A Problem Shared: My Son Wants To Be Vegetarian

A Problem Shared Health | by | 26th Aug 2016

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Her son wants to be vegetarian. Yet Katrina from Neath Port Talbot is wondering if it’s just a phase. Do you have any advice for this week’s A Problem Shared…?

If you have an issue that you wish to share with the FamilyPoint Community, as well as get aanswer from one of our trained and experienced helpline adviser advocates, then click here.

My son, who’s 7, recently announced to us that he is now a vegetarian. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. He has constantly been complaining that he doesn’t like meat, and especially complains about having to eat meat in school.

He’s noticed that some children are given a different option in school, which he would prefer. Yet he’s been told he can’t have it because that option is for vegetarians only. I’m just wondering does he really want to turn veggie or does he just prefer to have the other option at school?

Vegetables for vegetarian child article

When we have dinner at home he has never been good at eating meat, the type you get in Sunday lunches, but he really enjoyed sausages, chicken nuggets and that kind of meat. I’m worried that he won’t get all the nutrients he needs if he doesn’t eat meat, surely this is important as he is still growing?

It is going to be such a pain having to prepare different meals for him, while I’ll still be serving up meat to his sisters. What if they suddenly decide to turn vegetarian like their big brother? Should I insist that he still eats meat or allow him to turn vegetarian and see if it’s just a phase?

Our FamilyPoint advice to Katrina

Hi Katrina,

Thank you for contacting FamilyPoint. It is so good that you are taking your 7 year old son seriously about becoming vegetarian. It is also good that along with this you are taking the time to look at the bigger picture an the knock-on effects to the rest of the family.

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I can see that you are at a bit of a dilemma with this situation. You say you have been expecting it over time, as your son has been struggling with eating meat for a while now. If he is not eating it in school then he may not actually be getting the goodness that he needs anyway.

Maybe it is the texture of the meat, rather than the meat itself? You say he enjoys chicken nuggets and sausages, so it might be worth trying fish as an alternative for some meals.

There are many ways of your son getting the right amount of nutrients if you do decide to allow him to follow a vegetarian diet. There are some ideas in the link below, and when done right, it may not be so difficult to prepare meals.

Plates of food for vegetarian article

Nutritionist and author Sally Child states “Nutrients most likely to be in short supply for vegetarians are iron and protein. Increase foods with pulses, beans, nuts and seeds if they are not allergic. Quorn is a good low fat option for replacing protein. Iron is found in fresh green vegetables and lentils, which can be hidden in stews and soups.”

vegetarian pancakes

Image credit: The Vegetarian Society Facebook Page

The Vegetarian Society provides lots of useful resources including help with recipes for children that the whole family might also enjoy.

At the moment I would not worry about the younger siblings wanting to also become vegetarians. Instead just work with what you have in front of you. As you say yourself, this may be a phase. So it may be an idea just to go with it and see how it goes.

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If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday – Thursday 6pm – 10pm and Friday & Saturday 10am – 2pm.


The FamilyPoint Cymru Team

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