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Should you raise your children as vegetarians?
There are pros and cons to raising children as vegetarians. Whereas most parents will have a vegetarian recipe or two in their repertoire, most children in the western world are brought up eating meat. If you’re considering making vegetarian recipes the only recipes served in your home, here’s some advice to help you make an informed choice.
- Will be protected from the potential damage caused by hormones and drugs found in some meat products
- Are unlikely to get food poisoning from plant foods
- Tend to have a greater understanding of nutrition and a healthier diet containing a lower amount of saturated fat and cholesterol and a higher amount of fibre
- Are less likely to be overweight
- May be more in tune with nature and better informed about animal cruelty
- Vegan children won’t suffer from allergies to common culprits such as seafood, eggs and milk.
- May find it harder to get the recommended amounts of essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B and D needed for proper growth and brain development
- Could lack protein, iron– and if they’re being brought up vegan, calcium – in their diet
- May feel left out at if they can’t eat what their friends are eating
- May be restricted when eating out at school, parties, playdates and at restaurants
It’s up to parents to decide if they should bring up their own children vegetarian and whether to let them make a choice to eat meat when they’re older, or vice-versa. If you do decide to raise your child as a veggie, ensure you have enough understanding of nutrition to provide a balanced meat-free diet, keeping in mind that kids have different requirements to adults.