So Your Kid Wants to Be a Vegetarian?

This can happen at any age but it is mostly kids between ten and sixteen that want to become vegetarians. There is sometimes a lot of pressure from schoolmates to not hurt animals by eating them. Sometimes the pressure comes from books like 'The Skinny Bitch Diet.' A child can get her hands on this and decide that the best way to stay rake thin all of her life is to simply eat nuts and seeds.

Kids that are ten to twelve are often very concerned with the environment and treatment of animals. Teens, particularly girls, tend to want to eat a vegan diet for self-image reasons.

Let your child know that you approve of her decision to become a vegetarian but at the same time make sure you sit down and plan a diet with the child.

Vegetarian diets can be missing protein, iron, vitamin B12 and calcium so be sure to provide supplementation if needed. You should also be aware that a vegetarian child may gain weight a lot quicker simply because they tend to eat less protein and more high carb foods like grains and breads.

One thing that might work for you is getting your child to 'Color Their Diet'. This teaches them to eat the dark and richly colored vegetables that are so good for them –
• Brown foods include whole grains like mahogany rice or whole wheat bread, figs, brown pears, walnuts, cinnamon, kidney beans or spelt noodles.
• Black foods include lentils, black soy beans or blackberries.
• Beige and White foods include jicama, golden quinoa, white beans, garbanzos beans, cauliflower, bananas, or sweet onions.
• Red foods include pomegranates, raspberries, red quinoa, beets or rhubarb.
• Yellow foods include pineapples, squash, or star fruit. Try spaghetti squash in place of white, refined spaghetti for added fiber, vitamins and immune-boosting.
• Blue foods include blueberries or blue corn chips.
• Purple foods include eggplant, red cabbage (which looks purple), blood oranges (which can be purple inside), and purple potatoes.
• Green foods include avocado, Swiss chard, cilantro, sugar snap, Brussels sprouts, peas, or kiwis.
• Orange foods include mango, oranges, pumpkin, orange baby tomatoes, sweet potato and apricots.

The idea is to eat at least eight different colors of fruits and vegetables a day to stay healthy. Make sure that you have adequate vitamin supplementation on hand, particularly a supply of the B vitamins to keep your kid healthy.