Supporting your child’s decision to become a vegetarian may be hard for parents. Try not to make your child feel like they are bad or strange. Here are some tips to help you support their decision:
- Talk to your child about his/her choice,
- Find out exactly why he/she made the decision,
- Talk about your concerns and ways to eliminate those concerns,
- Discuss ways that you can help.
Join your child – sometimes. Cook a vegetarian meal at least one night a week. Your child will appreciate the effort. It could be a great way for your family to explore new dishes and healthier food choices.
Let your child cook for the family. It is important to allow your child to express his/her individuality during this time. Let him/her choose a vegetarian recipe to share with the family once or twice a month.
Keep fruits and vegetables visible in the kitchen. It is a reminder that the family supports your child’s decision. It may encourage the rest of the family to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Let your child choose the foods he/she eats – within reason. Wanting to prepare his/her own meal when the rest of the family eats chicken or beef. is not unusual. If a poor decision is being made, then speak up at the time of purchase or discussion. Also whole grain pastas or vegetarian patties are a great set of items for families to see, along with tofu, tempeh, and other meat substitutes.
Purchase a few vegetarian cookbooks. These are great and many people travel afar to eat at some of the celebrity chefs who own restaurants that are vegetarian.
Share experiences with other family members and friends. This can create a support system or even build teams of vegetarians who are trying new things. This will keep your child from feeling alone in their desire to be vegetarian.
Keep learning about nutrition and nutrient sources. This way your child and you can choose nutrient rich ingredients and avoid sicknesses caused by lack of nutrition.