Use gentle encouragement to get your teen to eat meat again.

How to Talk Your Teen Into Eating Meat

by Erin Schreiner

Children and teens are notorously finicky eaters. If your teen has decided to give up meat but you want her to reconsider, you may be able to sway her decision. With some effective education and parental prodding, you can improve your chances of helping your teen change her mind about her meatless eating habits.

1 Educate your teen. If your teen has decided to go vegetarian because it’s what the cool kids are doing or it’s trendy, make sure she has her facts straight. Talk to her about what it means to be a vegetarian, ask her why she has decided to become one and share with her your thoughts on the topic. When having this conversation, avoid coming off as preachy because, if you put too much pressure on your teen, you may only affirm her resolution.

2 Remind your teen that a vegetarian diet isn’t necessarily a healthy one. If you suspect that one of the factors motivating your teen to shy away from meat is the desire to shed a few pounds, it is vital that you remind her that many non-meat foods are just as unhealthy as meat, suggests the University of Michigan Health System. Eating fries instead of cheeseburgers isn’t a nutritionally advantageous swap.

3 Take your teen for a checkup. Speak to your teen’s doctor about his decision to go vegetarian and ask her to provide him some guidance. By facilitating a discussion between your teen and his doctor, you can allow your teen to hear from another source just how much planning eating a balanced diet, sans meat, actually requires. While your teen’s doctor may or may not push him away from his vegetarian decision, you can, at worst, ensure that he proceeds informed.

4 Map out an eating plan with your teen. Your now-non-meat-eater may be thinking he will live the rest of his life on chips and sandwich crackers. You know full well, however, that he can’t. Sit down with your teen and a food pyramid and talk about what foods he will need to eat to get the nutrients he once got from meat.

Warning

  • Though it may be tempting to demand that your teen drop her newest, meat-free obsession, trying to exert your parental power may have the opposite effect. Provide guidance, suggestions, and information and -- if you wish -- voice your opinion, but resist the urge to lay down the law.

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