- When raising children on a vegetarian or vegan diet it’s necessary to provide essential nutrients to meet their growth requirements.
- Vitamin B12 is found in eggs and dairy products for vegetarians and in fortified soy products and cereals for vegans.
- Vitamin D and calcium, crucial for bone health, are plentiful in fortified dairy products, whilst iron, critical for growth and development, can be found in daily supplements and fortified cereals.
- Protein, forming the building blocks of our bodies, can be sourced from legumes, fortified cereals, and soy milk. Dairy products and eggs can also be included for lacto-vegetarians.
- Fiber, which supports digestive health, can be sourced from fortified and whole-grain foods like bread, pasta, and cereals, along with avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Choosing to raise your child on a vegetarian diet can bring on many benefits, but it necessitates the assurance of providing essential nutrients to meet their growth requirements.
Ensuring a Comprehensive Diet
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics emphasises on certain essential nutrients that should form the basis of a child’s vegetarian or vegan diet:
Sources of Vitamin B12 in a vegetarian diet may include eggs and dairy products such as milk. On the other hand, for a strictly vegan diet, fortified soy products and cereals are excellent alternatives.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D and calcium are critical for bone health. Both these nutrients are plentiful in fortified dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Iron is another critical component that supports healthy growth and development. Daily supplements and fortified cereals are good sources of iron in a vegetarian diet.
Protein forms the building blocks of our bodies and is a crucial part of a child’s diet. Legumes, fortified cereals, and soy milk are excellent sources of protein for vegetarians. Yogurt and eggs can be added in the diet for lacto-vegetarians.
Fiber, which promotes digestive health, can be readily sourced from fortified and whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals. Avocados, nuts, and seeds are also fiber-rich foods.
The focus is on the right mix and balance, ensuring all necessary nutrients are present in the diet. If you have any queries, it is recommend to contact a registered dietitian.