At what age do you think children are able to make well informed decisions about what they eat?

My children have been raised vegetarian since they were in-utero. Their father and I decided that vegetarianism was the healthiest path for them and ourselves. He and I have since separated and the children are now aged 5 and 7. The majority of the people around my children are not vegetarian, and until recently, this has not bothered them. They are and always have been very healthy and eat vegetables that most children turn their noses up at. On Thanksgiving, they were at their father's house for visitation. He promised to buy them a tofurkey (our version of a turkey) and special vegetarian food for them. He backed out on this promise and when the potatoes were not enough to fill the children, he gave them turkey. He also fed them ham sandwiches and God only knows what else while they were there. He told them that it was their secret and they weren't to tell me they ate meat. Eventually the truth came out and I'm furious! He thinks that the children are old enough to choose for themselves, what kind of food they want to eat. I, on the other hand, don't think that they are old enough. They don't understand the ethics and health benefits of a vegetarian diet, and I don't think they will until they are much older. In addition, they never ask to eat meat when other people offer it to them, including our babysitter, who prepares meat for the other children in her care. I guess the question is, what age do you think children are capable of making this decision on their own, and do you think I'm wrong for being upset with their father, when there are also religious reasons behind my vegetarianism? (though he doesn't follow the same religion as I do, now that he lives with his parents who are Catholic, carnivores)

Update:

Nutrients? I'm a well informed vegetarian. My children get all of the appropriate nutrients and are well above the norm for their height and have healthy bmi's. Meat is not necessary for proper nutrition. Nor is it healthy with the added hormones, and the fact that there is fecal matter in all meat. That's where ecoli comes from.

Update 2:

Trust me! I didn't miss the fact that he told them to lie to me! The children and I had a lengthy conversation about what is a safe secret (a birthday gift) and what's not (things that would get you or someone else in trouble). And their dad and I had a conversation about that as well.

Update 3:

Vegetables having e-coli: they are fertilized with .....wait for it ....MANUER! (feces!) that's where it comes from!Sheesh. And i did mention this is a spiritual reason as well and he is going against my religion and the religion of my children by feeding them meat, correct? Just saying...

Update 4:

oh, and to the lady whos an rn...my children complain of their tummies hurting every time they are at their father's house.

8 Answers

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  • Love!
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    5 and 7 is too young and if they are used to a certain diet, changing it like that can make them very sick. If they are getting what they need and following your faith, he has no right to change their diet. When they are older, say, 13 or something, they are old enough to understand nutrition and their own beliefs and make informed decisions.

    Source(s): RN
  • Chad B
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I think once they hit double digits (10 years old) they can decide.

    If they chose to go the other way, don't be disappointed. They are kids and probably are just curious and want to experiment a little.

    EDIT: Don't let people get to you. Some people just dont know how to give an answer without their 2 cents in even though you didn't ask for it. Let it go, you know what is true and that's all that matters. I'm not a vegetarian, far from it, lol but I don't think people should be dissing you or giving out un-informed answers.

  • 1 decade ago

    I personally am not a vegetarian,but I do not think your children are old enough to decide what they want to eat.If my boys had the choice as to what they wanted to eat I am sure they would choose chips and soda over chicken and veggies!That being said at there ages you are the parent and the one making informed decisions for them..you know what is best for them.When they visit Daddy they eat what Daddy serves or you can always send food,but you said in your post when offered they decline so they should be fine.Now if they start asking for meat or junk that is your decision but if they are not I would just continue on as I am.

  • 1 decade ago

    Regardless as to your choices I do not think that this is something of which you should make an issue. The bigger issue here, as a parent, is having your X tell your kids that it is ok to have a secret from mommy. When they are at different homes, different rules will apply and that is normal. You should not expect your husband to honor this commitment to you when you dissolved your marriage. It is clear that you are passionate about your choices, and your kids will obviously see and know that. I would be more concerned about the messages you kids are receiving when being asked to lie to their mom. That is the greater issue here and you are missing it completely.

    As for healthy choices and age, there is no hard and fast rule. I have seen 8 year olds that make better choices then 18 year olds. It is personal.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I don't think you should be upset with their father because he has a right to his beliefs and serve what he wants in his own house just as you do. Also there is really nothing you can do about it. There is no way to enforce what he gives them to eat.

    Only thing you can do is teach your kids what you believe and hope they continue when they get older.

    Also I have heard of E coli coming from vegetables...spinach and lettuce.

  • 1 decade ago

    Children can always decide some things for themselves, but I think 10 would be the propor age for this situation.

  • 1 decade ago

    30.

  • 1 decade ago

    They should have a choice in what they eat. I've always had a choice on what I eat. I also think eating meat supplies you with lots of nutrients and iron to make you stronger, but that's my opinion.

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