If schools have a good record of providing wholefood vegetarian options, there may be no problem requesting a vegan meal. The Vegan Society provides catering booklets that can be passed on to the canteen or catering company dealing with meals for the school. Packed lunches are another option that allows more control over the food provided. Have a look at our sandwich fillings page for recipe ideas.
Whilst adults find it difficult to put up with criticism from relatives and friends, children may find it much harder, being more sensitive to criticism and peer pressure. Many simply want to 'fit in' with the rest of the kids in the class and not have to constantly defend their food and lifestyle. However, some kids actually rise to the occasion and enjoy being that little bit different! Other than at lunchtime, veganism is probably not going to be much of an issue at primary school. However, it is wise to prepare children with sound information on veganism so they are able to stand firm against any comments coming their way.
Secondary school is likely to be more of a problem depending on the level of awareness in the school. Animal rights as an issue is more and more popular with kids in their teens and vegetarianism and veganism is becoming commonplace. Some schools are making a tremendous effort to provide healthier food in the canteen and it has to be said that the situation is improving all the time. The subject of veganism can even be found on the GCSE syllabus!
Providing vegan parents offer as much support, information and advice on this subject as they would on any other about which they hold firm convictions then this will give kids a good grounding for the future. Children deserve to have information presented to them in a manner that takes account of their age, sensitivity and level of understanding. Honest answers and straight-talking will pay rich dividends at a later date. Children who are not fed an assortment of half-truths or deliberate misinformation will have little difficulty in making the connection between live animals and the food on their plate.