6 Year Old Says She Is Now A Vegetarian - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 02-05-2010, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Over the past few weeks, my 6 year old dd says she doesn't want to drink milk "b/c it comes from a cow," doesn't want to eat chicken "b/c it's a chicken!" and before she eats anything, she asks where it comes from. If it's a byproduct of an animal, she wants nothing to do with it.

We've respected her wishes and allowed her to eat the carb and veggie part of the meal, but now I'm starting to worrry that she won't get all the nutrients she needs if we don't give her alternatives or substitutes.

We're going to follow her lead and take baby steps. Any suggestions on easy ways she can get protein and calcium? Thanks in advance.

Baking,, Chuck Taylor Wearing, , SAHMom of 2.
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#2 of 19 Old 02-05-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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Sounds like an awesome little girl! :] A multi-vitamin would be a good idea. Make sure it has B12. For protein, beans are the healthiest option. Also, meat alternatives like tofu or fake chicken nuggets and burgers. For calcium, see if she likes soy milk or rice milk. A vegetarian diet is very healthy, so you don't have to worry. HTH.

Jessie
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#3 of 19 Old 02-05-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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Good for you for supporting her! If she's a good eater, it shouldn't be too hard to get all her nutrients in. You don't necessarily need meat "substitutes" like veggie burgers or other processed soy products (I try to avoid them honestly). There are lots of veggies that have plenty of protein, iron, and calcium. And whole grains are good for that too. And beans and nuts of course. Just do a google search of each nutrient and write down animal-friendly alternatives and see what she thinks. Some of it she won't like I'm sure, but she should find lots of things she does like.

There are lots of fortified foods, but ones fortified with B12 and calcium often get those nutrients from animal sources. If you think she wouldn't care about trace ingredients, things like orange juice would be a good way to get calcium in. If she *would* care, there are still many other ways to get those vitamins, but maybe not as convenient as OJ.
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#4 of 19 Old 02-05-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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Lentils are an excellent source of protein. My girls are both veggie, and like brown and red lentils a lot. There are a ton of beans to choose from, black, pinto, cannellini, garbanzo etc... that all have plenty of protein. Hummus is great for sandwiches.

I don't give them a multi vitamin b/c they eat quite well overall. I think there's a fear that veggies won't get enough protein, but actually most people eat way more protein than they need. It's not hard to get enough. A lot of pastas have 6-10 grams of protein per serving. Beans about 7 g's. Bread has protein too. Beans are full of iron, veggies like spinach have calcium, which is absorbed best if it's cooked, so a quick saute in olive oil is very good for you.

Also, oatmeal has a lot of protein in it, so that's a good option for breakfast.
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#5 of 19 Old 02-05-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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Lots of kids enjoy chickpeas. Getting a complete protein is as easy as a glass of soymilk and a peanut butter sandwich. You can make a chickpea salad sandwich with mashed chickpeas, vegan mayo, mustard and chopped celery. Keeping tins of chickpeas or blackbeans on hand is easy. You can add them to salads, pasta, rice. Just take out a separate portion for her before you add meat in something like spaghetti sauce and throw in some beans or lentils instead. Most of the non dairy milks are fortified with calcium B12 and vitamin D.

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#6 of 19 Old 02-05-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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I love the wonders of hemp we add it to smoothies and salads and pasta.
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#7 of 19 Old 02-05-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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I agree with the previous posters, it's not that difficult to get a balanced diet.

If you want a comprehensive resource, I highly recommend the book Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet, written by nutritionists. It only discusses the nutrition and health aspects of a vegan diet, and has separate sections for children and for pregnant/nursing mothers.

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#8 of 19 Old 02-11-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much. She's still pretty serious about this. We went to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and she ordered a cheese pizza. But also had a slice of dh's BBQ chicken pizza. After she ate it (and loved it), she realized that she had eaten chicken and said, "What happens if a vegetarian eats chicken?" We told her that it's OK to make exceptions if she wants and also if she doesn't want to be a vegetarian, that was OK too.

I just don't want her to think she's locked into it or to beat herself up about it if she makes a different choice.

Thanks for the suggestions. I will check out that book.

Baking,, Chuck Taylor Wearing, , SAHMom of 2.
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#9 of 19 Old 02-18-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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I'd just like to say thank you for not forcing her to eat meat! I always hated meat as a child and tried not to eat it but was always forced to anyway! I wasn't really able to make a choice to become vegetarian until I was 16 and almost on my own but I had no support at all from any of my foster parents with this.
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#10 of 19 Old 02-20-2010, 01:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by missmich View Post
I'd just like to say thank you for not forcing her to eat meat! I always hated meat as a child and tried not to eat it but was always forced to anyway!
I was the same.

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#11 of 19 Old 02-20-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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My 6 yo daughter, an animal lover, is also very sensitive about where her food comes from. She prefers to avoid meat, but hasn't developed a varied enough palate to be able to eat a completely vegetarian or vegan diet. I'm taking this as an opportunity to teach her some very important "both/and" lessons. You can be compassionate and ethical about choosing what you eat. I'm vegan and so will support and help her on her own journey. Both kids eat meat-based foods at grandparents' homes, but at our home it's predominantly vegan. They also get fresh duck eggs (from ducks that we raised and keep like princesses on our property).
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#12 of 19 Old 02-20-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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I did the same thing when I was a kid. Still don't eat most meat, 25 years later! It's ok. She'll be ok. You'll both figure out a diet that meets her needs.

From what I remember, kids don't need a ton of protein. Emphasis on protein tends to come up when you're an athlete, or pregnant. Iron is a bigger concern. As a kid, I ate a lot of:

-nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.)
-kale (mmm....kale chips. very tasty & easy and quick to make)
-spinach
-beans (build-your-own tacos with refried beans was a favorite, still is)

Dark leafy greens are a good source of iron; nuts and beans provide protein and long-lasting energy. There are more kids' cookbooks out now than 25 years ago; you should be able to find some good kid vegetarian/vegan ones and maybe get your dd interested in helping to plan and prepare her own food, so that you can learn together.
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#13 of 19 Old 02-20-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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The previous posters pretty much said it all, but I'd like to thank the OP for supporting her daughter's decision!

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#14 of 19 Old 02-22-2010, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We made our first official vegetarian meal last night. Falafel w/Tahini sauce, brown rice, and pineapple chutney. My dd loved it. My 3 year old ds did too, but was quick to point out, "I'm not a vegetarian, you know." I told him that was fine too.

DD was happy that we made a special meal for her -- we all benefited from it by trying something new and different and working together to make a great meal.

Thanks so much for your ideas. We are going to incorporate this into our meal rotation.

Baking,, Chuck Taylor Wearing, , SAHMom of 2.
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#15 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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protien sources for kids:

nuts and nut butters
whole grain bread
chick peas (tasty roasted with a little nutritional yeast and olive oil, or tossed with lemon juice parsley and olive oil, also not to bad plain)
a little fake meat here and there is ok but don't go overboard.
baked beans make a nice and easy addition (bushes makes a vegetarian baked beans)
learn to make patties from lentils/beans. they make a nice protien slab and can be individually frozen.

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#16 of 19 Old 06-18-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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I had to laugh when I saw this thread because my six-year-old son just announced at dinner last week that he was now a vegetarian and I'm scouring this board for meal ideas. We agreed we'd all eat meat-free for a month and reevaluate at that point. The one condition was that he had to at least try everything I cooked for him. (He's a decent eater but doesn't particularly enjoy vegetables. Meat was the one thing I knew he'd eat at dinner every night.)

So far, about a week-and-a-half later, it's been going well. He's eaten everything I've made without much complaint and has been sticking to the meat-free diet. The only exception was last week at a Medieval festival where there was literally NOTHING to eat except meat.

We've been doing lots of beans (burritos, tacos), veggie pizza or frittatas, soups, with veggie/hummus or fruit/peanut butter appetizers. Smoothies are also a good way to get in protein and calcium. I make them with fresh fruit, plain yogurt, sometimes a scoop of peanut butter or a handful of fresh greens if he hasn't been eating much of that.

How's it going for you? Is she still a vegetarian?
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#17 of 19 Old 06-18-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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yay for you listening to your child! Coconut milk form So Delicious, and coconut yogurt has b12 in it. I would avoid the soy based meat substitutes though as a pp said too. Soy is questionable as a staple of the diet, and the world's supply has been compromised by GMO at this point according to experts in the field of organic, sustainable agriculture. We are GFCFSF here. I stopped eating mammals recently too. dd does not like beans so you are lucky if she will eat beans. The one kind dd does like are the baby lima beans gg baby needs me

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#18 of 19 Old 07-13-2010, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by jenniferlynne View Post
How's it going for you? Is she still a vegetarian?
Sorry it took so long to get back to this thread. In a nutshell, no, she isn't still a vegetarian. She is eating chicken and fish again. However, as a family we are up to four "meatless" meals a week and we're still eating falafel! She still hasn't had any cow's milk or cheese, but she is drinking chocolate almond milk. Thanks for asking!!

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#19 of 19 Old 07-18-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by missmich View Post
I'd just like to say thank you for not forcing her to eat meat! I always hated meat as a child and tried not to eat it but was always forced to anyway! I wasn't really able to make a choice to become vegetarian until I was 16 and almost on my own but I had no support at all from any of my foster parents with this.
same here....

Quote:
Originally Posted by olliepop View Post
We made our first official vegetarian meal last night. Falafel w/Tahini sauce, brown rice, and pineapple chutney. My dd loved it. My 3 year old ds did too, but was quick to point out, "I'm not a vegetarian, you know." I told him that was fine too.

DD was happy that we made a special meal for her -- we all benefited from it by trying something new and different and working together to make a great meal.

Thanks so much for your ideas. We are going to incorporate this into our meal rotation.
Sounds awesome!
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