Whether you’re vegetarian yourself and wish to bring up your children the same way, or are a committed meat-eater, but with a vegetarian child in the family, helping your kids to eat a healthy, balanced diet is entirely possible.
With National Vegetarian Week coming up from 24-30 May, The Vegetarian Society (VegSoc) have released some veggie myth-busters, which should help to reassure any parents concerned about their child embarking on a vegetarian diet;
Veggie myth-busters for 2010
There are a few myths that do the rounds about veggies – the Vegetarian Society would like to kick them into touch during National Vegetarian Week.
Poor protein – wrong!
Protein is available in all foods (apart from refined white sugar and some oils) and your protein needs are automatically met by a balanced, varied diet. Meat does provide protein, however it is only one source. Nuts, beans, eggs,soya products, pulses and dairy products are all excellent sources of protein.
Weak and feeble, lacking in iron –wrong!
A lack of iron is one of the most common problems in a typical British diet. It is just as much a nutritional problem for meat eaters as it is for veggies and research shows that veggies are no more prone to iron deficiency than meat eaters! Even meat eaters get 86% of their iron from vegetarian sources.
Being veggie is unnatural – who says?
Arguing that an action is natural can be quite problematic. A common argument used by meat-eaters is that because we have canine teeth this is evidence that we have been ‘designed’ to eat meat. Meat eating animals have sharp claws and, since they have to kill mainly with their teeth, possess powerful jaws and pointed, elongated, “canine” teeth to pierce tough skin and to spear and tear flesh. They do NOT have flat, back teeth like us which vegetarian animals need for grinding their food. As for our sharp teeth, gorillas are entirely vegetarian – as are almost all primates – and yet have far longer and sharper canine teeth than human beings!
Having to cater for vegetarian children needn’t be a chore. Check out some of VegSoc’s tips for easy veggie eating;
Tips for easy veggie eating
- Make extra dinner and eat for lunch the next day. This is also a great way to save money.
- Have a protein-rich dip or spread in the fridge ready to combine with rye crackers, oatcakes or
- vegetable sticks.
- Plan ahead. Make up 3-day menus with shopping lists so you can just pick one up and stock up
- at speed.
- Make a big pot of lentil and vegetable soup and freeze so a fast and nutritious meal is never far
- Frozen vegetables keep most of their nutrients; some are even higher than when fresh. Even if you have no fresh vegetables left you can knock up a healthy stew with tinned tomatoes and beans, frozen veg and dried herbs.
There are plenty more top tips and delicious child-friendly veggie recipes to explore in The Vegetarian Society’s special leaflet Veggie Kids’ Kitchen. To donwload a copy click the image below. You can also visit http://www.youngveggie.org/recipes.html for even more helpful information and recipes.
How about you? If you have any top tips for feeding veggie kids, let us know in the comments below.