Is it okay to have a Veggie Child?

As everyone already knows, I love children. And I plan on having them sooner than later! So lately I have been talking to my husband about kids; Mostly on how we plan on raising them. So far so good right? We talked about the normal stuff and we agree on religion, on discipline, on restrictions, and so forth. The one thing that most parents or soon to be parents don’t really discuss is food. What are we going to feed our child? Usually the answer is just “healthy” and the topic is closed. However, for my husband and I it’s not that simple. He eats meat. I don’t.

Usually this never affects our life since we are individuals. But what about the kid? This child is our hybrid. What are we going to fuel her/him with?

My husband easily responded, “They are going to meat.”
“Oh really?” Like he could just assume that.
“Well kid’s need meat.”
“Why’s it any different than an adult not eating meat?”
“Because it’s a kid.”

Hmmm. Not a good enough answer (or a good conversation honestly) for me. So I had to do some research on the subject to see if I could raise a vegetarian baby/child. Of course I could see the conflicts that this could cause. First off, his family already thinks I’m a weirdo because I don’t eat meat, so I’m sure they would think it was completely absurd of me to abstain meat from my child. Also, they would think it was unhealthy. So, is it? This is what I set out to find.

I found an excellent article from slate.com about the very topic of raising vegetarian children (even vegan children) and according to Dr. Storeygard, a pediatrician, kids do not need meat. What they need is enough protein and fat, which can be found in a variety of other ways. Like what? Peanut/almond/cashew butter, all nuts, all seeds (I nannied a boy who could sit and eat pumpkin seeds all day), whole grain breads, pasta, beans, tofu, lentils, legumes, and (although I’m not a huge fan) milk, eggs, cheese and yogurt. Actually a child could get more protein in a grilled cheese sandwich then in a piece of chicken.

The next concern was if it was “weird” to have a vegetarian child. Would my poor baby get judged and made fun of at school? Would their grandparents be annoyed at their diet? Would other parents judge me? Well the answer is no. It’s silly that was even one of our concerns to begin with. How many times have you met a child or knew someone yourself that was allergic to peanuts? Or was lactose intolerant? Or wasn’t allowed to eat meat because of their religion? Lots and lots of people and children have reasons to abstain from whatever. So my kid’s whatever is going to be meat. No issue! What am I going to feed my child you ask? What do other kids eat? Spaghetti with tomato sauce, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, veggie pizzas, pasta, popcorn, apple sauce, fruit, oatmeal, veggies…should I go on? You get the point. There’s plenty of other things to eat out there besides meat. A normal meat eater is only suppose to eat meat sparingly anyways, so it’s really just one step lower.

And frankly I don’t care if anyone is annoyed at my child’s diet. Even if I allowed my child to eat meat, I would still request their grandparents not feed them hot dogs or McDonald’s chicken nuggets (Sick! Do you know what hot dogs are made of!?). So in the end, its all the same.

My husband and I have reached one conclusion; Our child won’t eat meat…until they decide to. I don’t plan on being a dictator, so if my child understands what meat is, and they want to consume it, they shall. Until they understand, I am their mother and I will do what I think is best for them.

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