When your five year old decides to become a vegetarian – and you’re not

Recently I’ve not had that much to say. The monotony of living through Groundhog Day and the chaos of homeschool has definitely got me down. I’ve not wanted to come and type away at my blog. Enter my five year old, the newest child vegetarian.

Never one to shy away from a challenge he has got me furiously typing again.

Boy wearing shorts and jumper running down a hill.
My little child vegetarian.

He has decided to become a vegetarian

Well, not in so many words. The words he is using to express himself are “I don’t want to eat dead animals. Every dinner placed in front of him is quickly inspected for any sign of meat, and every morsel is questioned as to whether it contains meat.

It all came to a head last night.

So, thinking outside the box I quickly informed him we were having hot dogs for dinner. Normally the ultimate in crowd pleasing. Instead I was met with resistance. A realisation that hot dogs are also made from meat.

And a refusal to eat them.

So I passed the decision over to him. It became HIS decision what he eats. And, for him, that’s becoming a child vegetarian.

Child vegetarian boy eating apple slices

Boundaries were set

His face lit up with joy when he realised he was no longer going to have to eat dead animals, which meant I knew we’d made the right decision. Except there had to be trade offs.

He’s five, he can’t decide he no longer wants to eat meat to exist solely on pasta. Which I am sure he would if he got his own way.

We agreed that he has to eat different forms of protein, looked up what protein could be eaten, and extracted a promise that he would at least try everything on his plate. We looked at vitamins and minerals. And have agreed to try our hand at making a balanced, tasty, vegetarian diet filled with everything he needs to keep growing.

Enter our vegetarian life

For the boy who barely eats vegetables.

Today I have spent the day scouring the web for ideas on what he can eat. Thinking of family meals we can all have together. Browsing my cook book selection. And contemplating what vegetarian freezer food is available here in Qatar.

The thing is – I am quite happy to eat veggie. Although my carnivorous husband is less happy to do so I’m sure there is a compromise. What I am struggling with, and will continue to struggle with, is the fact that there is (or could be) refusal to try.

Luckily, for the whole three meals where he has been a vegetarian, he has tried and eaten up. Albeit with massive complaints. But I’m still taking that as a win.

So far I’ve made vegetarian breakfast sausages, meatless meatballs, rice pudding and creamy roasted cherry tomato soup. And weetabix.

Meatless meatballs from pinch of yum
Meatless meatballs from Pinch of Yum

Let’s see where we head next, what he will eat. What he won’t eat. And whether this is in fact simply a phase (I don’t think so – he doesn’t do phases…).

Whatever happens I want him to know we have his back, we hear him when he tells us what he wants and needs, and most of all we love him for who he is.

Mum swinging her son round at the park


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