Why do children not eat vegetables? – 19 Aug 10

Vegetarian

In western countries, when I am travelling, I always stay in family homes with my friends and thus get in touch with the local culture. Today I thought of the life in these homes and a topic came into my mind that I would like to share with you.

Whenever we stay with a family who has a teenage child, I see the same thing: children do not eat vegetables. You know that we are vegetarians and when we are with a family we usually cook rice, lentils and vegetables for dinner. It is healthy and also delicious food! The parents know that and also tell their children that there will be no meat on the table. The parents try to convince their children that it is good for them if they eat the vegetables but often it ends with the children eating some rice and bread. They just do not like to eat vegetables.

Now let me tell you that this is not a single individual case and also not only four or five families, I have seen many hundreds of families and have experienced this thousands of times. What I would like to ask is why it is like this? I have seen really many children but I could not find one child in any Western country I have been to who would really like vegetables. Why?

On the other hand I see here, in India, how children in families eat what everybody eats, including the vegetables. Of course, some prefer the potatoes to the eggplants, others like tomatoes more than carrots, that is normal, but they eat the vegetables just as they eat the rice and they like it. Also here I am not talking about one child or one family that I have met or seen but about hundreds of children whom I have seen eating in their families or whom we have fed here. So what is the difference?

The answer that comes into my mind for that is pretty simple: the children whom I have seen in India are vegetarians, the children whom I have seen in western countries are not. So there must be something with the meat that they eat or rather the fact that the others do not eat meat. Those who grow up eating meat just do not like the taste of vegetables and do not see is as a normal part of a meal. What else could be the reason? How does this situation occur in the first place?

I have written about this topic many times before, too, and I would like to say parents again: please raise your child as a vegetarian. I think first parents need to educate themselves and realize that their child will not be weak if they raise the child as a vegetarian. It is a common misconception that a child needs meat to grow strong. It is not like this. A balanced vegetarian diet has everything you need. You can trust that all the people here who are vegetarians are not weak. However your children may become weak if they do not eat any vitamins that they get from fresh vegetables.

Teenagers often already have this wrong belief that meat makes them strong and they needed it. I do not blame children or teenagers for this attitude or that they do not like vegetables! A child doesn’t know what it is eating, it eats what you put on the spoon or the plate. It is parents’ responsibility and the opinion of parents that a child learns. Give them the habit of eating vegetarian food from the childhood, then they will eat it later, too. If a child has been given meat daily and then he or she comes into an age, let’s say about 10 to 16, you cannot expect them to suddenly like vegetables, no matter how healthy they are! Give them vegetables from the beginning and leave away the meat instead!

Now some people, as always, may say that vegetarian food is boring. It is absolutely not! There are many different ways how you can cook and eat all different kinds of vegetables. And there are many delicious vegetarian recipes! We are working on filling up our own section of Ayurvedic vegetarian recipes and as soon as we find some time, we will have some new recipes online, too! 

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  1. Deniz Tekiner

    Yes, habits are key. I think the reason the Western children avoid the vegetables is because they became accustomed to something else. Establish good diet customs early, and the habits will be different.

  2. Suli

    There are thousands of reasons to 18go vegetarian 19 26 moral (disrespect and torments towards life) environmental (water consumption, global warming), health (antibiotics and hormones in ecosystem), social (the corn that would be saved if for example every American went meatless one day a week would be enough to feed the world 26 you wouldn 19t BELIEVE how big of a business meat production is!), financial ( green taxes, health product…. )Considering the increasing threat of global warming, you have to comprehend the significance of taking good care of planet earth, along with its precious resources. An easy way to become environmentally-friendly is to go vegetarian.

  3. Emily Titmus

    My little 2 and a half year old loves brocolli because she sees it growing in our garden she even tries to eat it while it’s still growing, and pumpkin cause everyday when I would hang out the washing she would give this big pumpkin a really big kiss to make it grow even bigger. She likes carrots cause our pet bunny eats carrots, and pears. Hope this helps…:)

  4. Swami Balendu

    I am very happy to know this and I belive this small age is the right time when you give your child this habit to eat vegetables. I wish all parents do the same: teach your little one to eat vegetables. Love

  5. Anjali Ayurveda

    My 2 year old grandson stays with me about 30 hours a week while his parents run their two restaurants–Nirvana Grille. They are not vegetarians, but he is, and he eats every vegetable i offer him, and i cook most veggies. He will choose them over most any other food. He loves spinach, kale, chard, broccoli rabe, squash, mushrooms, peas, beans, soybeans, tomatoes, avocado, along with goat cheese, cottage cheese and raw milk.

  6. Armin

    I think one of the problems that most children in western countrys don`t like vegeatarian food is that the western version of vegetarian food is indeed not realy tasty. There are only a few meals which I would realy call vegatarian. Most of them are just meals which are planed as a meat meal, were they just serve a kind of consideration instead of the meat. And often it don`t realy tasts good. It`s not like indian vegetarian food which is very tasty. So one solution would be to make indian vegatarian food known an comon in the hole world.

  7. Ramona

    Armin, I agree that in the west people do not really know what to cook if it is not meat. Now tofu slowly finds its way into kitchens and people rediscover lentils and beans again. People often have no idea how many different vegtables grow in our countries!And cooking Indian style with good spices etc. makes it of course even more delicious! You can have a look on our small collection of Ayurvedic vegetarian recipes, maybe you find something nice there. We will increase that collection soon!

  8. Armin

    Thank you for that hint Ramona!I`ll have a look at it, may I found something new!

  9. Renetta A Hunter Land

    My children , now adults, are not vegetarians, but they eat basically any vegetable placed in front of them BECAUSE I always gave them vegetables and expected them to eat them. Children who do not eat vegetables don’t because their parents do not expect them too.

  10. Ivy Ricks

    I never gave my daughter meat as a child, she has always eaten vegetables. I ate vegan while I was pregnant with her and she has always loved natural food. Kids like what they know.

  11. Derek

    ooo, look at all those colors! yum.

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