October the 1st is World Vegetarian Day!
This is a fabulous opportunity for vegetarian parents everywhere to raise awareness of their lifestyle choices and potentially inspire others to make the same changes. Vegetarianism is a very interesting topic, especially when we look at it from the perspective of raising our families with the same principles – we’ve had a chat with the parents over in our community to learn more.
What is World Vegetarian Day?
It’s an awareness raising campaign aimed at;
- Informing people about the benefits of being a vegetarian.
- Promoting the preservation of animal life.
- Promoting the environmental benefits of not eating meat.
- Addressing misconceptions about vegetarianism.
What is The Definition of a Vegetarian?
The Vegetarian Society defines a vegetarian as the following…
“Vegetarians don’t eat fish, meat or chicken.”
But I know some vegetarians who still eat fish!
Officially, anyone who still eats fish isn’t technically a vegetarian. Someone who eats only fish is by definition a ‘pescetarian’, which is a popular and beneficial lifestyle choice.
What is the difference between vegetarianism and veganism?
Vegetarian and veganism share many principles, the main one being promoting animal welfare by not eating animal flesh, but they are different in some aspects.
- Vegetarians still consume some animal products (some may specifically also avoid eggs or other animal products).
- Vegans don’t consume animal flesh or any other animal derived product; dairy products, eggs, honey, fur, skin etc are examples, as they feel that it is still unethical to use any animal products.
Benefits of Being Vegetarian
- It reduces the risk of deadly illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
- It reduces the risk of exposure to dangerous pathogens found in meat.
- It could help with the global hunger crisis as it’s a more efficient way of farming.
- It could save many animals from suffering in factory-farm conditions.
- It could conserve groundwater, fertile top soil, and other important natural resources.
- It’s a great way to preserve ecosystems; farming has contributed to the destruction of swathes of important rainforests.
- It will help to decrease greenhouse gases if more people avoided meat.
- It will help to reduce the pollution associated with animal farming.
Can My Children Be Vegetarian?
In short, yes! The NHS states that it is perfectly fine to raise your child as a vegetarian…
“Babies and young children on a vegetarian or vegan diet can get the energy and most of the nutrients they need to grow and develop from a well-planned varied and balanced diet.”
However, if you choose to do this, it’s really important to remember that your child may need some extra supplements, such as vitamin B12. It’s advised to speak to your GP if you’re thinking of raising your children as vegetarians.
How do I give my child the choice?
Some parents may be unsure about enforcing a vegetarian lifestyle on their children, which is perfectly normal – you may be more comfortable waiting until they’re old enough to understand and make the decision for themselves.
Our community moderator Nikita told us;
“I’m a vegetarian but give my child the choice if she wants the vegetarian option or if she would like meat. She understands that meat comes from animals and that they have to die so they can be eaten etc, and so far her choice is generally the meaty one because that’s what she prefers. If there is only a vegetarian option she happily eats that.”
Another of our community moderators, Guen, told us;
“I’m veggie, my husband isn’t. The the children have the choice whether or not to eat meat, they know where meat comes from etc.
My husband works long hours so usually he is at work at dinner time so most dinners at home are veggie and the girls love it. My three year old actually likes Quorn “meat” better than real meat.”
This sounds very balanced and allows for an informed decision to be made, but it’s also fine if you’re not comfortable with letting your child eat meat in your household.
Best Vegetarian Meal Ideas For Veggie Kids
Food like eggs, cheese and milk are rich in vitamin B12, so some great vegetarian meal ideas for your veggie kids are…
- Vegetable macaroni cheese bake
- Lentil and veggie pot
- Jam twists
- Cheese and broccoli pasta
- Homemade vegetable pizza
- Quorn mince cottage pie topped with cheese
- Vegetable omelette
- Quorn mince spaghetti bolognese with cheese
We’re huge fans of the BBC Good Food website; their vegetarian section is full of incredible inspiration! Here are our favourite child friendly recipes;
Tell us in the comments; are you a vegetarian? Are your kids vegetarian? What tips and recipes would you recommend?
Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx