Tips for Parents
When Students Choose to Become Vegetarian or Vegan
Being a Vegetarian
What Does It Mean? Vegetarians abstain from eating meat, fish or poultry.
A vegetarian diet can meet people's known nutrient needs, according to the American Dietetic Association. The key is eating a wide variety of food from different food groups and limiting the amount of fatty, sweet substances. Check out the meal planning tips boxed here and the Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid for more information.
Being a Vegan
What Does It Mean? Vegans avoid using or consuming animal products. This includes items such as milk, cheese, eggs, leather, fur, wool, silk, down and products tested on animals (such as chemicals or cosmetics).
Why? Veganism is the touchstone of a cruelty-free lifestyle, plus it provides benefits to the lives of animals, to the environment and to individuals' health.
Students often choose to make a commitment to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle during their college years. The reasons for this vary: their awareness is raised, they are able to talk with more people making similar choices, they are stirred to get active and this lifestyle choice is one part of it, and more. It's typically not intended as a desire to make family life more difficult or to disparage your pork chops. Your vegetarian or vegan student may just be testing her wings and deciding what is important to her.
Luckily, most college dining halls offer a variety of options that provide adequate nutrition for vegetarians and vegans. Your student can also talk with folks in dining services about this lifestyle choice for assistance in planning nutritionally sound meals.
So, if you find that your student has decided to go meat- and/or animal product-free this holiday season, consider how he is growing and maturing into his own choices. Whether the decision to become a vegetarian or vegan "sticks" in the long run, for now it is about who he wants to be and how he wants to put his passions into action.
Vegetarian Meal Planning Tips
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