“MOM, I can’t STAND to be around you and dad any more…
YOU THINK YOU ARE ALWAYS RIGHT!”
“MOM, I think I’LL become a witch (or vampire), file my teeth into points, and ONLY wear black!”
“Hey, MOM, I think I’ll become a VEGETARIAN!” IS REALLY NOT SO BAD!
I don’t know about YOU moms and dads out there, but EVERY one of my three girls came up with this announcement at the dinner table at least once during their pre-teen or early teen years. My first response was “That’s fine, daughter-of-mine, but you’ve GOT TO LEARN to EAT MORE BEANS first! (NONE of them really liked any type of beans!) That usually put some different thoughts into their head. The only one I totally ignored was the one who follower her announce with “But I LIKE meat too much!”
With the state of today’s eating habits (most of Americans not coming even close to the recommended daily vegetable or fruit servings), it might actually be a good thing for our kids to learn the real nutritional value of “veggies.”
The big deal is to make sure your kids don’t think this is a “fast” fix. It involves education, planning, and ACTUAL COOKING! It’s NOT just grabbing the first “health-food” bar off the shelf for breakfast, and then a shake for lunch, and MAYBE a vegetarian frozen meal for dinner. Bags of snacks are often vegan and even gluten-free, but do not a healthy diet make!
Make sure they know it involves learning how to combine foods to complete the nutrition their body REQUIRES to keep growing, developing, healing, and maturing as a healthy human! Help them do the research, and even read and learn along with them. I have one client who is not only vegetarian, but actually vegan (eating no products that come from animals…She is actually allergic to eggs)! Learning how to cook and plan for her crazy schedule (she is also OB-GYN doc—on call for whenever those babies come), and achieve her goals of body composition change has been a good learning experience for us both!
With the internet at our disposal, there is NO END (well, MAYBE, but not in my lifetime) to the possibilities of flavor combinations…Don’t let them settle for the “pretend” meat foods if they are really serious! Learn with them! You may be amazed at what you like! Check out http://www.vrg.org/ or www.vegetariannutrtion.org to check out the vegetarian food pyramid, or some great recipes to add to your collection! There are even articles specifically on “How to raise a healthy vegetarian kid.”
One of my favorite things to supplement my food plan the last few weeks has been “Grilled Sesame Tofu” from one of the local salad bars! This week I am getting recipes and trying to make it myself…It can’t be THAT hard! (Like my daughter, I still LIKE meat…It does not have to be my only source of good protein.)
Linda Cook BS, CPT, CMES 937-369-7363 cell 937-748-9905 office email@example.com