A five year old vegetarian?

Our eldest daughter has always had an unbelievable appetite. Thankfully, for all sorts of foods – she’s just as happy munching on a raw carrot as a bar of chocolate, and from a really young age we had to hide the fruit bowl as she devoured it like a fruit bat.

Whilst she has gone through the odd off week, she’s an easy customer at Mums diner. If only her sister was half as good at eating, my life would be a breeze.

Knowing she’ll have polished off a good square meal at school, she’d be more than happy with a light tea of eggs and toast, beans, or the occasional twelve minute at 180ºC dinner.

From salads, to sushi, roast chicken to chicken chop suey, spaghetti bolognese to spaghetti hoops on toast, she’d eat it all and ask for seconds. Whether it’s a big cooked meal, a selection of cold meats and nibbles or a bagel and fruit – she is so easy to cater for.

In fact, the biggest problem has always been trying to convince her that she probably isn’t hungry, as it’s her biggest complaint at regular intervals throughout the day. (How many bowls of cereal is too many?!). Whilst we have done our best to divert her to the fruit and veg drawer, we have uttered the words ‘have a biscuit, you’ll get a tummy ache from too much fruit’. WTF.

And so, it was with great shock I heard her utter the words this week ‘I’m finished’ with a plate of food half untouched.

“But you haven’t touched your chicken?”

“I don’t like chicken, it comes from chickens”.

Ah.

“And I don’t like fishfingers any more Mummy, they come from fishes fingers”.

Well…

I brushed it off, let it go and put it down to an off day.

Until Friday on the way home from school, I was informed that her favourite school dinner day of the week had not been eaten. Because, of course, “I don’t eat fish”.

And it has continued, over the weekend and into this week. Okay, so we have been to a couple of barbecues and we didn’t elaborate on where sausages come from, but after debating whether to or not, she asked the question tonight. Proceeding to then ask how the poor porky pig would have been erm, departed of this world, I feigned ignorance and rapidly changed the  subject.

At the moment, we needn’t worry that our human dustbin is going to starve. Her fruit, veg and carb consumption is immense, and she’s been tucking into loads of other protein packed sources no trouble; pulses, nuts, houmus, eggs and cheese .

But where do we go with this, as her parents, who are about as vegetarian as Jamie Oliver. Should we encourage these early views and allow her to follow her young activist heart, or should we just keep offering her tempting meat dinners with carefully selected, non animal reference names?

I guess we just see what happens, and let time tell if her vegetarian dreams can withstand the smell of a bacon sandwich.

To be honest, I wouldn’t actually be surprised if she gives this one a good go. This one who has inherited both parents love for all things nature, is it any wonder she doesn’t want to eat the animals she loves so much? Eating animals; it’s a hard concept to absorb at such a young age and something that might take some getting used to perhaps.

Perhaps her and I aren’t so different. I did after all turn veggie for three months once, just for fun. I just hope she doesn’t go giving her sister any ideas aaargh! To be honest, I can’t see her lasting this one out, she is a sucker for the golden arches.

Any advice on a vegetarian five year old?! Answers on a postcard pleeeease!!

x MMT

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2 thoughts on “A five year old vegetarian?

  1. fionajk42 Reply

    At the age of 10 I found out about factory farming, and immediately gave up eating anything that looked like a piece of dead animal. My parents were able to slip in the odd bit of meat if it was disguised, but by the age of 13 I had become a full vegetarian, eating no meat or fish. Around the age of 15 I toyed with being a vegan, but went back to eating some dairy, although as I’m lactose intolerant I’ve never drunk milk as it makes me ill. I’m now almost 60 and still a vegetarian. I would say if your daughter doesn’t want to eat animals then don’t force her to eat meat, but instead buy a good vegetarian cookbook or look on-line for vegetarian recipes. If you don’t want to have to cook a separate dish for her, then you could try Meat-Free Mondays or several meat-free days per week when you cook a vegetarian meal for the whole family. Things like spaghetti bolognese or lasagne can be made with a non-meat mince and most meat-eaters say they can’t notice the difference. As an added incentive, eating less meat will also help if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you, what a comprehensive comment and how lovely that you have stuck with it all these years. I will take your advice and respect her views – after all, I can’t make her eat anything she doesn’t want to!

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