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:
- What am I going to feed her?
- She’ll never get enough protein on a vegetarian diet
- How are we going to eat out?
- 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:
- Be accepting and supportive- discuss why your daughter wants to give up meat. Make sure there isn’t an underlying eating disorder.
- 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.
- Borrow some vegetarian or vegan cookbooks from the library to help you better understand how to cook without meat.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sign up for my newsletter for ongoing tips, tricks and recipes!