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#114036 04/27/02 12:29 AM
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What special concerns do teenagers who want to be vegetarians face?


P. Pureheart
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#114037 04/28/02 05:13 PM
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One big problem for my sons during high school was the lack of vegetarian choices in the school cafeteria.

Karen

#114038 04/28/02 09:28 PM
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Karen, that's an excellent point. My husband and I have talked about how we would approach that issue when we had kids. It's just not a priority in schools to offer varied menus or to accommodate "special" diets. When I was in high school, there was a salad line where you could get salad or a baked potato, but I know that's not the case in most high schools.

In this situation, I think the best thing you can do is bring it up at local school board meetings. Another way you could raise awareness is if your kids are in extracurricular activities -- participate in potlucks, bring yummy vegetarian treats to bake sales or other fund raisers, and generally get the word out.

Here's an excellent article from the PCRM about vegetarian options in school lunch programs.

#114039 04/28/02 09:35 PM
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On the general issue of vegetarian teens, one of the most important things to watch out for is that your teen isn't going veg as part of a fad diet to lose weight. It's pretty easy for a teenager to go on a soda and potato chips "vegetarian" diet and lose sight of their nutritional needs.

Simply put, teenagers have higher caloric requirements because their burning more energy. You may notice your vegetarian teen being uncommonly hungry -- this is normal. My husband has a super high metabolism, so when we became vegetarians he was just eating all the time. I used to joke about how he was my vegan teen. In addition to a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and grains, I made sure he ate a few high fat foods, such as peanut butter and avocado to make sure he was meeting his caloric needs.


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