Converting kid to vegan?
I need some help here from fellow vegan moms.
I am a single mom who works full time. My son goes to daycare full time and has since he was 1. He is 4 now. I recently converted to veganism, but haven't converted my son yet. He eats vegan at home, but not at daycare or at his father's house.
Now there is nothing I can do about his father's house, he is going to eat all the nasty Sh*** that his father feeds him. I have no choice in that, it isn't worth fighting about. That is only every other weekend.
What I do have a choice is daycare. He does eat the daycare food, but I mandate that he drinks soymilk instead of cow's milk while there. This has always been so. But he eats meat while there, and whatever dairy is in the food. What I was doing is taking my time with the transition. At home we only eat vegan, I only eat vegan. I was going to establish the habit of eating a vegan diet, get comfortable with it before worrying about what my son eats at daycare.
But something is beginning to happen I didn't anticipate. My son isn't eating at home much anymore. He used to eat like crazy at home, but now he is beginning to only eat light meals, but when he goes to daycare he pigs out on meat and the crap they serve there! His teacher told me today that yesterday he had 3 servings of chicken and noodles, and last night he didn't eat any dinner at all at home! And this morning he hardly ate anything, but as soon as he got to daycare he told his teacher that he was hungry (they serve breakfast, usually a bready thing but I am sure it has eggs and dairy).
Now maybe it is just a phase? I was thinking about packing his lunch, but doing it slowly. Maybe next week I will just pack Monday's lunch, and the rest of the week will be daycare's food? Just to see how he handles eating something different then the other kids when he has always eaten what everybody else eats.
How would you handle it? Should I even worry about it?
My son is now 6 1/2 years old and has been vegan since birth. Like you, I work full-time and have a shared custody arrangement with my son's father (every other weekend and one other day per week). When my son began nursery school I simply packed his lunches every day and still do even though his elementary school has a lunch program. I also keep vegan snacks on hand at his school (fruit leathers, mixed nuts, and the occassional Clif or Luna bar). If there is a special occassion (birthdays, class parties, etc) that means that the students would receive special treats like cakes or cookies then I just bring in a special item for my son or take him for frozen "yogurt" after school (where we live has many dairy-free sorbet options).
I don't know what your custody arrangment is but you should be able to tell the daycare that as of this day forward that your son is not to have any meat/dairy/egg/whatever. They need to abide by your instruction as long as you offer him a nutritionally-balanced meal each day. I would recommend picking out a fun bento-style lunchbox with your son so that he feels involved in the process and then make him the most enticing meals that you can throughout the week. My son has 2 lunchpails: one has a thermos and 2 smaller containers for soups and other hot meals (such as beans and rice or vegetable dumplings) and the other is a metal "tiffin" which is good for pizza and sandwiches. Having 2 lunchpails also means that I don't have to wash the same one every day.
Good luck! And feel free to message me directly if you have questions or just need some more support.
Best to you,