AdviceGeneral Parenting

Is My Son a Vegetarian?

My 10 year old son has never really liked meats from the time he was able to eat foods. His doctor at the time said he may become a vegetarian. I have tried everything over the years to get him to eat meats. I can only get him to eat poultry. He loves spaghetti but will pick out the meat.


What confuses me is that he will eat a cheeseburger from McDonald's but he won't eat one made from home. He doesn't eat vegetables either except for corn. Can someone please tell me if he is a vegetarian? Or is there a reason why he will only eat a McDonald's cheeseburger but nothing else that has any kind of meat?

Angie1977 from Hackett, AR

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January 14, 20090 found this helpful

What reason does your son give for not eating meat? Certainly he can explain himself. As he started so young, it sounds like he's a picky eater and got used to his limited diet.

Vegetarians try to achieve a balanced, nutritious diet by eating fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, etc. and sometimes eggs and fish.

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By velsgal in Missouri (Guest Post)
January 16, 20090 found this helpful

You would need to eat more veggies than just corn to be a vegetarian. I have 4 kids 12 and under and it sounds like to me that he may be calling the shots about his meals instead of you. You are the adult and know what a good healthy diet is.


As a mother I would make food and if he is hungry that is what he can eat. If not he can wait until the next meal. Of course if you choose this route don't give in. That will just reinforce that he is in control. Blessings on you and your son!

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January 16, 20090 found this helpful

No, Ne is not a vegetarian, although there is nothing wrong with being a vegetarian. Kids go through different stages with their eating habits. Maybe it would be a good idea to get him more involved with preparing the meals with you, that way you can talk about the different foods he likes and dislikes. It sounds like a texture issue to me. My eldest son, doesn't like ground meat that is not made into a hamburger either.


He will now eat steaks, but when he was younger he would only eat chicken. I also have another son, who when in highschool would only eat raw vegetables, everything including potatoes had to be raw for him. He is a vegetarian now, and very healthy because of it.
I think we need to accept that being a vegetarian is a good thing.

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January 16, 20090 found this helpful

I can relate to your son in the way he will eat poultry and a burger from McDonald's but not one made at home. I also (and have for years) picked the meat out of spaghetti sauce. I agree it could be a texture issue he has. While I'm not a vegetarian to the full extent, I have continued my picky eating habits I developed when I was younger.


As for not liking meat, he could just be disgusted by it. I try not to order pasta dishes with chicken in them from restaurants anymore because it seemed each time I would, I would get a fatty piece, grossing me out. Same with hamburger -- the gristle is just disgusting. I was even leary when my husband and I began eating ground chicken. Would he enjoy dressed up veggies? For instance, I really liked the brussel sprouts my mom made when she covered them with cheese, but I couldn't eat them plain.

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January 16, 20090 found this helpful

Has he been sensitive to textures? My son, now 20 was the same way. He had a real difficulty with textures of food. He still will run meat spagetthi sauce in a blender before he eats it. Note: my son is very healthy, 6' 4" college sophmore, Eagle scout, who was just like your son with never eating meat from babyhood.


It may also be the taste. McDonalds Cheeseburgers really don't taste like meat they taste more like bread with ketchup and stuff.

Try- making a tiny thin cheeseburger and adding the condiments like McDonalds does and then wrapping it in waxed or parchment paper.

Do allergies run in the family on either side? I have many food sensitivites and many of the foods I am sensitive too (get migraines and digestive trouble) are foods I did not want to eat as a child.

There are many non meat proteins out there-Bean dip on a corn tortilla is a complete protein. Beans and corn together (even the same day) provide complete protein.

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January 16, 20090 found this helpful

I'm a texture person too. My plate looks like a kid has been through it every time (I'm in my 30's); I pick through everything. Plainly put, vegetarians eat VEGETABLES/FRUITS/GRAINS.


Or put in another way, THINGS WITH NO EYES (except for potatoes hahaha). He just likes what he likes or he's picky or whatever. I don't think giving this a label is what is needed.

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January 16, 20090 found this helpful

That's funny, I think your son lives with me! But he just turned 11 here. I am happy to say that he seems to be getting better with age. For many years at holiday meals he would have rolls with peanut butter. We made an only one substitute meal(usually PB and fluff), a day. He also may have a bowl of cereal at bed time. I try to include at least one item that I know he will eat at meals that I cook. But, I refuse to be held hostage by his eating whims. He now eats cheese, chicken, hard boiled eggs, and mashed potatoes that he would not eat a year ago.
He asked me at the age of 3," what animals did this come from?" at the meat counter. The only meat that he ate for years was...McDonalds cheeseburgers, plain. He has tried pork and beef, turkey and fish but prefers not to eat it.
Lastly, when he was really little he told other kids that ketchup is "fish blood". Some of the food preferences just come out of their own little minds.

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January 17, 20090 found this helpful

Being a vegetarian is a choice people make -- not something they "have" or "turn into". A kid who eats only corn is not a vegetarian, but a picky eater. Sometimes kids don't eat food simply because they think they don't like them. My son wouldn't eat cheesecake because he didn't like cheese whiz or cheddar. Finally, when he did try it as a teenager, he was quite put out that he had been missing out on this delicious dessert for all those years. As a kid I always thought I didn't like cucumbers because my mom always served them sliced in vinegar. Turned out it was the vinegar I didn't like. Sometimes it is the look of a food that turns kids off. I wouldn't try beets as a child because I didn't want that red juice running over into my mashed potatoes.

I agree with OliveOyl. I think you should discuss some of this with your son, but certainly don't make an issue of it. Some kids (and I think their parents too) enjoy the notoriety of being a picky eater.

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By (Guest Post)
January 17, 20090 found this helpful

My 4 year old granson does the same thing but only with mcdonalds chicken nuggets & burgers. He lives with his dad and is allowed to eat a lot of junkfood. So is there something you are not possibly telling us? When he comes here we can't get him to eat a healthy meal if our lives depended on it. He does however love milk.

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By Kathie (Guest Post)
January 18, 20090 found this helpful

I have 3 children. One of them will eat anything but the other two will not eat anything with mayonnaise. It makes them sick, literally. The oldest vomits if he eats cheese, but if it is on a fresh just baked pizza he has no problem. I always said there are some foods I refuse to eat and I would not force a child to eat something that made them physically ill, however the rule was you had to try everything once and I would also make them try it again a few months or a year later to see if their tastes had changed, as children will make up their minds to dislike something long before they try it.

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By Echo (Guest Post)
January 20, 20090 found this helpful

There is a book called something like love and logic that you need to get and read it has stuff in it about picky eaters etc. If it was me once I ruled out food allergies, I would go with what some other people said. Talk to your son about why he only eats certain things. Than tell him that the rules have changed you are concerned about his health etc. Than offer him a selection of foods at each meal and tell him he has to have a bite of each.

Tell him that you will not be serving snacks etc, and if he does not eat now he will have to wait until the next meal to eat. Persevere with this and eventually he will not be so picky. If he does not have food allergies he has found a way to control you and have an identity as a picky eater he is getting attention for doing this!

I used to work with troubled youth off and on as a volunteer (not that your son is one) but food was often one of their means of exerting control. You need to put your foot down and make him learn to eat a healthy diet. If he truly has food allergies than start researching what healthy foods he can have and have him eat those. At the very least have him take a good quality multivitamin daily.

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May 1, 20090 found this helpful

If your Dr is not concerned hon, then might I suggest you not to worry? There is much protein found in legumes, textured protein vegetable (TPV), peanut butter to mention but a few. In fact, proteins in these foods, may very well be healthier than our meats of today.
So. let his doctor decide if there is room to be concerned. Good luck mom

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