Parents have different motivations for raising their children vegetarian, from animal rights to ethical issues to environmental concerns or health worries. Children will inevitably become curious about dietary choices, and when they do, their parents owe it to them to provide unbiased and compassionate reasoning.
Children will eventually take charge of their dietary choices, and how parents teach them about vegetarianism can influence their decisions tomorrow. If parents allow for civil discussion, letting little ones ask questions and pose challenges, they will feel more confident about future food choices.
If raising a vegetarian child is crucial, consider how best to explain the choice to your child. When a child can see how passionate a parent is, it can motivate them to adopt the same lifestyle.
What It Means To Be Vegetarian
A vegetarian eats no meat, including fish and poultry. However, becoming a vegetarian is about more than food choices for many people.
Many young people adopt vegetarianism because of animal rights and ethical concerns. Knowing how beef and poultry farms slaughter animals causes upset and anger in many people, so becoming a vegetarian is a form of protest.
Other people become vegetarians because they realize the dangers of eating overly processed foods and fatty red meats. People who adopt the diet for health may have looser dietary restrictions. For example, a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian can eat dairy products and eggs.
Before you can explain what it means to be a vegetarian to your child, you must understand it. Your child's introduction to the lifestyle comes from you.
Explaining the Benefits of Vegetarianism to Your Child
As an adult, you know that vegetarians typically have lower levels of "bad" cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and reduced risks of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Telling your little ones the above information will not make much sense.
When explaining the benefits of vegetarianism to your child, you need to phrase them in terms they'll understand. For example, explain that vegetarianism is good for your heart and makes you strong and healthy. You can also clarify that vegetarianism supports animals and the environment.
Making Vegetarian Meals With Your Child
One of the best ways to teach children about vegetarianism is to include them in meal planning and cooking prep. As you and your little one read through a recipe and set out ingredients, you can explain the benefits of the specific foods. For example, spinach makes your bones healthy and strong.
Cooking with your child can also create positive experiences around a vegetarian lifestyle. If your little one has happy memories of vegetarianism, it can help influence future dietary decisions.
Should I Raise My Child Vegetarian?
Whether you raise your child vegetarian is your choice. Research suggests that vegetarian diets, even strict veganism, are healthy.
The primary concern is that your child receives adequate nutrition from whatever diet you choose. If you opt for a vegetarian diet, it is beneficial to speak with a nutritionist or pediatrician about the best ways to ensure nutritional balance. Medical professionals often recommend a daily multivitamin, such as Wellements Organic Multivitamin Gummy.
Giving Your Child the Power To Choose
Ultimately, the power to choose dietary preferences is personal. While you can decide for your little one when they are incapable and old enough, it is best to let them decide if vegetarianism is right for them. Such is the case with all the guidance you give your children; one day, they choose to use it or ignore it.