I Was A Teen Vegetarian

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Both kids and parents say the lifestyle has its challenges. Eating out--at restaurants, friends' houses and school--can be tricky and sometimes encourages junk-food consumption or even abstaining from eating. Jeff Siegfried, a 13-year-old vegetarian from Bellingham, Wash., says his school-cafeteria offerings are so "pathetic," he often skips lunch. For kids of ranchers, such as Carina Fisher, 17, of Bakersville, Calif., the diet can be alienating. No longer a vegetarian, Fisher recalls unwittingly insulting family friends by attending barbecues and brandings with egg sandwiches in hand.

Indeed, carnivorous parents sometimes resist the diet, often for practical reasons. Making separate meals at dinner can be chaotic. And they worry about their kids' getting proper nutrition. "But kids--who don't tend to be great nutritionists--need to watch what they're eating regardless," says Bier. "And, keep in mind, most Americans need to be eating more fruits and vegetables anyway. It's good stuff!"

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