9 year old daughter wants to be vegetarian - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-21-2003, 08:57 AM
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Hi everyone. My little girl, having watched me for some time now become a vegetarian and constantly refine my diet, is now serious about wanting to do the same. This isn't the first time she has expressed interest, but this time she's a lot more adamant and I couldn't be happier.

I guess I'm needing some advice on a few things. I want to point out that when I went veg, I was careful never to force it on her since I did not raise her that way from the get go (I wish I knew then what I knew now). I wanted it to be something she could observe and decide for herself. Lately she has been full of questions, ethical and nutritional, and I answer her as best I can although I feel like her little 9 year old spongey mind needs more. Has anyone experienced something like this with their kids? Are there maybe some good books out there on her level, in addition to myself trying to fulfill her knowledge?

There is also the challenge of trying to educate her nutritionally and that if she is serious about veg*sm, she has to eat veggies and other foods she isn't used to eating to compensate for animal nutrition.

Furthermore, when she goes to visit her Dad (we are divorced) and other relatives who are non-veg*n, she does not get support and resorts to eating junk food or inadequate foods to avoid animal products. Her father even said to her that "she can be a vegetarian when she's at mommy's but at his house she eats what they eat." I know these are issues that I need to address directly with him and my family. I'm just wondering if anyone out there has dealt with something similar - your veg*n children going to visit non-veg*n relatives and how you got those relatives to honour that without butting heads? My father has already given me pokes about my "radical vegetarian influence" and how "Ciarra will do anything her mommy does".
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#2 Old 11-21-2003, 10:14 AM
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I don't really have any advice, but... I went veggie when I was about 12/13. No one else in my family was (except my "crazy" aunt), I just decided it was the right thing to do. I had to do all my own research and whatnot. My mom bought me a book ("Gradual Vegitarian" - it's OK, but it's more a book for adults) and a couple cookbooks for my dad. It probly would've been easier w/a mom like you. I didn't really eat very healthy back then, but a lot healthier than before going veg

Also, when we would go to family gatherings, my parents would always make sure there was something for me to eat. Maybe talk to your ex and let him know this is what your daughter wants and give him some things she can eat when she's there. Things that are easy so it doesn't seem like he's going out of his way to feed her.

Hope this helped! And way to go with your daughter
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#3 Old 11-21-2003, 10:37 AM
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I'm glad she wanted to become a vegetarian on her own! Good for her!

I think you should talk to her father about this--tell him this is her decision, not yours. He might be concerned she won't be healthy on a veg*n diet, so you'll need to do some research and share it with him. I would also give him a list of what she will and won't eat and some recipes of things she likes.

If her visits are just a couple of days, maybe you can arrange for her to bring food over there with her so he isn't overwhelmed with trying to feed her vegetarian food which it sounds he's not familiar with (it shouldn't be a difficult idea, but most omnis really have no idea what to do in this sort of situation). I would only do this though if he doesn't warm up to the idea.

When she's at home, I would start to teach her some basic cooking skills so she has that when she goes over there. Being 9 years old does sound young to be cooking, but as long as she's supervised (especially with cutting tools), she should be ok. Knowing how to use a microwave and doing some basic things on the stove (like grilling a sandwich or boiling pasta--though with boiling the pasta she'll probably need help to drain the water when it's cooked) should be sufficient. As she gets older, she could learn to cook from a cookbook/recipe.

Originally Posted by VeggieKitten View Post

There is also the challenge of trying to educate her nutritionally and that if she is serious about veg*sm, she has to eat veggies and other foods she isn't used to eating to compensate for animal nutrition.

This is a hard thing to do, especially if she's a picky eater. Start with vegetables and fruits she does like and introduce new ones to her once a week or so. You might find it helpful to offer dips or sauces with veggies and pureeing veggies and adding them to soups, stews, and sauces.

Here's some websites that I hope will help:








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#4 Old 11-22-2003, 11:43 AM
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You have lots of questions on your plate about this - which is good. I'm going to seperate them out:

1. Her nutrition

2. Her visits with her Dad

3. Her visits with other members of the family

I've also put the above in level of importance.

Right now, she wants to become one. So, first off, work on her understanding of how she needs to eat. "Becoming Vegan" is really good for nutritional info the is easy to understand. And, it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to add cow milk for soy milk, and the occasional egg for tofu as necessary into her diet, if applicable.

I would advise taking things slow. As a child, she may jump into it head first without realizing what some of her favorite foods are. GIve her time to adjust. Let her choose some of the meals.

Once she is educated enough to make those decisions on her own, then worry about the father and the family. In the end, you cannot completely control non-illegal activity at a family member's house or at another parent's. You may have to wait until she herself stands up to them and insists on vegetarian food. There is nothing wrong with her being a veggie with mom and an omni with dad and grandma. There isn't anything wrong with that. I'm there right now - nothing wrong with it and no, the kids don't get confused.

If you have any questions about nutritional requirements, etc, just let me know and I can do some research for you.
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#5 Old 11-22-2003, 03:43 PM
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Thanks you guys. Krista, I have the book "Becoming Vegan" - excellent book, though a little bit over a 3rd grader's comprehension level. I always try my best, however, to translate the information into something that makes sense to her.

Last night, we went to meet some friends at a popular sports bar/restaurant type of place where at best there are french fries and plain salads as veg selections. My daughter asked me, "I'm so hungry, can I just get a grilled cheese or fish fingers just this time?" And I replied to her that it is okay and she can eat whatever she wants, I wasn't going to tell her she's not allowed. I explained it sometimes difficult in certain situations to eat veg when you are first starting, and not to pressure herself.
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