My Little Carnivore

Kate eats meat.

No two ways about it, she is a carnivore — okay, an omnivore — in her little almost 6-year-old heart, and you know what? I’m not going to fight it.

It all started with shrimp, either at a Christmas Eve celebration (we do the Feast of the Seven Fishes) or a wedding reception of some kind, and it’s gone on from there.

When she buys lunch at school (about once or twice a month), she gets the meat option (unless lunch is cheese pizza). “Hey, mom, I had popcorn for lunch today!” “You mean you had popcorn chicken today.” “Yeah, and I liked it!” She recently had a hamburger, too, which made me cringe a little bit because I’m not crazy about the idea of her eating cafeteria meat. Sorry, school. (I’m not really sorry. School lunches aren’t that healthy, we all know this.)

She asked for a piece of turkey at Thanksgiving, and I gave it to her. She ate Flora’s piece too. And had a turkey sandwich the next day.

(Flora is a vegetarian at heart. She’s equal parts appalled by Kate’s interest in meat and slightly envious of her chutzpah to ask for it.)

Here are the reasons I’m cool with this:

1. She’s eating, and she eats well. She continues to eat a variety of foods: grains, carbs, fruits, vegetables. Girl will eat two helpings of salad when I serve it. She says she eats the vegetables (or fruit) in the cafeteria, and drinks milk.

2. She continues to eat vegetarian at home. I seldom cook meat at home anyway. Dan only gets to eat with us twice a week, so it’s four mostly vegetarians for dinner each night. She doesn’t complain.

3. Eating meat doesn’t seem to bother her, and don’t think she does it to be defiant. I think she does it because she’s curious. I don’t make a big deal of it with her, and I’ve made that clear, that I’m not mad she wants to eat meat, and I’m not mad she does. Nothing constructive is going to come of that!

The only not-cool thing is when I pack her a lunch (only almost every day!), and she says she “forgot” and buys lunch instead. We’re still working on this issue. I spend time making lunches, for one, and for two: school lunches cost money. Once in awhile is fine, but I’m not putting out nearly $15 for lunch in a week. No.

When Kate is older (for that matter, when all my kids are older), I’m sure we’ll talk more in depth about vegetarianism. I am vegetarian for a variety of reasons, among them the fact that I don’t like the taste of meat. Kate does. Maybe when she understands some other issues (environmentalism, meat additives like hormones and antibiotics, the differences in local meat versus trucked in grocery store meat), she change things up.

But until then? Kate eats meat.

7 thoughts on “My Little Carnivore

    • My son does a bacon dance around the kitchen when we get it for weekend breakfast. He gets so excited, and it’s only turkey bacon. The poor boy doesn’t know what he’s really missing!

      • Bacon dance. That’s awesome. It’s true, Kate has not had bacon yet. She hasn’t asked for it yet, either. Maybe she’s working her way up the chain. 😉

  1. I admire you for accepting Kate’s choice. I think a lot of people criticize vegetarian parents for “forcing” being a vegetarian on their kids. I think you have a healthy attitude. And speaking of healthy, school cafeteria meat potentially as exception, I do believe that meat can be a part of a healthy diet.

    • Oh, I 100% think meat can be and is a healthy part of people’s diets. I don’t mean to imply that meat qua meat is bad, not at all. As a matter of fact, I am toying with trying to get local beef and chicken from my CSA (or maybe a farmers market) and trying it myself. One of my biggest issues with meat in the animal products industry (factory farming and the like). Smaller, local, more concientious farming and animal raising is something I could totally support.

  2. I wonder if the Bacon Dance is an offshoot of my Pork Chop Dance that I invented back in 2001… (Done to appease the pork chop gods, lest they smite me with dry pork chops.) I thought I had it under wraps, but word might have leaked out. I better check YouTube…

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