I'm vegetarian. My kids?…not so much. This is mostly because I only recently stopped eating meat (earlier this year) and the transition for kids who won't eat beans is a bit slower. I can't stomach handling raw meat but I will give them deli meat and chicken nuggets and stuff like that.
I have always been straight with my kids about meat…what it is and where it comes from. I haven't really ever sugar-coated it much more than toning it down to be age appropriate. In the meat section of the market, my girls as toddlers would point to pink and brown slabs of indistinguishable "stuff" and ask, "Mom, what's that?" To which I would answer, "That's the muscle of a dead pig sweetie."
So I shouldn't have been surprised today when I overheard my girls playing "knights" with their stick horses saying, "Come on, get your dead cow food and let's go." Hmm, I might need to remind them that our culture softens the blow a bit by calling it beef.