- Vitamin B12 is essential for vegetarian toddlers and can be acquired from various sources including dairy products, eggs, fortified foods, and supplements.
- Vegetarian toddlers need a daily intake of 400 IU of Vitamin D, which can initially be obtained from supplements, and later, from cow’s milk or soy milk.
- Calcium, an important nutrient, is normally received from dairy products. However, for vegan toddlers, it may need to be provided in the form of supplements or calcium-fortified foods.
- Iron stores in children last for the first 4 to 6 months post birth. After this period, iron-fortified cereals or iron supplements should be considered for vegetarian and vegan infants.
- Protein is crucial during the first year of growth and can be fulfilled with breast milk or formula, and after the first year, plant proteins can be introduced.
Recent findings from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggest that a properly planned vegetarian diet is beneficial for infants and toddlers, promoting overall health wellbeing.
However, it is of utmost importance that the child receives all the essential nutrients required for their development and growth.
Necessary Nutrients for a Vegetarian Toddler
We present a list of some of these essential nutrients:
This nutrient can be found in dairy products and eggs. For vegans, fortified foods such as soy beverages, cereals, and plant-based meat substitutes could serve as primary sources, while vitamin supplements offer an additional alternative.
Toddlers should receive 400 IU of vitamin D daily through supplements. Once they are old enough to drink cow’s milk or soy milk, they should be able to get their daily dose from these sources.
Infants and toddlers usually receive an adequate amount of calcium from foods like yogurt and cheese. Vegan toddlers may need to obtain their calcium intake from supplements or calcium-fortified foods.
Children are born with sufficient iron stores for the first 4 to 6 months of life. Post this period, vegetarian and vegan infants should intake iron-fortified cereals or consider iron supplements.
During the first year of growth, infants require a substantial quantity of protein. This nutrient demand is usually met with breast milk or formula. Post the first year, plant proteins from beans, cereals, and fortified soy milk can be introduced.
Fiber can be obtained from fortified cereals, bread, pasta, and high-fat plant foods like sunflower butter and avocados.
Remember that the information provided above assures a well-rounded vegetarian or vegan diet for toddlers, thereby promoting a healthy growth pattern.