The Family Home Blog

When Your Child Decides to Become a Vegetarian

Feb 04, 2015
|
Melissa Hincha-Ownby

 When Your Child Decides to Become a Vegetarian

“Mom, I want to be a vegetarian.” This is what my 11 year-old daughter told me on Christmas morning last year. The statement didn’t come as a surprise; she’d been mentioning the possibility of becoming a vegetarian off and on for a few months now, but the timing did catch me off guard. So my daughter’s Christmas lunch consisted of a bunch of starchy vegetables, since I hadn’t planned ahead for a vegetarian-friendly replacement for our traditional ham.

Even though I’ve participated in vegetarian and vegan eating challenges, our family is not vegetarian. However, I felt it was important to honor my daughter’s wishes. She is 11 and understands nutrition basics and so my husband and I agreed to support her decision to become a vegetarian.

The first thing we did was teach her how to read food labels. For instance, she loves soup, but we found out that most soup is made out of a beef or chicken base. So, she now knows to either look for the word ‘vegetarian’ when choosing a soup, or check the labels.

Next on our list was handling her new dietary restrictions while eating out – both at school and at restaurants. She encountered a bit of resistance when she announced her vegetarianism to friends, with some telling her it wasn’t healthy. Thankfully she was confident in her decision and assured her classmates that she was making the right choice for her. She brings her lunch most days, but on the days that she doesn’t, the staff at the school have assured her that they always have vegetarian options available.

Eating out at a restaurant is easier, because she has an adult there to help her decipher menus. However, we use dining out as another teaching opportunity. Recently she wanted to order tortilla soup, so we asked her to read the description, which included chicken. She asked me if the restaurant could leave the chicken out, and we circled back to the fact that most soups are made out of a non-vegetarian broth. She asked the waitress if it was chicken or vegetarian broth and learned that even if she ordered it without chicken, the soup was still made from chicken stock. I loved watching her search for answers on her own.

I don’t know how long she’ll stay a vegetarian, it may be another month, a year or a lifetime, but I will continue to support her decision.

Has your child made a big decision about their diet? If so, how did your family handle the situation?

Photo courtesy of Melissa Hincha-Ownby.

You might also like
To make greener choices this year, many people (myself included) have embarked on a missio ...
Using a crockpot is one of the simplest ways to provide a healthy dinner for your family−e ...
Resolving to make greener choices is a fantastic New Year's Resolution! Here are 10 specif ...
More by this author
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs that fall und ...
October marks the start of my favorite time of the year to hike. Living in Arizona, Octobe ...
September 22 is the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and official start of fall ...

1 Comment so far

Post a comment

On Friday, February 27, 2015, Luke, blogger at Health Room wrote

Thanks for sharing! It's great to hear that you're so supportive of your daughter. If you were looking for a few ideas to help her maintain a healthy diet, I wrote a post last year on Mind Body Green that looks at getting more fruits and veggies into your child's diet. Feel free to check it out! http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13614/8-ways-to-get-kids-to-eat-more-fruits-veggies.html Have a great day! Luke

POST A COMMENT

Please enter your comment.

Example: "Todd from Chicago" or "The Silva's from Texas." To protect your privacy, you may want to use only a first name or nickname
Please read our Terms of Use in the link below.
  • Keep in mind that by submitting stories/comments/pictures/videos, you're confirming that you own them and they're only about you and other family members who have agreed that the content/images may appear on SC Johnson's web site indefinitely and anywhere in the world, without compensating you/them or obtaining any further permission from anyone. You understand that we may include your first name and state as the person making the submission.
  • In addition, as a family company, we support your family's right to privacy. Remember that if you post stories/comments/pictures/videos that include or mention family members - especially those under 18 - you're acknowledging that the items will be online and accessible to anyone on the Internet.
By submitting this form, I'm agreeing to the Terms of Use.
To help prevent spam, please enter the words you see in the box below.

Blogger Panel
© 2017 S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. All Rights reserved Home Privacy Terms of Use Search Site Map
AdChoices