Is it just a phase?

Your daughter declared she wants to become a vegetarian. What were your first thoughts? Do any of these resonate with you:

  1. What am I going to feed her?
  2. She’ll never get enough protein on a vegetarian diet
  3. How are we going to eat out?
  4. It’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it

When my daughter decided to become vegetarian at 9 years old I was prepared as I had been following a mostly vegetarian diet for quite some time. However, many parents worry when their children decide to become vegetarian because they are not familiar with this way of eating. I am sure some of you hope it is just a phase your child is going through and that they will begin eating meat again soon.

I know a few moms who have teenage daughters that were vegetarian for a few years so it may indeed have been a phase. Kids go through lots of phases as they develop and mature and perhaps declaring they are vegetarian is a way for them to exert more control over their lives.  For teenage girls it might be related to body image and weight loss. However, whether it is a phase or not, parents still need to ensure their children are eating properly for their growing bodies at any age or stage.

Here are a few tips to save your sanity if your daughter declares she wants to become a vegetarian:

  1. Be accepting and supportive- discuss why your daughter wants to give up meat. Make sure there isn’t an underlying eating disorder.
  2. Do some research to quell your concerns – there is tons of scientific evidence these days that vegetarian diets are very healthy and good for the environment.
  3. Borrow some vegetarian or vegan cookbooks from the library  to help you better understand how to cook without meat.
  4. Get your child involved in the meal planning and preparation so she too can learn which foods she should be eating and how to prepare them.
  5. Talk to a healthcare professional about getting your daughter tested for some of the nutrients that may be more challenging to get on a vegetarian diet like B12 and iron.
  6. Sign up for my newsletter for ongoing tips, tricks and recipes!