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I've been vegetarian for a little over a month and my husband just decided that he's vegetarian too. My kids are visiting their grandparents for a few weeks and when they get back I'd like to transition them to a vegetarian diet too. I don't really want to force them to be vegetarian so I'd like to um...gently manipulate them into thinking it was their idea. I cook all vegetarian meals at home and I'm going to start packing their school lunches so I think that'll be a good start. Any ideas on encouraging kids to choose vegetarian foods on their own? My kids are 10 and 14 so they've got lots of opportunities to eat when I'm not around. My daughter (the 10-year-old) is teetering on the edge of vegetarianism so I'm not terribly concerned about her. My son, on the other hand, will eat anything that isn't still moving. I'm pretty sure that he drools when he sees a cow walking around in a field.
 

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I'm 11 years old, and once I saw how they really treat the animals before being slaughtered, I became vegetarian and I know I'll never eat meat again. If you find a video that isn't too bad for your kids to watch, and you show it to them, they'll probably agree to becoming vegetarians.
 

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Hi Kristy! I don't know if I have any advice to help you transition your two kiddos, but I know that my daughter started eating vegetarian after talking with a veg*n friend of hers about 3 months ago. I also went & checked her out a couple of books from the library for her to read through. She has gradually started being more aware on her own about what she eats & she's asking more questions pertaining to her food before she puts it in her mouth.<br><br><br><br>
Along those lines, my 13 yr. son caught part of a video I was watching one day on line & it made a HUGE impact on him. There were lots of questions and a long discussion between us after he watched it. I didn't ask him to watch, but when he walked up behind me I did tell him it was a bit graphic & he may not want to watch it. He stayed around for about 20 min. and I could tell it really made him think about things. Since then he has become about 70% veg*n, which still amazes me that he just kinda did it on his own.<br><br>
Well, of course I cook vegan & he eats what I cook, but even if we go out to eat he always orders a vegetarian option.<br><br><br><br>
Now, back to you original question. I would think it wouldn't be too hard to just start substituting some of the things that they like with veg*n options. If they like corn dogs, buy them the Morningstar corn dogs. If they like pizza, offer them pizza with one of their fav. veggie toppings & if they don't have a fav. then let them go all cheese. I guess what I'm trying to say is, help them transition the same way you & your hubby did it, but maybe a bit more gradually. If they have a fav. meal then find a veg*n recipe for it, to show them that eating veg*n isn't that big of a deal.<br><br><br><br>
I would defiantely be upfront with them, let them know the reasons why your going to start cooking a different way than they are used to & then have lots of discussions with them. If they are anything like my two, you'll be quizzed on a daily basis when it comes to the food they are eating & what they can/cannot eat. But, I am so happy with their new found awareness it makes it all worthwhile.<br><br><br><br>
I was so glad to see your post, because this is something that I'm working through right now with my two kids (my daughter is 11 & my son is 13), and I think it's really wonderful that we care enough about our kids to help them through this transition. I've read so many posts here about teenagers wanting their parents support or help but they can't help them because they themselves really know nothing about the veg*n lifestyle.<br><br><br><br>
Please keep me updated & let me know how things go once they start with their new routine!<br><br><br><br>
Good luck<br><br>
Michelle
 

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I would say as little as possible to them about it. Don't fall in to the habit of discusing it with them about the pros, and all the benifits. Just serve the meal, don't make a stink about them not liking it, or there negitivity about eating it. Don't tell them the restaurant is down the street. Just be consistant. and a <span style="text-decoration:underline;">little</span> insistant and, keep your fingers crossed, and your mouth shut. They are at the age where they don't really listen to you anymore, but listen mostly to there peers. so they need to come around to there own choices and conclusions. with your love and understanding as there guide.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Vegan Joe</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I would say as little as possible to them about it. Don't fall in to the habit of discusing it with them about the pros, and all the benifits. Just serve the meal, don't make a stink about them not liking it, or there negitivity about eating it. Don't tell them the restaurant is down the street. Just be consistant. and a <span style="text-decoration:underline;">little</span> insistant and, keep your fingers crossed, and your mouth shut. They are at the age where they don't really listen to you anymore, but listen mostly to there peers. so they need to come around to there own choices and conclusions. with your love and understanding as there guide.</div>
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With all due respect I feel I would have to disagree with you, Vegan Joe. I think now is the time that parents REALLY need to step up and get active in their childrens lives, BECAUSE of all the "peer" pressure. I think there is a fine line there, but they still need our support & advice on a daily basis.<br><br><br><br>
Sometimes their "peers" are the exact reason that this is a really critical time. I think giving kids a different opinion (which is sometimes different than their peers) and following through with a reason why we believe one way or another on a topic is very important for helping them become the people they will be one day.<br><br><br><br>
But again, there is a fine line. You DON'T want to make them feel like our (parents) opinions are the only ones, but at the same time we need to make it clear that we are adults and have seen around a few corners (that obviously their peers have not) and we can help them/support them with making the right decisions for themselves.<br><br><br><br>
I don't like the "keep your mouth shut" comment. Most kids at this age ARE impressionable & are trying to find their place in the world & if as parents we want to help them to become better individuals (either with their diets, respect for themselves/others, more compassion for others/environment, more responsibility, etc.) then this is the time to step up.<br><br>
I know for one, I don't like to be "deceived" by someone & I give my children that same respect. I think if kids have questions then we should be there to answer them, and be upfront with them about things, especially when it comes to something that is shared by the family on a daily basis.<br><br><br><br>
Michelle<br><br><br><br>
Edited to add: My apoligies to CodeMonkey that I even felt this response was necessary, but I feel like the whole backing off/staying out of their business attitude does not help our kids to transition into vegetarianism any easier. I hope their transition goes well & things go smoothly for us as we help them to learn how to enjoy this lifestyle.
 

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Your kids are old enough to learn about the choices between eating veg or standard. Let it be their choice. But definitly eat all veggie at home. If they want to eat animal products out of the home, that's up to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It was funny, last night we went out to dinner and the only one who ordered meat was my son. The server actually double checked to make sure he really wanted the chicken and not the tofu (my daughter ordered the tofu on her own.)
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>codemonkey</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It was funny, last night we went out to dinner and the only one who ordered meat was my son. The server actually double checked to make sure he really wanted the chicken and not the tofu (my daughter ordered the tofu on her own.)</div>
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Yeah!!!! That's awesome that she made the decision on her own!!! My kids don't do tofu, but it may have alot to do with me not being able to find a really good recipe for it?? I've copied alot of recipes off here from other posters but just can't get motivated to cook any, sad huh??<br><br><br><br>
Kudos to your daughter!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/hamster.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":hamster:"><br><br><br><br>
Michelle
 

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My kids really like tofu. My son actually started asking for it when he was little because he saw people eating it in one of those japanese cartoons (he called it to-food.) I only learned how to cook it recently though. I picked up a book called "This Can't be Tofu" when I started toying with the idea of giving up meat. It really helped me learn how to prepare it.
 
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