Raising kids as vegetarians in Germany

326 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

We have recently shifted to Munich and are looking for a KiTa for our kid. In addition to the difficulty of finding one, we have another problem. My spouse & I are vegetarians and would like to raise our kid likewise.

 

Most of the KiTas that we have seen do not have a vegetarian possibility and the ones which do offer are quite expensive. Added to this, we are a little apprehensive that having a different "preference" to the other kids might alienate our little one.

 

Any suggestions on how to deal with this situation?

Has anyone else had any experience of raising kids as vegetarians in DE / Munich?

 

Thanks!

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That's the difference between life choice and religion. Religion is forced from parents to children. There is no reason to hate vegetarians more than people of other denominations.

 

This situation is not different to situation of Muslims, Jews or Hindu which also don't eat certain products. Can a Muslim kid get Halal food in Germany? I have no idea, but this probably depends on the region.

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I had friends who were members of a vegetarian culture. They told me once that while their parents knew that in the US they ate meat, they hadn't dared to say that the children were also meat-eaters. If your eating habits have been developed on your own, I agree with RajeshG that letting your child eat meat - which does give them more nutritional value in a smaller package - and later decide, as you did, on its own is reasonable.

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To be honest, generations of humans have made it through life as non-vegetarians. Do you really want to muck about with your kids' future?

Sure you can find the equivalent veg wit the right nutrition bla bla. But are you a medical expert to be sure you give the right substitute?

Do you know that vitamins and minerals exist in several forms and that often the processed form (such as multi-vitamin tablets) are harder to absorb by the body, which is why they often pack more into the artificial food/tablets to make sure that a good amount is absorbed.

 

Why not b more Japanese instead? Reduce the meat amount and keep a high tofu and veg diet. At least it is a diet that works, and the Japanese have one of the longest life expectancy (despite the insane work-load/stress).

 

FYI:

My mother is a hardcore vegetarian and animal lover. She works as a tour guide in Africa and is a qualified vet.

But I still think she is dumb but respect that it is her choice. Had she ever forced me to be a veg. I would have ...

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Not sure that went the way the OP intended ;-)

 

Personally I would never abuse someone by depriving them of meat....

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No - that occurred to me too! I wasn't sure if it was meant to be ironic...if not, it's ...um...interesting! ;)

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Can a Muslim kid get Halal food in Germany? I have no idea, but this probably depends on the region.

 

As far as I know around here most schools offer veg and non-veg food, some schools required you to take the lunch contract, some don't. Veg option is good enough for Muslims. Most KiTas offer vegetarian food around here.

 

But then there is other problem, the quality of the food. In schools the veggie option might not be that great but it can be acceptable but in our experience Kitas will just improvise something and at the end of the day it is not healthy for your kid to eat that food every day (some examples of kita veggie food: pasta with tomato sauce, milk rice, boiled potatoes with tomato sauce, potato hash browns with pureed apple, etc). So if you go that way I would recommend you to work a lot in providing really good dinners where the kid can get all the missing nutrients.

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Hm, I don't agree with parents basically forcing their children to be something they want, but still...

 

I was the opposite, the veggie kid (I've just never really liked meat) with meat eating family. I was constantly forced to fight for my preferences, however, as a child in kindergarten, up until I was about 14 or so, I did eat the occasional Hamburger or sausage. It is doable, especially these days.Back in the old days you were usually stuck with peas n carrots with scrambled egg or something.

 

I didnt grow up any the worse for being veggie, but you do need to put some thought behind it and be prepared that other people really don't give a flying shite about your preferences. So you may need to supply your kids lunches or something with extra bits.

 

Really, why not give them at least some meat, like minced meat, chicken and sausages at least? Let them decide on their eating preferences.

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My son's kita was quite large, and had its own kitchen where meals were prepared from scratch, or nearly, every day. One of their stated was goals was to expose the kids to a wide variety of foods and to actively discourage picky eating by showing how others happily chowed down on what was offered. Most of them ended up pretty good eaters. That said, my son then (and now) always refused to touch salad in any shape or form, and the other kids just accepted that without comment or issue. Perhaps a vegetarian child would be treated the same way?

 

On the halal food issue mentioned above:

In my part of Berlin, which has a lot of Turkish and Arab families, the two biggest kitas served only halal food all the time. They didn't make a huge deal out of this, it was just the default. The kita my son went to was one of these, so they were serving a wide variety of foods, as mentioned above, but within a halal framework.

 

On vegetarian food: I tend to know to types of vegetarians personally, those who are vegetarian due to religious background (strict Hindu or Jain), and those who avoid meat for ethical reasons. The ethical reasons parents that I know here all let their children eat some meat, and did not attempt to influence what they ate at kita/school, figuring that they can make a choice themselves later. The religious background types all looked around until they found a place that could offer vegetarian food, as the issue was extremely important to them.

 

Don't know what category you fall into, but if it is desperately important to you, surely you would be willing to pay more for the kindergarten?

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it shouldn't be a problem, but a big fat yes to the people talking about forcing food choices on your kids. I may point out too, as someone experienced in this topic, that often expat kids can sometimes feel self conscious about being "different" from their peers due to their not being native German, so it kind of adds on one more thing...Just something to be aware of.

 

That all said, its 100% possible and a lot of the Muslim families make that choice in lieu of finding Halal foods in school environments. (Outside of school environments its quite easy to find Halal food)

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Ah but I feel this is different. Kids should not be encouraged to be choosy eaters - it can be difficult enough to make them try out things and they just shouldn't pick and chose what they want to it. Plenty of time later in life. Plus, although I am a veggie myself, the simple fact is that we really should eat everything, in moderation of course, but there is nothing wrong with meat.

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the ones which do offer are quite expensive.

 

You'll have to decide if it's worth it.

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Well, although I agree with not forcing children to life vegetarian I also think that all parents force certain values and lifestyles on their kids. So why suddenly the opposition with regards to vegetarian food? Living as a vegetarian is healthy, environmentally friendly (good for the future of the children), and ethical.

 

Because a kid is not an adult and a vegetarian diet is not appropriate for his growth.

 

Sure you can make a kid grow with vegetarian diet, but then you need to give him supplements (vitamins, iron, folic acid, etc), which defeats the original idea of a supposedly healthier diet.

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