My 12yr son is wanting to be a vegetarian...

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wahinetoa62, May 31, 9:14am
he said he is against the killing of animals and therefore wants to stop eating meat and in time meat products... so is there anyone else who has a pre teen who is vegetarian? what are the main things that he will need in his diet so he gets the required minerals etc to be healthy? any good recipes will be appreciated also. . thanks

frances1266, May 31, 9:36am
Will bump up veg recipe threads for you.

rog.e, May 31, 9:49am
Your library will have vooks on Vegetarianism and vegetarian recipes.

We were all non-meat eaters for years here and did a course in Vegetarian Healthy living with the 7th Day Adventist Church. It was worthwhile learning as much as possible for mytwo teens.

uli, May 31, 10:04am
wahinetoa62 - it is quite different being a vegetarian if you are an adult compared to trying to bring up a kid without meat - and so without animal fats.

Animal fats are essential to healthy growth - maybe you can get Lierre Keiths book "The Vegetarian Myth" from your library. It covers all the basic presumptions and health myths like soy etc.

Lots of people on here will tell you that you can be a healthy vegetarian or even vegan - however in the long run it is not so easy and most people get sick after a while on a restricted diet and have to take lots of supplements at the very least.

Try and educate yourself as good as you can and also let your son read some of those books. It will have to be his decision what he is going to do to his body as much as yours as a parent.

beaker59, May 31, 11:11am
Having raised 6 kids including 3 boys I reckon it won't last long cook special food if you wish but I would make him cook his own and it won't be long of boring food while the rest of the family sit down to a nice roast beef or similar and he will change his mind. In a couple of years he will be eating everything in the house its what teenage boys do. If he sticks with it then he is genuine and he will learn to cook great meals and may even bring you into the Vegan fold (because that is where he is heading by the sound of it). Biggest thing is Dont fall into the trap of cooking special meals or you will end up cooking special meals for everyone.

anna787, May 31, 12:05pm
i have recently converted and done alot of reading, there is not too much to worry about, despite what is commonly believed protein is not such an issue, he does need iron though vegetarian sources include green veges and seeds/nuts, beans and cereal best served with vitamin c to help absorb this can be done with red/yellow pepper, tomatoes, potatoes/kumara or a glass of orange juice.

I think its great u r supporting your son with this decision, but make sure its not too much more work for you encourage him to learn to cook some of his own meals, and maybe have some meatless meals for the whole family sometimes

frances1266, May 31, 8:36pm
Uli has an obsession with vegetarians. Every veg thread and there she is. She thinks diets should include pork fat, lots of meat, cream etc and is healthy. Dr Weston Price (he was a dentist not a dr) who is promoted as a guru of high fat diets sent his family a letter saying a vegan diet is the healthiest of all.
Commonsense and heaps of research show that a vegetarian/vegan diet is healthiest of all. The Seventh Day Adventists have researched health for years and they promote a veg diet.

ruby19, May 31, 9:33pm
I have never eaten fish, and not eaten meat for probably 30 years, I am in my early 40`s. I don`t drink milk, nor would I eat eggs when I could taste them. No moral reason, just really don`t like the taste texture of meat or fish. Really don`t like the taste of eggs or milk. However I do use eggs & milk in cooking, ie cheese sauces, or savoury custards and baking. I would say variety is the best option, to ensure he is eating well, don`t fall into the trap of pre made foods, not that there are many available in NZ.
I have had no adverse problems, if anything amoungst my group of freinds & family, I am probably the healthiest. I do think everyones body reacts differently. Try dropping out the meats or even just red meat to start and see how he feels, he might change his mind to eating organic chickens etc.

fmgirl, May 31, 10:46pm
If you are looking for nutritious and easy to prepare vegetarian meals that the whole family will like I highly recommend Simon and Alison Holsts Meals without Meat cook book - the recipes are simple and you could as someone suggested have a couple of meat free meals each week.
I have a vegetarian friend who gave up meat around the same time as your son, and she's been vege ever since - its not always a passing phase.

fmgirl, May 31, 10:49pm
Another way to go about it is to look at ethnic foods that are based on meat free dishes - indian curries, mexican beans even chinese with tofu etc.
I'm not a vegetarian but have had times in my life where meat wasn't on the menu - mostly for economic reasons as I found eating vegetarian a lot cheaper at the supermarket.

jan2242, May 31, 11:30pm
I am not a vegetarian by any means but Alison's book is really good and worth having - very tasty meals and I use it often.

bedazzledjewels, Jun 1, 12:11am
Perhaps you could steer his interests in animal welfare to groups like RSPCA rather than endangering his health at this critical age for physical and mental development? Just a thought.
Also, you are the adult and the parent - and I suppose the cook in your household. You make these decisions not him.

hezwez, Jun 1, 1:12am
When a young person develops their own thoughts about ethical and moral issues, I feel they need to be supported in their choices. Otherwise the adult/parent is forcing their views on the young person. The adult/parent role is in guiding, debating, discussing IMHO, not forcing a young person to eat what they don't wish to. It may be a passing phase. If you really want him to dig his toes in, force feed him. (And carry that intractable attitude into alcohol, dating, driving, curfews, STD's etc. and see where it gets you)

frances1266, Jun 1, 4:22am
'endangering his health for physical and mental development"
What a lot of garbage. Vegetarians from trial after trial shows vegetarians are healthier and more intelligent.

elliehen, Jun 1, 4:30am
Good points raised. There are a few posts further up in the thread which suggest household cultures rather hostile to young people...

bedazzledjewels, Jun 1, 4:49am
Lol Frances, thanks for the laugh.

sharn666, Jun 1, 5:13am
#14 I agree, he is of the age where he can start to make his own decisions. Get him researching about being vegeitarian and any good and bad points that go with it, let him learn about meal planning, get him finding and cooking recipies etc. It may/not last but at least he is learning in the process, especially about making informed choices!

ferita, Jun 1, 5:15am

ferita, Jun 1, 5:28am
This is why you are wrong
1) There is no difference in kids being vegetarians. If vegetarianism was so unhealthy for kids then why are they not in hospital? Why is there not a public outcry about it? Why do seventh day adventist who are mostly vegetarians live longer? And why are not all the SDA kids in hospital for malnutrition?

2) Being a vegetarian does not mean you do not eat animal fats. vegetarians eat cream, butter, cheese and all are full of animal fats. Stop being so naive and ignorant about vegetarians.

3) The book you mention is called vegetarian myths yet the book is about vegans not vegetarians. The book has nothing really at all to do with vegetarians and I think the myth is the title of the book. Its an absurd book full of flawed thinking

ruby19, Jun 1, 6:25am
#1, When you get into meat free cooking you will see there are really so many wonderful options available to you. Most meat dishes can be made meat free. Curries, stir fries lasagne etc, mousakka, stroganoff, casseroles, meat"free"loaf, pies, quiche, tortilla and the list goes on... . My house hold tonight are having chicken parmigiana, well, I am having mushroom parmigiana. So same meal just meat free! Some of my families favourite meals are meat free. Also I have never in the 30 odd years I have not eaten meat taken any vitamins, not even as a teenager.

wahinetoa62, Jun 1, 6:36am
thank you for the support guys much appreciated... I spoke to my son and although there are some foods he is not fussed on such as nuts he is adamant he wants to go vegetarian and will eat whatever he needs to be healthy so that will include nuts and seeds. He is a very bright boy and well advanced for his years. He is the youngest of my brood. I went to the library today and got some books out so we can all have 2 or 3 vegetarian meals a week. As we all want to be healthier and lose some weight we are all now excited about the change of foods. Just learning new habits of shopping and cooking really.

lx4000, Jun 1, 7:59am
tinned chopped tomatoes in juice, chopped onion, sliced courgettes, mushrooms chopped, green beans, broc, cauli, frozen corn.

Place in deep oven proof dish and mix in 1 tin of water + some, tomato paste (heaps to taste), salt and pepper.

Cover with your fav dry pasta (yes uncooked! )

Pour over the top a thick cheese leek sauce (made with the leek and other veggie water it was cooked in)

Spread over some grated cheese and bake!

Bake for an hour or so.

ruby19, Jun 1, 8:03pm
Wahinetoa, as mentioned above the Hoslt`s books are great, with practical ingredients. I use the BBC Goodfood web site alot. I will try and post some recipes of the kids/ family favourite meals, tomorrow as I am off.

tixy, Jun 2, 2:36am
I learnt lots of excellent vegetarian meals by doing night courses at local high schools. A set of Hare Krishna courses were invaluable for me in the fact that they introduced me to all the legumes that I hadn't cooked with before - they took the scare factor out of buying & cooking unfamiliar ingredients (oh, and they are really affordable too).
We are not vego - indeed I grow our own meat, but we still enjoy meat-free meals, variety being the spice of life and all!

yjeva, Jun 2, 2:45am
I have not heard of anyone becoming sick by being on a vegetarian diet. Vegetarianism is not a "restricted" diet and there are plenty of foods that can replace the nutrients of meat.