Now, before I anger all the vegans out there and before any meatheads get the crazy idea to go call up the child abuse authorities, let me clear this one point up. My son is 18 months and means the world to me. He also is a very picky eater and won’t drink any sort of milk or formula. He hates fried foods and most meats. He is also in the 5th percentile for his weight and we are struggling to stuff him as full of calories as we can just to keep his weight up in the healthy range. So, no, for now, I will continue to feed him mac ‘n’ cheese because some meals that is all he will eat (only if it’s loaded with ketchup!).
I am wholly convinced that it is not only possible, but a great idea, to raise a child vegan. However, until I am well-versed in vegan nutrition (although I already have a large breadth of nutrition knowledge) and until I feel that my son is keeping his weight up, I am going to keep feeding him whatever he wants. The majority of his foods happen to be vegetarian and very healthy but he does eat dairy products frequently.
Also, as parents we can only model ethical behavior and teach our children how to be healthy (this applying to older children); we cannot force them to do anything for any appreciable length of time. Kids swap foods during lunch at school and they can sneak out and get whatever foods they want at friends’ houses. They can even buy foods on their own at surprisingly young ages. My ideas on this may change, but for now I feel that I am not going to forcibly try to control another human, offspring or not.
My son is now 2 years old and in the 50th percentile for weight! He eats lots of fresh whole foods, especially fruits and whole grains. However, he does like cheese and occasionally eats chicken. He loves his soy milk on cereal but he also loves cow’s yogurt on granola. He eats mac n cheese and also veggie burgers, So, not a vegan, but that’s okay with me. For now. When he gets older we can start to talk about where his food comes from and he can make his own choice.