vegan parenting chit-chat
There are often questions that pop up about feeding toddlers, or dealing with relatives, etc. I thought it would be nice to have an all-inclusive thread for us parents to share tips and recipes, or just let off some steam. Eh?
Here's my vegan lunchbox rip-off: what my kid ate today
B-husband made french toast for her while I was grocery shopping
L-this sandwich http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/10985?section= potato and green bean salad, cherries, chips, a brownie(we had a picnic with my parents)
Early dinner/snack- half a bagel with almond butter, pudding
I'm sure she'll have a bedtime snack later
yay! good idea. i don't have much to add now, but i wanted to get on the train. choo-choo.
nmpixie, your kid ate better than mine. I don't even want to go back and think what they ate. Lots of fruit, granola bars, noodles. Not one of our best days, but we went to the farmer's market this afternoon so we've got lots of goodies for the week ahead!
I'd love to jump on this thread.
NB: my kid is not vegan. He's an omnivore with a well-balanced, well-considered diet.
Today we played out on the porch with a bucket of water. It was 96 balmy degrees, so Baby was clothes-free for most of the day. He's still learning to walk, so I can't really take him to the fountains or anything to play yet ... crawling on the pavement shreds his knees, and making him wear long pants in this weather seems cruel.
when layla and i were in the same state, she was a vegetarian (not vegan, but vegetarian). that was what heidi and i decided on. but then when she moved to michigan and heidi's mom was watching her a lot, she started feeding layla meat. it made heidi mad but now she'll feed layla meat (heidi is NOT a vegetarian... it was just for me). layla doesn't like meat much. she likes some... but hates beef, pork, and most other meats. she likes chicken nuggets. i bet she'd like the bocca chik'n nuggets just as much or better. perhaps we can get her diet more balanced when she can spend more time with me. i've never fed her meat. she mostly ate vegan with me (we shared meals) but i'd also feed her things like mac n cheese because she liked it and she isn't vegan. back then i didn't have my own kitchen. i was living with my parents and had limited space for foods and my diet suffered for it. now her diet would be ten times better at least if she was able to stay with me. oh, i'm excited for those days again!
as far as brittney and me... we've discussed this. if we have kids (it will be through adoption as neither of us wish to have things kicking our bladders through our uteran walls) we definitely want to raise the child vegetarian. if brittney is vegan at that point, then the kid would probably be vegan too. if she's still ovo-lacto, then the kid will probably be ovo-lacto as well, but mostly vegan. brittney eats mainly vegan but when we don't eat together she does not avoid her cheese. i dunno. it's hard for me to justify ovo-lacto instead of vegan health-wise since i don't believe it's healthy at all... but i guess we'll figure it out more when we're actually there.
i could definitely NOT feed my young children meat.
ALTHOUGH once my kids reach an age where they can fully understand where meat and animal products come from, what they are supporting, and the things involved, if they make the decision to stray from the vegetarian diet then i will respect that just as my parents respected my decision at four to become vegetarian.
i don't believe it would be right for me to force my diet on them just because of my morals. i would hope they would have similar views, but if they don't then i will have to respect it.
also, it would be a little strange if you were a nine year old kid who grew up eating meats and cheeses and then you were adopted and your new mothers told you that you'd never eat them again... or at least not for the next nine years. sorta harsh. if we got a super young one i think the transition would be easier on them.
For us, the hard thing was once the kids started school. When they were little, I was vegan and DH was ovo-lacto. The only animal product they ever ate was cheese on pizza. But I couldn't believe the amount of treats, junk, etc... they were given to eat in public school. Room mothers threw parties at the drop of a hat--they even had one for Elvis' birthday when DD was in kindergarten! School friends would invite the kids over and serve dairy foods at their homes. I felt like a food Nazi (and I know some of the parents already thought I was just for keeping the kids away from meat) and decided dairy and eggs were a reasonable compromise when they were away from home...but they also quickly developed a taste for junk food, candy, chips, all things we'd mostly avoided at home (and still try to).
The outcome was that they are now 17 and 13 and are ovo-lacto vegetarians (and I've gone back to that, too, though most of my cooking is still vegan, we use soymilk instead of cow's milk, etc...)with a craving for junk food and are pretty picky about the healthy stuff. We struggle. They don't like much of what DH and I eat, and they don't tend to even like the foods each other like. They are not as big on fruit as they were as little ones, either.
DS loves the gluten ribs I learned to make on this site (yay! :)>>>), pizza and lasagna with cheese, sometimes spaghetti and sauce under duress. I sneak huge amounts of boiled, pureed carrots into his pizza sauce for a veggie boost, and he guzzles calcium fortified orange juice.
DD is a fiend for fatty foods. I find her online drooling over photos of cupcakes and pies. She likes a wider range of foods (including artichokes!) than her brother but won't eat foods with tomato sauce on them. Hates gluten ribs. At least she loves salads.
The only thing she and her brother agree on are Asian noodle dishes, though DS tends to pick out the veggies, and tofu sate with peanut dipping sauce.
And it was all going so well until they started school--how have others handled the transition where home eating collided with the typical American "diet"?
I don't know...despite all the trouble we've had with junk food, and the establishment of cheese as a regular part of their diets, my kids remain committed vegetarians at 13 and 17. I wonder how many children raised from birth as vegetarians rebel and eat meat in their teens? I suspect not so many. The idea of eating meat is just incomprehensible to mine, and they adore animals.
Anyway, I'd love to see statistics on it. It helps that being a vegetarian is fairly "cool" to teens right now. DD complained that half her lunch table now professes to be "vegetarian", too...because they like salad! It's almost like the omnis are trying to fit in with DD. DS's best buds eat meat but also eat our veg food. One occasionally brings a burger with him. Only the dogs find that tempting...
school was always a worry for me. i know that schools preach the "need" for dairy and meats. and i know from personal experience that they are required to make you get those items on your lunch tray. i was a vegetarian and they made me get the meat items, but i could request them on the side. my mom talked to them about maybe letting me get more of a veggie side instead of the meat item and they said it wasn't that easy... that they were required by law (because of the "food pyramid") to serve it. so i traded with people.
but how do you explain that sort of thing to your super young child? especially if vegetarianism wasn't initially their choice, just the way they were brought up? for me, it was my decision and i felt so strongly about it there was no other option... but i think if it had not been that way, i might have slipped sometimes. and there were always those tricky items that i didn't necessarily know were meat (for the longest time i didn't know hotdogs were meat and i think my parents just let me think that they weren't... so although i became vegetarian when i was four, i occasionally ate hotdogs, out of ignorance, until i was about seven). i didn't know jello and marshmallows weren't vegetarian until someone told me when i was nine! i was in girl scouts and one of my fellow troop members saw me eating a marshmallow and was like, "i thought you were vegetarian? that's made from horses!" oh, i was appalled.
one argument for the ovo-lacto instead of vegan (for our kids, if we have any) would be that we wouldn't want them to be sick if they went to a birthday party and ate cake. i know how i feel if i accidentally eat dairy, and i don't want them to feel that way. but at the same time, that would mean i'd have to feed them something that i feel is totally unhealthy and unnecessary. i just don't know if i could.
I wonder how many children raised from birth as vegetarians rebel and eat meat in their teens? I suspect not so many. (...)
Anyway, I'd love to see statistics on it.
i went to school with at least three kids who i knew were raised vegetarian from birth. two of them remained strict vegetarians for as long as i knew them (graduation). one was raised vegan because her mother was vegan. i remember thinking that was just so cool, but then i saw her eating meat at lunch one day (this was in high school) and i questioned her. she IMMEDIATELY got super emotional and defensive and started saying that she hated that her mother forced her to be vegan and she didn't let her mom know that outside of home she wasn't even vegetarian because it would cause fights. like, her mood went from smiling to angry in just a split second. it was clearly a very touchy subject (i never questioned her again). but her attitude was sort of like, "i'm fifteen and i should be able to choose what i eat and just because my mother is a vegan that doesn't mean i should be forced to do it as well".
that was the moment i changed my mind about not allowing my kids to eat meat at all and amended it so that i will raise them as veg*ns, but once they are old enough to fully understand and make an informed choice then they can. i don't want them to resent me like that or to rebel and eat meat just to "show me" that they can do what they want. (animals shouldn't have to die for the sake of rebellion, you know?) maybe if it's more of their choice, they'll choose vegetarian and won't feel the need to "rebel"?
i think if my friend's mom had not pushed it so much, she probably wouldn't have been as fond of meat. but maybe not... she might just naturally like it.
Thanks for starting a great thread, NMPixie! I don't have time to read all of the great contributions (or make one of my own) yet, but I wanted to hop on the bandwagon!
Rainbowdust, I think I see a clue in your post...If a child feels *forced* to be veg*n, there may well be rebellion. Come to think of it, we were very clear once the kids were old enough to communicate with that they can decide what to do when offered meat, that if they really wanted to eat it or try it, it was up to them (of course we wouldn't have served it at home). By then they also understood that meat was a piece of an animal that someone had killed. And of course the kids were aware that it was totallly against our morals. DS is such a picky eater, he is never anxious to try *anything new*. DD would, but she seemed happy being veg.
(Junk food was another story.)
I don't know if we really thought hard about how to head off rebellion way back then... Maybe. But we tend not to parent in a dictatorial style anyway. There are certainly things the kids *must* do, but we don't force them into activities or try to make their lifestyle choices for them. Like this summer, DD13 went to a morning exercise class she hated because one of her friends (later two!) were being *forced* to participate and needed support. I can't imagine forcing my kid to go to something like that against her will. We'd just look for something active she *did* enjoy.
Reminds me of the time my mother signed me up for charm school as a pre-teen. Thank goodness it was cancelled for lack of interest!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I remain uncharming to this day...
i think you're charming. :)>>> or maybe i'm easily charmed...
yes, i definitely think that there is something to allowing them to choose for themselves. for example, my parents ALWAYS allowed my three siblings and me to drink. maybe not more than a sip but we were always allowed to try it. that made it not so appealing to sneak out to drink it. once i was in seventh grade i remember being able to actually have a full serving of a drink if i wanted one. i never once sneaked out of the house with friends to drink alcohol. i also never did drugs or smoked (but those i think were personal preferences since i dislike the idea of those yuckies being near me, much less IN me). but i wasn't a very rebellious teen... just a rainbowy one.
i'm glad to hear that your parenting is of the non dictatorial type. i think you'll find much more enjoyment in the teen years because of it!
Yay! Quintess, I always love reading your insights. You sound like you have it all together. As opposed to me, who occasionally serves pie for breakfast. ;)b
You're so sweet. You know, when people tell me that, I have to laugh!
But the one thing I've learned in all my years in the holistic health field is that even if you have pie for breakfast, you just even it out! It's all about the balance. Pie for breakfast? Kale for lunch! ;D
i think you're charming. :)>>> or maybe i'm easily charmed...
Aww, gee, thanks! :)
There's a limit to the theory, though. My parents let me drink quite a bit at home (I started on sips of beer at age 3). I was crazy about Old Crow whisky by age 12. I drank a lot in my teens. Now, in my 40's, I seldom drink at all, just a beer now and then when my dad is visiting. ;) Luckily, DH was never a drinker, and certainly I didn't want a lot of drinking going on around my kids. They've each sipped beer once in about junior high and were revolted by it.
i was totally revolted by beer as well when my dad had me chug one in seventh grade. i have never had beer since, other than sips of "good beer" which i don't think exists. pretty effective method to keep me from drinking it, i think. haha!
OK, I have a minute so I'm going to share some things that worked the other day...
The other day I was taking care of another child, so I had both my daughter and her friend (both age 6). When it came time for lunch, I served noodles, tofu cubes, carrots, salad, and cherries.
So what was interesting was:
*They didn't want carrots at first. However, when I made them into carrot "pennies" they couldn't get enough and were shoveling them!! Carrot pennies=peeled, thinly sliced carrot rounds
*My daughter's friend didn't want tofu until she saw how much my daughter loved it. Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing!
*Giving them their foods in small portions seemed to help. That way they had a nice variety and ate up what they had easily. They wanted more of almost everything.
*Popcorn makes a great snack, and they also liked the frozen grapes I gave them. (just freeze whole, clean seedless grapes and eat frozen--surprisingly good!)
That's all for now...feeding kids healthy foods is always a challenge so again, thanks for this thread!
OH, I almost forgot...
Find a salad dressing that your child loves. It will make or break their salad eating habit! They also seem to go through phases. Right now my daughter is into Italian vinaigrettes (which is great, because I never thought she'd stray from sweet dressings)!
Here are a few that have worked for little ones I've cared for and/or my daughter:
sweet poppyseed dressing
from my cookbook: light balsamic dressing, ginger magic, got dressing, and creamy dreamy miso dressing
Oh, yeah, I love frozen grapes! I had forgotten about them. Frozen peas are great, too. My kids loved them as toddlers. Frozen corn, too.
we LOVE to eat frozen corn. we eat it while watching tv like it's popcorn. sometimes we sprinkle a tad bit of salt on it, but it's good without it too.