But is a vegetarian diet healthy for a child? And what should we do to ensure our vegetarian children grow up strong and healthy?
The healthy vegetarian child
According to The Diet Channel, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association say that a carefully planned vegetarian diet can be nutritionally adequate for children. So how do you plan your child's diet? These tips are a good start.
- To help your child get enough protein, make sure they eat an assortment of plant foods as well as beans and soy products.
- For growing children, calories are even more important than protein. So make sure they get lots of high-calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and cheese.
- Because getting enough iron is a challenge for all vegetarians, both young and old, all vegetarians should be sure to eat plenty of high-iron foods such as soy milk, legumes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and fortified breads and cereals.
- You also need to ensure your vegetarian child gets enough vitamins D and B-12. The former can be found in foods such as fortified cow or soy milk, egg yolks, and fortified breakfast cereals. The latter from dairy foods and eggs and fortified foods, such as enriched cereals.
- And ensure your child gets enough omega-3 fatty acids by including food such as fish and eggs, walnuts, ground flaxseed, and tofu.