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Is it OK for Kids to Go Vegetarian?

Decades ago, vegetarianism was considered something of a fringe lifestyle, reserved for hippies and Buddhist monks. Those days are long gone. As more Americans focus on green living and conscious consumerism, vegetarianism is becoming a widely accepted and even celebrated way of life for people of all ages.

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If your young daughter has suddenly started pushing the chicken around on her plate or your pre-teen son is turning his nose up at the hamburgers you serve at the family picnic, it's natural to feel a bit of alarm. After all, the American dinner plate has traditionally centered around meat, with vegetables and grains playing second fiddle to steak and ham. Messing with that formula poses a lot of questions for concerned parents who are wondering if it's OK for kids to go vegetarian:

  • Will she get enough iron?
  • Will he get enough protein?
  • Is this going to inhibit their growth?

The most important thing to know is that, yes - it is safe for a child to follow a vegetarian diet. Thousands and thousands of children in the U.S. and around the world healthfully subscribe to meat-free diets. In fact, a family that takes the time to educate themselves about the critical tenets of a balanced vegetarian diet is likely to reap some serious health benefits.