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Help With A Vegetarian Please


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I have a little chap who is just 4 and he and his family are all vegetarians, he has an 8 year old sister.

I didn't know this until I was chatting to his mum, and in conversation I mentioned how he enjoys milk at break time, and she said she wasn't surprised as he doesn't have it at home as they are vegetarians. For a while he chose water. At the Christmas party he brought in his own vegetarian sausages (all children bring in a dish) & I explained to mum that there would be sausage rolls and I'd keep an eye on him if she wanted me too, but she said he wouldn't eat them as he'd know they were meat and gave him a talk about not eating the sausage rolls. Guess what was the first thing he chose to eat :o

The thing is now, not only has he started choosing milk at break time, but also at lunch he is passing comments to other children about their lunch. Today someone had a cereal bar, and he told them they were vegetarian, and this is happening more and more often. We have talked about what a vegetarian is, but I think to him anything that doesn't have meat in is vegetarian.

Do I mention this to Mum? Although I'm more concerned about the milk. I don't want to insist he has water, as the children have a choice and help themselves.

But obviously his parents have their beliefs, which I wouldn't want to go against.

Any advice would be gratefully received

 

thanks jackie

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It is tricky. I know my best friend brought her children up as vegetarian and my sister is doing the same thing. However they have both spoken about how when their child got to be/gets to be old enough to ask for something with meat in they would let them try it. With my sister her only concern is that there is a family history of digestive issues and she is worried that a sudden input of meat based product might cause a sudden output of something not nice!

 

In our setting we try to ensure that all children are offered food which is suitable for anyone who might be in that day to prevent cross contamination (especially for allergies). However it does rely on us being told and also we are only a sessional setting so don't have to provide more than a snack.

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Is it vegan that doesnt eat anything that comes from an animal, hence the milk not being allowed? I thought milk would have been recommended for the under 5's, but maybe he's getting substitutes at home, could he have that instead?. Why not do a mini topic about food, you can look at all the foods vegetarians eat and all the other stuff. It might help him to understand a bit more.

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Is he vegan then if he doesn't have milk? Vegetarians are generally happy with milk, and with cheese so long as it is vegetarian friendly - ie not produced using rennet.

Vegetarians eat eggs and anything which is not a product of killing an animal in its produce, so milk should be fine - unless he has a lactose intolerance

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You need to clarify this with her, giving her the information that he really would like to choose milk. But unfortunately it is her call!! This also needs to be clarified on his registration form or however you record children's needs.

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We have a variety of allergies etc as I am sure alot of you do to. We even had a parent who wrote no alcohol on the dietary requirements section!!! Our older children are good at reminding each other of the things they can't have and just seem to accept that certain chidlren don't have certain things, your problem however is not the other chidlren but the consumer himself!!! I think a food topic and a chat with mum might help.

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Jackie,

 

Do you not have somewhere on your registration forms which ask about dietary requirements? As a vegetarian myself I have always made it clear wherever my children have gone that we are all vegetarians and what food we do, or more significantly don't, eat. There is no way I would leave it to chance, so I am a little puzzled by your mum! Maybe, as someone else has suggested, that whilst they are a family of vegetarians and she would prefer him not to have it, she has left it up to him to make his own choices when he's outside the home. :o I do think you need to get some sort of written agreement with mum here so that everyone is absolutely clear.

 

And everyone is right, a vegetarian will have milk whereas a vegan won't.

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Yes, the parents all fill out form about various aspects of their children & dietery requirements and there is nothing in his to say he cannot have milk or about him being vegetarian.

I will speak to mum on Monday and see if he can bring his own milk, but I'm wondering if this is quite a new thing in their family as he has been with us for a year now and it has only come to light over the last couple of months.

Not being a vegetarian myself I honestly didn't know if vegetarians had milk or not.

 

Thankyou for your help & advice,

 

jackie :o

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My sister has brought my neice up as a vegetarian and she has milk - and lots of it. When she started Nusery, my sister talked to them about what she is allowed and not - vegetarian cheese, milk (all types) - and also to make sure that any food has the vegetarian society approved logo on it - some foods might appear vegetarian but actually have some meat by-products in it e.g. fruit fools etc and has asked the nursery to be aware of this. (Even wine isn't safe - sometimes it involves animal by-products in the fining porcess to rid the wine of cloudiness etc).

 

The nursery have been fantastic about this and my neice is one of a few vegetarians there. As my neice has got older, she has taught her what being a vegetarian means and what foods she can/can't have. As a result, my neice is now (at 3 1/2) able to express herself at parties and such that she is a vegetarian and doesn't eat meat. She also is aware of the vegetarian symbol on foods and looks for them on packaging. I have just become a vegetarian too and it makes a very interesting topic for us to talk about. My neice now even questions the assistants in M&S if it is vegetarian!!!

 

Having read your last post about the parent not mentioning it on the registration form, it could be a new thing, but it does sound a little strange that a little one isn't being allowed milk of some form. Like Beau, my sister always makes sure that she mentions it and I know I would be in big trouble from both my sister and my neice if I didn't mention it too. I agree with Beau, I think you should get some written agreement about what he is/isn't allowed and then communicate this clearly within your setting and a food topic sounds like a good (and yummy) idea too!

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Hi there

 

If this is a new thing and is therefore not mentioned anywhere on the registration paperwork, I wonder if it might be a good time to remind parents of the need to update their child's records whenever a significant change happens?

 

I remember a few years ago we had been recommended to make some change or other on our registration form and we decided to revamp it totally and ask all parents to complete a new form for their child. Imagine our surprise when one mother put in 'medical conditions' that her child was likely to have a febrile convulsion if he developed a high temperature! It was unclear whether she would ever have told us if we hadn't asked her to fill out a new form.

 

I agree with what Beau says, and really you need a clear list of things this child can and can't eat - you can't afford to have woolly areas where you are unsure what you can offer the child and it isn't fair to your staff. I say put the responsibility back with the parent and then act on her explicit instructions!

 

Easy for me to say, isn't it? :o

 

Good luck!

 

Maz

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you need to ask parents to clarify issue.. we ahve had several parents who have said he child is vegetarian.. but in the next breath to say but they can try anything in pre-school, not to worry, if they chose to try something let them.....

 

as to updating registration forms.. we always sent one to update details at regular intervals...last time I remember there were 3 who had moved and not told us..on asking this was not recent, and several with different phone numbers..both land line and mobile.....as well as the changes in medical details.....this was even though they had signed to say that they would keep us updated of any changes and that we would not take responsibility if anything arose from their failure to keep us updated.

 

 

Inge

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It's really annoying isn't it!

I had to telephone to call a Dad out of work once to collect a child who'd been sick. He said I should have phoned home first - which of course I had and had got 'number unobtainable'. Anyway he stumped off in high dudgeon with the child to check his phone line. When Mum came in the next day she told me off for getting him out of work and that she'd been in! When I showed her on my phone 'numbers dialled' she told me that that was her old number, and that I should have known that! Well, Duh, have you amended your registration form? No - but that was my fault too as I hadn't asked her to! She obviously wasn't going to admit to being in the wrong - and had obviously been told off by her husband and was passing the buck!

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For vegetarians you also have to be careful of things like jellys/jelly type sweets which can have animal products in (gelatine etc). Most vegetarians would eat dairy produce provided it is rennet free. Some eat fish (like me!) Vegans would also not have honey as an animal product.

Cx

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For vegetarians you also have to be careful of things like jellys/jelly type sweets which can have animal products in (gelatine etc). Most vegetarians would eat dairy produce provided it is rennet free. Some eat fish (like me!) Vegans would also not have honey as an animal product.

Cx

 

Sorry, now you've just touched on one of my absolute pet hates! If you eat fish you are not a vegetarian!! You are a pescatarian.

 

Vegetarians do not eat fish!

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I was told I'm pescatarian, and I'm happy with that. If I take the life of a fish, i'm not truly vegetarian. I find as a coeliac there are so many things I cannot eat that I do need to eat something from this group and I'd rather eat fish from my local fish farm than meat, as such. If I could, I'd not eat even that, but my diet is so limited anyway....

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I was told I'm pescatarian, and I'm happy with that.

My good friend Campbells has her own rule as to what constitutes being a vegetarian. She doesn't eat anything that had a face...

 

I love this word pescatarian - nearly as nice as ennui, Cait. :o How can I fit that into a sentence this week...? xD

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