Parents

How to Raise Vegan Kids


Conflicted Meat-Free Mom in Seattle writes, “I’m a vegetarian, and I have two young boys. Despite my many attempts to persuade him otherwise, my husband insists that our boys continue to eat meat! What can I do to convince him that eating meat is unhealthy? Help!”

First, congratulations on being vegetarian yourself and on wanting what is best for your two boys! I sincerely applaud you for your dedication. This is a tough situation because you and your husband share responsibility for raising your sons equally, but, of course, eating meat is not healthy. Plus, have you seen how cute vegan babies are? They’re so happy and healthy!

Often, spouses will start to listen if they hear something from a different source rather than from their husband or wife—I recommend that you order materials from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine about healthy vegetarian kids to show your husband that medical professionals back up your claims. You can also point out that, according to the American Dietetic Association, “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” Once your husband sees the facts about eating a healthy meat-free diet, it will be hard for him to disagree with you.

PETA offers great resources for kids, including The Kids’ Guide to Helping Animals, as well as free animal rights stickers. These are fun resources that will show your kids in a gentle way that they shouldn’t eat their furry friends. Incorporate yummy vegetarian snacks into their diets and see what they think. From chicken-free nuggets to vegan grilled cheese, there are so many cruelty-free options out there that your kids will never miss eating animals.

The Vegetarian Resource Group has a ton of useful information about raising vegetarian kids, and be sure to check out this article about the first year of raising a vegan baby, packed full of great resources. And don’t worry—you’re not the only mom who wants her kids to stop eating meat! The Vegan Mom is a great site maintained by a mother who wants to teach her kids compassion just like you.

The bottom line is that you and your husband need to work together to decide what is best for your kids. The advice adds up and shows that vegetarian kids are happy and healthy. So hopefully, with the help of a few resources and delicious home-cooked vegan meals, you can convince your husband of that too!

What do you think? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on and experiences raising vegetarian kids.

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  • Dionne commented on January 12, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I’m 17 & a newly vegetarian! I have not thought about what my future children will be, bc I assumed that it would be their decision! But reading this makes me want to raise my children with a healthy & vegetarian life style, until they are old enough to decide for themselves!

  • Q commented on January 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Who says meat is unhealthy? I don’t eat it, but it’s not bad for your body.

  • chrissy commented on January 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    vegan children are the best for the future and our planet, they look so happy and so very healthy they are gorgeous, vegetarian is good but vegan is better, because vegetarians still kill some animals it’s a good start but it’s not good for life

  • chrissy commented on January 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Q: good that you don’t eat meat you don’t need it, it’s bad for your body a human body was not physically meant to eat meat, clogs your arteries and then you may end up becoming a vegetable, it gives cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, arthritis, etc do you really want that shit in your life? why don’t you look it up on youtube learn something, we are killing the planet it is not dying, we are torturing, raping, and murdering innocent animals, and we are causing world hunger because people don’t have enough to eat because we are eating meat, the human body is naturally a herbivore

  • Karmah commented on January 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Hi Dionne, I’m so glad this article inspired you! As a longtime veg*n and animal advocate, I’m hoping I can add to what you’ve read here:

    I’ll never forget how disgusted, horrified and angry I was (at five) when those in charge of feeding me finally told me what ‘meat’ was. For all the years of my life before then, I had a mighty love for other animals, and was completely heartbroken by the idea that my mom was okay with their being killed for me to eat.

    Later, I went on to raise a lifelong vegetarian, who is such a beautiful, kind person, that when he saw the cruelty and injustice perpetuated by the milk and egg industries (at the age of 9), led our family into veganism. We have been vegan for nearly eight years, now, and have never regretted it.

    And, despite what selfish types may tell you, it really isn’t a “personal choice”, when it involves the torment, torture, death, loss, and suffering of so many others.

    My advice to you is, study up, know your stuff (the veg community is bursting with info. on health and nutrition, check out nutritionfacts.org or drmcdougall.com), and know, that if you’re raising veg kids, you’re raising heroes! And you’ll be a hero, too:)

  • Marie commented on January 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    My partner loves his meat and with me being vegan Im slowly incorporating more nutritional meals into his dinners, by having 2 meat free nights, green smoothies for breakkie, and have swapped him onto almond milk. Also for days where he does eat animal products I will only purchase organic free range and in smaller quantities so its still affordable for our budget. Little things can make a big difference and although I doubt he will ever be vegan/vegetarian he said he feels alot better about these choices.

  • Keylon commented on January 29, 2012 at 3:37 am

    I just hope whoever witers these keeps writing more!

  • Leslie commented on February 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks for all the great info !

  • Erin commented on February 24, 2012 at 11:58 am

    My husband is the same way. I am a new vegetarian/itching-to-be vegan. One of my sons really likes meat and doesn’t like veggies so much, but loves fruit. My other son doesn’t like meat, loves veggies and not so much fruit. My husband is really about letting them make their own choices. I am fine with that, for now. Once they are old enough to handle the truth about meat, I will tell them. I just hope I don’t traumatize them :( I would love for them to drink dairy-alternative milk, but they just won’t budge. I am doing my best to cut it out. My biggest challenge has been eggs. I love bread and pastry, so for now, I am a vegetarian. I hope my kids can make a good choice. Also, my husband has been trying my vegetarian dishes, and he actually likes them!! *fingers crossed* On the bad side, he doesn’t take into account animal testing, him and his mother are kind of ignorant about it. His mom has stated several times ” I won’t use anything UNLESS it’s been tested on animals FIRST!” Then they laugh and I just frown and turn away. She has at least been slightly tolerable about me not eating meat. :)

  • kjbennett81 commented on February 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    My fiance and I are getting married next month. I became a vegetarian last year and he has been very supportive, but is still a carnivore. I am so happy to announce that after a year, we are having 1-3 nights a week of meatless meals, only use Almond milk, and he has several veggie meat preferences over meat products. He acknowedges that I wish for our kids to be brought up vegetarian and is ok with it. I will have to just continue convincing his mother who has expressed her opinion in this area more than once.

  • A commented on December 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    6 years ago I became vegan – probably the most transforming change I have ever made. My life has improved in so many ways. 5 years ago I fell in love with a full-fledged carnivore. As we grew and learned together, he changed from eating fast food to homemade, grocery store meat to organic, humanely raised. 2 years ago we welcomed the worlds most perfect baby boy into our lives, after a very smooth, healthy vegan pregnancy. Seeing our son grow and thrive, one year ago my partner decided he wanted to be a better role model, and stopped eating meat completely. Now he is practically vegan by default since that is how I cook, just adding a sprinkle of parm here or there. At the beginning of this journey I was the only vegan I knew and the only vegetarian in my family. I often felt alone, and like I could never make a difference. Now, looking at my beautiful, healthy, happy veg family… I feel so overwhelmed with happiness and pride. My son, who has never had a taste of meat or egg in his life and is about 98% dairy free, is one of the healthiest kids I know. No allergies. No illnesses. He didn’t get his first cold until he was a year old. Oh and did I mention he is brilliant? He will be two next month and was evaluated recently – he shocked the evaluators by answering questions at level of a 4.5 year old.