By Aviva Goldfarb | August 26, 2015
If your child decided to become a vegetarian, would you be a) Shocked? b) Thrilled? c) Horrified? d) Overwhelmed?
When our daughter Celia was young, her favorite meal was steak. I’m not a big meat eater and as the main family cook, I only made meat a couple of times a week. But if Celia had her way, our dinners would have alternated between steak, pasta and chicken drumsticks.
When Celia was 10, she dabbled in vegetarianism, inspired by a close friend and her own love of animals. When she was 11, she swore off meat and fish completely. This was a pretty big surprise to us considering how much she enjoyed meat when she was younger. Now 16, Celia hasn’t eaten a bite of meat in 5 years.
When a child decides to become a vegetarian, many parents react with dismay. Two of my friends at first told their daughters that they could not give up meat because it would be too hard to cook for them. It doesn’t surprise me that both of those girls are vegetarians today. It’s hard to dictate what another person can and can’t eat.
Other parents are cautiously supportive but nervous that they will have to cook two meals every night, and concerned that they don’t know how to cook enough meatless recipes to keep their children well nourished. Or, they may worry that their children won’t eat beans, nuts, eggs, tofu, and other sources of protein that vegetarians need for a balanced diet.
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