Is My Child's Pickiness With Food Just a Phase?

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"My daughter is 12 years old, about to be 13. In recent months she has been extremely picky where she has never been picky in her life. She completely stopped eating pork almost a year ago which I honestly don't mind because I actually haven't eaten pork since my early 20s. Well in the last month she has decided she doesn't want to eat beef, last week she said she was tired of chicken, & just wants to eat fish. Well last night she asked me to research meat alternatives because she wants to stop eating meat all together. My question is should I just leave her alone & let her decide what she wants to eat? Could it just be a phase? Also has any other mamas gone through this.? Any advice & opinions would be greatly appreciated."

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The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

"It may be a phase, it may not be. I would support her, lots of stores have vegan options so I would try to get her some of those. Whether she continues this or not, it shows her you care and you support her."

"Have you asked her why she doesn’t want to eat meat? And don’t force it… just make sure she gets her needed protein via alternative ways. If she is asking you to look up meat alternatives…doesn’t sound like she has had major vegan influence…or she would be telling you about alternative proteins. Also, maybe she is having digestive issues and thinks it is coming from eating meat. And she may just not like meat. I would find out what is up and go from there."

"It may or may not be a phase. Let her decide honestly. There are plant-based “meats” which is fake meat made out of plants basically."

"Both of my girls did the same. My oldest is 18 and eats meat again. My other daughter is 11 and told me she feels bad that animals have to die for us to eat. I let her decide for herself. There are lots of meat alternatives out there. Check out some Meatless Monday recipes on google or pinterest so the whole family can have meals together. Sometimes I will just make a bunch of side dishes for dinner or something like fettuccine alfredo. Nobody complains and it keeps the little one happy!"

"I was about that age when I stopped eating meat. My mom thought it was a phase. I’m 42 and still don’t eat it."

"She sounds like she wants to be a vegetarian. My daughter did the same thing and she eats normally without meat"

"I was 13 when I stopped eating meat and my parents thought it was a phase too. They just supported my decision and bought plant protein as a substitute for me. I’m almost 22 and still don’t eat it."

"It might be a phase, it might not. But at 12 how you react to respecting her choices will matter. It won’t hurt to let her try vegetarian options. A vegetarian diet is massively healthy as long as it’s a balanced diet with the right amount of fiber, iron, protein, etc. use it as a way to spend time together - research options, cook, etc. I promise that no matter if she sticks to it or not, she will remember the respect and support you showed her."

"Could be compassion for animals or opposition to factory livestock operations, or avoidance of antibiotics, pesticides and added hormones, or concern for the environment. Eating a plant-based diet is healthier for people, the planet, and certainly the animals! Sounds like a smart girl, not a picky one. They say if you see how we raise and slaughter our meat and poultry you’ll swear off eating animals forever…"

"I’d tell her to research and teach her how to cook vegetarian. She's old enough. Plus shell learns a skill. But I certainly wouldn’t make her eat meat."

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