How to explain eating meat to your animal-loving kid

According to our parenting expert, it’s not that big a deal if your child decides to give up meat.
Credit: Thinkstock

You could blame “Free Birds” for your kid suddenly developing a social consciousness when it comes to eating meat. But the truth is, every child sooner or later realizes that the same animals they see in picture books are the ones that end up on their plate. So what do you do? Metro enlisted parenting expert and feeding sociologist Dina Rose, author of the upcoming book “It’s Not About the Broccoli,” for her advice.

Rose encourages parents to have conversations with their children about where food comes from and giving them space to make up their own mind. “When my own daughter was 3, she started asking questions and developed an ethical dilemma about it,” Rose says. “I told her about the various ways people deal with it, telling her some people elect not to eat meat, some eat meat and not think about it, and some people eat meat only that is raised and slaughtered ethically.”

Once your child decides how he or she feels about the issue, Rose says you should do your best to respect it. “Every parent knows you can’t make your child to eat something he or she doesn’t want to eat,” she says. Instead of forcing whatever meal you’ve prepared or having to cook two separate main dishes every meal, Rose says there’s an easy middle ground. “When you do make a meat dish, most dishes can be easily modified to make a portion without meat.”

And eating more vegetarian meals is actually healthier for the whole family. ”Everybody, no matter what your diet is, benefits from eating a number of vegetarian meals during the week,” she says.

And the problem of not getting enough protein? Not a big deal. “A lot of parents automatically worry about where their child is going to get his or her protein, but our culture really worries about it more than it’s necessary,” she says. “We vastly overestimate how much protein we need.”

Rose says the biggest mistake parents make is starting to give their kids pasta and cheese-heavy meals. When a parent can’t get their child to eat meat, they come up with a few go-to meals to feed them instead, whether to make at home or order while eating out. “If you eat meat, you should also eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. And if you don’t eat meat, you should especially eat a lot of fruit and vegetables,” Rose says.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.