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Getting teenagers to eat vegetables

by Anita

I have a dilemma getting my teenage sons to eat vegetables, and I'm not sure what would be the right thing to do. I need a little feedback. I went vegan a year and a half ago; my husband thought it was all crazy but he ended up slowly going vegetarian (as of a couple of weeks ago); my kids think I'm crazy and only "freaks eat veggies." I cannot get my kids to eat veggies to save my soul! I don't count potatoes, corn, and carrots as healthy notorious vegetables either. I have two teenage boys and they are both extremely picky eaters. Every day I come home from work and I end up making 3-4 different meals for everyone to keep everyone happy.

I feel like a hypocrite for buying and cooking meat for my boys (and my husband when he ate meat) but knew I was doing the right thing for me by not eating it. Now that my husband is a vegetarian; cooking for him and myself is easier however; (the dilemma) I'm tired of making the different meals and feel my boys should just eat whatever it is I stick in front of them or go hungry (or have a bowl of cereal). Is it wrong of me to cut out the meat from their diet? If they want to eat meat while they are at school or at a friend's house I'm ok with that (although I wish they wouldn't eat meat in general). I feel I'm the parent, I make the rules and what mom says goes; but I don't want them to hate for it in the end either.

What would be the right thing to do in this type of situation?

Comments for Getting teenagers to eat vegetables

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asking hypocratically
by: Anonymous

If you really wanted an impartial answer, why ask it on a vegan website? It is bad not to feed your children meat if they want it. You just want a biased answer so you can feel better about what you want to do. I am certain your children will leave your house as soon as they can. And will continually regret to you add their mental mom. Your welcome for the advice.

by: Anonymous

Tell them if they want meat to go and buy it (with their money) then they can cook it to their liking. But you have made the decision to eat vegetarian and are more than happy to cook that ensuring there will always be enough for them to go along with their meat, should they choose to buy and cook their own meat.

What an old friend told his son about vegetables.
by: S Mather

My old friend named Frank had a son who would not eat vegetables without much drama from his mother. Frank said that when his mother went in the kitchen he leaned over and told his son that eating vegetables would make his "thing" grow big. 'Nuff said. Never a problem again. Oddly enough, it's vegetables that keep all that stuff for both genders in working order.

Make veges more appealing by roasting
by: Anonymous

If you WANT to cook 3 or 4 meals a night, that's fine, but I definitely think teenagers are old enough to fend for themselves and the sooner they learn the better for them. And yes, there are plenty of options outside of the house for them to eat meat if they think they need it. Which they don't, if they would eat your healthy food, right?
That being said, I was given a wonderful cookbook that makes veges taste great. The Roasted Vegetable by Andrea Chesman. For instance, green beans cooked according to her recipe taste like french fries. And I learned to cook tofu in a way that gives it a really satisfying chewy texture besides tasting great.
It's hard to stand up for yourself, I know, but it's worth it, and trust me, it's the best thing for your children, too.

Mock Vegan
by: Paula C.

Hi there, my best advice since I have a 16 year old daughter that eats right along with us is to go MOCK vegan, and what I mean about mock is Veggie Burgers, Facon Bacon and other really good alternatives to meat, Slowly ween your kids from all meat to maybe Ovo-lacto vegeatrian so they can still have some dairy and eggs & slowly swap out for mock like energ egg subsitute and soy cheese, plant protien milk. Also check out a web site sponsered by PETA its
http://www.peta.org/accidentallyVegan/ Its amazing how many food are out there that are already naturally vegan like Oreo's & Poptart I know they are not the healthiest but atleast it will make the switch over easier for you. I hope this help your family, Good Luck~ Paula :)

by: Kelly

Hi Anita,
I certainly can empathize with you! I was a vegetarian for 6 years and now a vegan for almost one year now. Over this time, I continued (and still do) to make meat meals for my husband, guests, and our teenage girls. In dealing with teens, they want respect. It is a code of honor with them and it can go both ways! Whenever you can, make your thoughts on veganism know to them; DO NOT LECTURE! continue to make great healthy food for yourself and husband. Make salads a main course for all, and maybe get the boys involved by making pasta, burgers, pizza themselves. Teach them some simple foods they can help out with. This is respecting thier choices, something we have instilled in them since birth until we decided to flip! How can we expect them to readily accept this change? The timing had to be right for you correct? It is something that cannot be forced onto someone. Yet you will gain their respect if you allow them some freedom too.
I never forced my vegetarianism on my family yet they think it is really cool that I am a vegan (especially my husband who "brags" about his wife's health and lifestyle to everyone!) My husband on his own, has actually made big changes to his own diet as a result of my quiet example.
Hope this helps. They are probalbly really curious, so make your lifestyle shine without the rules that drive teens away! Kelly

A vegan cook among non-vegans
by: Anonymous

I don't have experience feeding veggies to teens, but I won't cook meat for my husband or mother any more. If they want to eat meat or dairy products then they can fix it themselves. They don't. They eat what I fix and put on the table.

My advice is that teenagers are old enough to fix their own food. Help them out by letting them learn to cook now. If they don't want to do the cooking (and junk food isn't laying around), they will eat what you make, even they complain about it.

You might try letting them make the meat that will get added to the pasta/rice/main dish and let them grate the cheese to sprinkle on top of their portions.

Tell them about the evidence that coorelates animal products with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. (Site the studies to add validity.) Though, they might not agree with your "radical/ crazy" thinking, they are listening and learning.

We Need Help From A Mom!!
by: Cathleen

Anita sent this question to me and I told her to ask the fellow moms in the Vegan Nutritionista community since I don't have experience with her situation.

One thing I know for sure is that she is not a short order cook and definitely shouldn't have to make 3-4 dinners after a long day just to make her family happy. My gut tells me that if she were to go ahead and start serving one meal, her sons would eventually eat it (probably after giving her a lot of grief), and then would maybe come to appreciate it (after a while).

If you are a mom and have experience with this, help us! What should Anita (and others like her) do in this situation??

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