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 Post subject: New vegan family tips? For preschoolers especially
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:35 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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Hi - this may be a popular topic here so please link me to another thread if necessary - we are transitioning to a plant based diet now, and I was curious how you approach social eating situations with your kids? Mine are 1 and 3. They are in daycare part time. How do you handle daycare food, and birthday parties? Weddings? Etc? Thank you so much :)


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 Post subject: Re: New vegan family tips? For preschoolers especially
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:02 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Our kids are about six months older than yours and in daycare full-time.

We mostly don't worry about it. It would be pretty complicated to insist that the boy eat differently from his classmates, and he would feel excluded and would very easily turn into "that kid who can't eat cake" or whatever. The social stigma of being The Weird Kid seems worse than him occasionally eating goldfish crackers or cheesy pizza with his friends. When he's older we'll talk to him about the choices we've made and see what he wants to do.

The daycare we send the kids to only serves vegetarian food, at least, and doesn't just load on the cheese or eggs, so it's not too bad. They seem to eat a lot of beans and broccoli and spaghetti and stuff like that. We eat totally vegan at home (C&S is totally vegan, and I avoid dairy for the sake of lactose intolerance and cholesterol so I'm about 90% vegan these days, and I don't buy cheese or eggs for home). If they served meat we wouldn't let that happen, and we steer the boy away from meaty stuff when we're out. As far as I know he hasn't eaten straight-up meat, and he doesn't get much dairy anyway. When we move to sending him to school with lunch, that will be vegan.

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 Post subject: Re: New vegan family tips? For preschoolers especially
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:35 pm 
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Invented Vegan Meringue
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Hi Hellonewvegan, welcome! Glad you came here. First, I'd recommend browsing around and I'm sure you'll find tons of helpful info to get you started.

We have a 14 year old (who has been vegetarian since he was 2 1/2 & vegan since he was 4) and a 4 1/2 year old (lifelong). I haven't dealt with daycare, but for school with my older son, Shae, I just was really clear with his teachers what he could and could not eat, sent all his food with him from home, left extra goodies in the classroom for unexpected events and taught my son how to identify if foods are vegan or not. It's a learning curve, but it actually went really smoothly for us. Shae went to a really rural school and veganism was totally unheard of. What I think is important is to decide your boundaries and be firm on them. Just like anything else with parenting, whatever you are comfortable with just needs to be done consistently and it'll get easier over time. Shae definitely got questioned a lot (and still does) and was left out of snacks a few times (Although only on his own choice. Teachers always went out of there way to find something that was okay for him to eat), but I don't think the social aspect has affected him negatively. He's friends with everyone and actually helped a few friends go vegetarian in middle school.

My advice is always go with your gut and don't accept anything you aren't comfortable with. If you don't make it into a big deal, it probably won't be one. That's always been my philosophy.

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 Post subject: Re: New vegan family tips? For preschoolers especially
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:42 pm 
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***LIES!!!***
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We have an almost-2-year-old. She doesn't go to daycare often, but when she does, we send all her food and more than she'll need just in case. We make it clear she isn't to eat any other food. We've been to b-day parties with non-vegan food and just don't let her eat it (since she's mostly eating from our plates this is not really a big deal). Same with any family function. The only difficult times are playdates where it's easy to steal food (or other annoying parents give food without asking) and a function we were at where mini Hershey's bars with cutesy personalized wrappers were strewn about on short tables all over the place. She figured out how to open those and it was game over. I was pretty annoyed by that because it was a party for a family with a newborn and a 2-year-old with lots of toddlers in attendance and you'd think those parents would be sensitive to the fact that not everyone wants their toddlers cramming chocolate down their gullets at ten in the morning.

We don't freak over accidental ingestion or the occasional shared snack because we're in this for the animals rather than personal purity/health and we don't think she's going to develop bad habits from the occasional mess-up. But we are really firm with caregivers because I find firmness is the only way people will take our boundaries seriously. I don't think kids really care these days about eating differently from peers - everyone has allergies and sensitivities and ADD diets and other nonsense these days, it is totally normal for there to be many different eating patterns in one classroom.


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 Post subject: Re: New vegan family tips? For preschoolers especially
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:56 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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So basically, do whatever works for you. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: New vegan family tips? For preschoolers especially
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Actually, I have just been informed that the 3.5-year-old has been refusing to eat dairy at day care, saying "We don't drink cow milk." So you go, kiddo!

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 Post subject: Re: New vegan family tips? For preschoolers especially
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:08 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
Actually, I have just been informed that the 3.5-year-old has been refusing to eat dairy at day care, saying "We don't drink cow milk." So you go, kiddo!


That's awesome! I had a similar proud moment when my sis-in-law was eating a cupcake and D actually asked her, as I've coached her to do in theory, "Is that vegan?"
She's actually buddies with a vegan kid at her playschool but I haven't gotten her to tell the other kid that she's vegan too! (We only found out because the school's owner mentioned it to us when we registered D.)


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