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Thread: how do you explain to your children at toddler age that some people eat animals?

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    100% sure – I'm going vegan! yum's Avatar
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    Default how do you explain to your children at toddler age that some people eat animals?

    Hi all,

    hopefully i will be welcome here still. I use to be vegan, am veggie and my 18 month daughter is veggie. Am toying with the idea of us both being vegan but it's a major step for my daugters diet as she loves yogurt and cheese so need to be considered carefully. However, my mum and my bf around her unintentioanlly mention that they are going to have chicken tonight or fish for dinner and im mortified as i haven't explaoned to her that peope eat animals. I do not want her to think it's the norm and accpetable to eat animals. If people keep mentioning they had fish for dinner she will think that poeple eat fish.

    How do you teach your toddlers that some people eat animals and why we don't?

    yum (stephanie and sienna-rose 18 months)
    xx

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you explain to your children at toddler age that some people eat anim

    Hi Yum, hope you're well? Have you seen this thread? Some of those children are older but perhaps you can get some ideas

    http://www.veganforum.com/forums/sho...ldren-and-when

    This site mentions some books that may help http://www.veganfamily.co.uk/

  3. #3
    100% sure – I'm going vegan! yum's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you explain to your children at toddler age that some people eat anim

    That's brilliant thank you! It's difficult at nursery as i imagine the other children are told they have fish or chicken for their lunch but sienna knows these are regular animals we see out and about not on your plate. All abit of hoop to jump through as it's 100% important she understands. i really want her to think the way i do about this. thank you for the links xx

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    Default How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    Hi all

    I have been vegan for 6 months, and I have a 3-year-old son and a partner who are both omnis. My partner and I will be separating at some point in the not-too-distant future, and I have started to think about what I want our son to be eating when he's with me.

    Right now, I can't insist that our son be 100% vegan because my partner won't allow it. He is happy for me to be vegan and cooks vegan meals for us all 90% of the time, but he believes our son should be able to have meat and dairy in moderation if he wants it.

    In many ways, I agree that our son should be able to choose - but we're giving him meat when he's too young to understand where it comes from, and he LOVES animals. Surely this is just another way of removing the element of choice? I also dislike the idea of bringing meat and dairy into my home when I've moved out. Although I won't be able to prevent his dad from giving him non-vegan food, I don't really want him to have it when he's with me.

    The problem is, our son adores meat, cheese, and milk. He almost always kicks up some sort of fuss when offered a vegan meal (he says he doesn't like beans even when he hasn't tried them, and is always saying "Where's the chicken/beef/ham gone?"). We never give into his demands: instead, we simply say, "You can either eat that or go hungry." It doesn't seem to work. He hates most meat substitutes, except perhaps meat-free mince, and even that he will only tolerate occasionally. His father is an excellent cook and produces really tasty vegan food, so it's not like we're giving him a plate of broccoli and twigs, but he always turns his nose up. I'm getting a bit tired of fighting a losing battle every evening at the dinner table.

    Has anyone else found their children strongly resistant to vegan food? How did you overcome it?
    xox

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    Hide it!! I don't think you give him a steak, do you? Maybe start with things like shepherds pie and add proportionally more veg than mince. Any dishes that can hide veg well, really. Make veggie and meat burgers and slowly but surely phase the meat out. Tell him about the animals and how they have to suffer for our food (in simple words)..Maybe his taste buds will get used to veggies. Children are funny - it's not so much that they don't like veg but, like us, that they get addicted to dairy and meat. My mum didn't eat much veg when she was pregnant and when she was breastfeeding..so I never was a big fan of veg when I was a child. A childs taste buds need to be trained as early as possible..And forcing a kid to eat veg will only make it more resistant. Here are some nice child friendly veg recipes: http://www.thesneakychef.com/free_sn...ef_recipes.php

    They are not vegan but are a start into getting your kids to eat more veg..

    On a second thought..that link isn't too great..I think you can find better tips here: http://www.ivillage.co.uk/hiding-veg...od-stuff/81199

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    Hi, have you read the theory that young children are sort of "programmed" by evolution not to eat unfamiliar foods, but that if you keep sticking the food on their plate without comment (alongside what they normally eat) they will eventually accept it? (The reluctance to eat new foods is called neophobia and is supposed to have evolved to stop them getting poisoned if I remember correctly.)

    So maybe you could try just putting some of the vegan food beside his preferred food and see what happens. You would have to be quite patient though.

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    Hi there

    I think if you feel uncomfortable having meat and dairy in your house then you shouldn't have to have it. Fine if your partner is going to offer it but surely we bring up our children guided by our own morals until they are old enough to decide for themselves. My kids have all been vegetarian since birth and I've had some heated discussions with family members etc about that decision. I have always said that as they get older it is up to them but meat eaters don't seem to be able to get their heads around the fact that until that point I will choose for them. An family of atheists wouldn't be expected to take their kids to church or vice versa if they were Christian. For me, I am teaching them my values and will happily discuss it with them when the time comes!

    Do you think you could try and wean in some beans to more traditional dishes? Maybe add in some lentils to a pasta sauce or add them to veggie mince for a shepherds pie? I do think the more they're offered, it will help but it will take lots of perseverance. Also, if they know there is an meaty alternative in the cupboards I think they will hold out for that!

    We are having to put in a bit of effort to move a vegetarian 4 year old over to a vegan diet. She still asks for "proper" milk instead of soy and asks why we don't have any cheese. The understanding just isn't the same as my 7 year old has. I'm sticking to the idea that if it's not in the house, she can ask all she wants, she's not getting it!! We're almost 4 months in now and I do think it's getting easier.

    Also, I have lots of omni friends with omni kids who are such fussy eaters and are constantly refusing food and stressing their parents out. So it's not just a vegan problem

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    CuddlyChicken
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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

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    Last edited by CuddlyChicken; Jun 26th, 2012 at 11:36 AM.

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    My 4 y/o (born and raised ovo-lacto) has always been a bit of a fussy eater (crying himself sick if we tried to make him eat anything he didn't want to ), and was a major dairy-addict... I've made lots of 'cheesy' vegan recipes which have gone down well (nutritional yeast flakes, toffuti creme cheese, and redwoods melty cheezly, are great!)... I find hints of flavours in mixtures work well, for example, a chunk of cheezly on it's own does NOT taste like cheese (and none of us like it, but grated in a pasta sauce with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast works great, or grated and mixed with hummous in a sandwich is also yummy! Redwoods 'bacon' works chopped up small and sprinkled over pasta dishes or salads, but not on it's own... As for 'meaty' foods, have you tried different brands, the most popular in my house (with omni husband and 15y/o girl, and veg boys 10, 8 and 4) are Linda McCartney sausages and pies, redwoods southern-fried chicken style pieces, fry's schnitzels, and redwoods sage and onion slices... My guys will eat lentil-based bolognese/lasagne, and nut butters mixed with dark chocolate spread... When I went veggie as a kid, my mum used to 'swizz' up tofu with ripe bananas and vanilla for a high protein pudding, and of course now there's alpro deserts and yogurts (which my kids' omni friends love), and vegan ice-cream... Vegan pancakes are a doddle... And a blender makes it possible to disguise all sorts of things!

    He probably will be more fussy about the vegan foods he'll eat if he's always got the direct comparison of meat/dairy... Would his dad be ok about including some beans/lentils as well as veg etc into his meaty recipes - on health grounds - to make sure these foods become consistanly familiar in your son's diet?

    Good luck!

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    Thanks for the advice, everyone

    Unfortunately, since I'm a relatively new vegan, our son has been brought up to view meat as the "centrepiece" of any meal, and trying to change that view is proving very difficult. I have tried "hiding" veg in his food quite a lot, which works perfectly well if there is also meat on his plate (i.e. he'll happily submit to eating carrots/peas/broccoli/courgette if he can have chicken on his fork at the same time). When it's an entirely veggie meal, however, he starts looking for the "missing element" and kicks up a fuss. The only thing he'll submit to (without asking for some form of meat or poultry) is homemade soup.

    Greenjudy, I think that you're right in that kids get addicted to meat and dairy. And Jane, you make a good point: when he's got real meat to compare stuff to, vegan alternatives won't seem that appealing. The problem is, I'll be living with his dad until I can sort out my finances (which could take a while), so his access to meat won't lessen.

    I might do as you suggested and start to create more bean-based dishes. At the moment, I don't cook much as his dad is better at it, but perhaps the transition will be easier on him if I take more of a front-seat role in the kitchen. He will doubtless refuse to touch bean dishes at first, but hopefully if I keep producing them on my "cooking days", he'll get used to it.

    Going to try moroccan bean stew tomorrow...it's sweet and contains cinammon and ginger, plus raisins and a bit of apple juice, so hopefully it'll take. I'll let you know how he gets on! xox

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    Hi there, sorry to hear you're having a problem, I am a vegan for 5 years and have twin vegan boys , now five. I well know eating habits/ dislikes are a big challenge at this age at the best of times!To expect children to make a choice at this age on most things would be inappropriate and irresponsible when they do not have the knowledge to make their own choices. After all parents make choices for their children all the time, irrespective of the issue. Children learn their morality from an early age and the seeds are sown and diet is no exception, I have never had a problem with my boys asking for meat, dairy, non-vegan chocolate or ice- cream- they will walk past an ice cream van without batting an eye lid! Particulary now they have started school and seeing what other children eat at lunch time .Obviously they have been vegans from an early age before they could start to rebel! Its what you get them used to, so understandably you will have a bit of a challenge on your hands but it is surprising how kids will come around to your way of thought eventually with a bit of persisting. Perhaps , associating rewards with eating a particular food my help and a different reward for each food, also I found giving my boys the things they like the most such as vegan polony sandwiches in their lunch box everday goes down a treat and their lunch box always comes back home empty! Thats not to say they will eat all the vegan foods I give them but as long as they are getting a balanced vegan diet it does not matter if they are having the same foods everyday! ( and a far more balanced than most of their peers) . I agree with you in the fact that given children meat is removing the element of choice ( How would they react if you told them they were having a dead animal on their plate ? ) and enforcing a view that its ok to eat animals. After all children naturally love animals and know very little about how their food is produced. I think alot of it is age related particulary at 3 from my memory! its a battle of wills alot of the time and excerting their authoriting rather than the fact that they dislike something. Any way good luck with it all and hope you get the results !
    Last edited by herbert; Mar 1st, 2012 at 12:40 PM.

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    I have a 5 year old who is a veggie, I am a vegan and my partner is a veggie - I feed my daughter vegan and her dad feeds her veggie food, more often than not meals are vegan. As she gets older she is very proud to be a vegetarian and has started to make moves to being a vegan, has given up cows milk when she found out it was to feed baby cows. I would have liked her to be a full vegan but have compromised, it is not all lost though. Why not get your children involved with baking and cooking vegan food, in my experience children do like to try what they cook, you could bake vegan cakes, banana bread etc ....pasta bakes, lots of fresh fruit, pizza. Most food could be vegan and they wouldn't even know it....marmite sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, rice and veggies, cereals. I would stop using the word vegan and just concentrate on the food, take the pressure off and just silently introduce stuff. I agree with Herbert school lunch boxes are a good start apart from anything else thats the lunch they have with them and they will be hungry so in my experience will eat what you put in there unless they really hate it. good luck x

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    Just an update:

    I've started cooking more, and the little one has gradually stopped kicking up such a stink at mealtimes. If given the option, he would still rather devour an obscene amount of meat than tuck into veggies, but more often than not we are simply not giving him the option of meat.

    He's always been pretty good at eating raw veggies (broccoli, carrots, courgette, pepper, etc.) if he has houmous to dip them into, but now he's started eating vegetarian meals with a bit less cajoling/threatening (lol). The moroccan stew went down well (it was bulked up with veggies and butterbeans), but I'm still struggling to get him to even try any other beans or pulses. Compared to most other kids, he's very healthy and eats lots of vegetables and wholegrain bread/pasta - but, like most toddlers, his eye is immediately drawn to unfamiliar ingredients and he turns his nose up without even trying.

    I'm hoping to move out over the summer if possible, probably late August, so hopefully vegan foods will become more familiar when we're eating them every day. In terms of vitamins/mnerals (B12, calcium, zinc, etc.), what would you recommend? What toddler-friendly dishes are there with these vitamins in? Which supplements are best?
    xox
    xox

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

    Soya milk if fortified with calcium, marmite has B12, apart from that I think lots of green veggies, tofu for calcium. My daughter loves tofu, I just drain it, cut it into slices and grill it, sometimes with a bit of soya sauce once its started to crisp up and she will chomp on that with vegetables or noodles etc x

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    Default Re: How could I encourage my toddler to eat more vegan foods?

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    100% sure – I'm going vegan! yum's Avatar
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    Default how do you explain to your 2 year old why we don't eat animals?

    Hello, I haven't been on here for quite some time. Thought this would be a good place to ask for some advice. My daughter is 2 and is making a 'joke' about "ham yummy animal". I think my mum may have unintentionally told sienna what she was eating was animal but my daughters was not. Now my daughter is confused and laughing that her ham is an animal. But then i am quite strict saying firmly 'no, we do not eat animals' and i ask her why and she said 'friends'. How do you explain to a child that we do not eat animals but others do, who are close to us.

    How do i teach her why we do not eat animals? I would hate it if she asked to eat them. we don't talk about 'meat' in the house, only animals so as to not confuse the situation.

    please help
    xx
    Last edited by Korn; Jun 3rd, 2012 at 12:26 PM. Reason: This was the first post in a similar thread

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you explain to your 2 year old why we don't eat animals?

    (Do you remember that you, in 2011, asked the opposite question: "how do you explain to your children at toddler age that some people eat animals?"? ;-) I've just merged this new thread with your old and another thread...)


    Maybe you could just focus on that question from 2011, which IMO is what the question really is about, and say that you wonder why some people eat animals – since we don't need to and that nobody, human or animal, wants to die and become others' food?

    In my experience with kids, the fact that someone kills and eat animals is more of a mystery than the fact that someone doesn't do that. In general, kids at any age who asks such questions (which usually happens long after they are two) have no problem at all understanding why we don't want to do something which results in animals suffering.

    ETA: Are you a vegan now? You can still discuss this in the Going Vegan-section, but if you aren't a vegan, I'll change your account type for you until you (possibly) go vegan again...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Re: how do you explain to your children at toddler age that some people eat anim

    She seems very young to be making such a statement, are you sure no one is intentionally making a point of saying stuff like this around her? Maybe I'm wrong but I would be asking anyone looking after her to refrain from such negative statements and at home I would be teaching my child to love animals (which of course you do) and not to look on them as food.
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

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    Default Re: how do you explain to your children at toddler age that some people eat anim

    Hi everyone, I'm new in this forum and this is my first message, I couldn't help posting an answer to Yum after reading her problem as it is very clear for me: my daughter is going to be 3 next week and I've tried during this last year to change her eating habits into veggie and then vegan habits. And what I can tell you is that it is now when I am beginning to speak with her about animals as food, people who eat animals etc. What I mean is that a 2 or 3 y/o child's mind is too immature to understand that animals in a dish are dead animals. To begin with they do not understand what means "death", so that's why you have to explain it in a way that is more similar to how they think. My daughter, for instance, is always asking "what is that for?" (among many other things ) so that's why I think it is a good idea to tell her that "animals are for loving them not for eating them".

    I don't think your daughter really understands the whole meaning of it when she says "ham is animal", she's just probably repeating something she heard before. As for you, I think you shouldn't stress so much about it as it is just too soon. I would merely give her the meals I consider appropriate without making any comments about it, and besides that, bring up her in the love and respect for animals, and I'm sure things will work, as children have the great advantage that they have innocent and pure minds and they will undoubtedly understand the meaning of being vegan when they are old enough

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    Default Re: how do you explain to your children at toddler age that some people eat anim

    Hi everyone , I just wanted to reply to this thread with my experience . My two vegan boys are nearly six now and i quite agree with Medora. Children of 2/3 years have no comprehension of where food comes and the less emphasis placed on why you are given them vegan food the better as this can only add to confusion. My boys have been vegan most of their young lives and there was never any transion from converting from a meat/vegetarian diet to a vegan one so to them it is normal anyway. As my boys are now older they have become more aware of being vegans ( particarly now at school and being the only ones !) and always ask if food is vegan if they are offered any by anyone else. They are now asking more questions and replying in an age appropriate way that animals are living beings with feeling too and not our food seems to work well. I have also compiled an information folder for them full of appropriate information/stickers etc as well as some children's vegan books. Obviously the information given to them will increase as they get older. A question they have asked is why do other children eat animals and I reply that some children eat different things because that is what they are given and I will explain more to them as they get older without sounding as though I am persecuting their peers!
    Children have such innocent minds and naturally love animals so bringing them up with the vegan lifestlye is the best start in life they can possibly have. The key thing is educating people around you who have a big role in your children's life and ensuring your vegan priniciples are followed through. As children naturally love animals, the vegan lifestyle will be second nature to them . I also think Korns point focusing more on why people eat animals is a valid one, particualry as childrens are still learning right from wrong. Good luck- it won't be as daunting as you think!

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