to be a vegetarian

User - posted on 02/27/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )




My 11 year old son started crying at the dinner table last night and said "it doesn't feel right eating pork chops". He has never liked much meat. Just hot dogs (like most kids). He decided he doesn't want to eat meat anymore. He doesn't like many veggies either so I'm worried he will gain weight. Afraid he will want alot of pasta and bread and snacks. Any advice anyone?


Mrs. - posted on 02/27/2012




I became a vege at 11. I continued to be one for two decades (and a vegan for 10 years of that). I had to try to eat meat again about a year ago. I had gotten to the point that I needed weekly injections of B12 and, worse, iron injections (they are very painful and leave stains on your skin that last for years).

Many veges will tell you that I might have just not been doing it right. I disagree, but your son will have to make up his own mind based on information.

I read a very smart blog by a ex-vegan blogger that had a situation similar to mine. It really helped me understand that some people just don't thrive on a vege diet (others do). As well, the arguments of vegetarianism being the kindest thing for animal has some flaws to it. Since this is the thing that is bothering your son the most, the emotional side of it. It might be a good idea to start talking to him about local farming, grass-fed beef and ethically raised animal products. Do some research and it may soothe your son's mind to know the meat he is eating was raised in the best way possible and had a good life.

Here is the link, if your son isn't into a long read, just point him toward the section called Part 3-Rethinking My Beliefs:

I hope this helps.

One thing I can say, the more my parents (midwestern raised meat eaters) pushed against my vege status, the most I held on to it. If he does choose to be a vege, get him some cookbooks, let him take a class or something. One good thing my parents did was to insist that if I was going to do this, I had to cook my own meals. It put the responsibility in my hands. It is an adult decision to do this and your need to take on the adult responsibility of learning how to feed yourself. That is not to say don't help him learn, you should, but you should let him figure out how to do it properly all by himself as well.

Jocelyn - posted on 02/27/2012




Get him a multi vitamin, stock up on healthy fats (avacados) and things like nuts and legumes. If he is cutting out fish, hemp hearts are a good way to get the omega fats (I just put my hemp hearts directly on my cereal in the mornings). There are ways to hide veggies in food lol (like puree veggies in with spaghetti sauce!) You can also get foods like "chicken" nuggets made of spinach!


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Sarah - posted on 02/27/2012




Maybe do some research on vegetarian diets and present it to him. He can't just eat carbohydrates because he won't get the nutritional content he needs to grow. He'll need a fat source, protein source, vitamins, etc. There's a lot more to nutrition than meat and veggies, but he needs to be made aware how sick he can get if he doesn't eat properly on a vegetarian diet.

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