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What To Feed A Vegetarian Child

Deciding to go vegan is a good move for good health. However, if meat is not on the menu for your toddler, feeding your little one can be quite tricky. Here are some tips on what to feed a vegetarian child to make feeding easier for you and your toddler.

Protein Alternatives

When feeding a vegetarian child, see to it there is enough protein in his daily diet. Protein is very important in order for the body to function normally. But since you will not be offering meat and poultry products (which are packed with protein) to your toddler, look for other sources of protein such as beans, legumes, nut and seed butters, dairy products, whole grains, silken tofu (mixed with mashed bananas for a tastier treat), soy chicken nuggets and some meat substitutes like veggie burgers.

Iron-rich Foods

Feed your vegetarian child enough iron in his diet. You can find plenty of green foods that are rich in iron. Examples are dried fruits, soy products, baked beans, broccoli, lentils, spinach and iron-fortified breads, cereals and pasta.

Vitamin B12 Foods

Vitamin B12 is vital for normal growth and development. Vitamin B12 is found in many non-meat sources such as cheese, eggs, soy milk, breakfast cereals, tofu and nutritional yeasts. However, if your vegetarian child refuses to eat dairy, then he will need a vitamin B12 supplement. B12 supplements are necessary to prevent anemia or nerve damage.

Calcium-rich Foods

Dairy products such as egg, cheese, soy milk and yogurt are good sources of calcium. Generally, most vegetarian children love eating dairy. But, if your toddler is being picky, feed your little one broccoli, navy beans, sweet potatoes, leafy vegetables and orange juice which are also great sources of calcium.

Vitamin C Foods

To improve the absorption of nutrients, serve some vitamin C-rich food at every meal. A bowl of cereal topped with strawberries, pasta with tomato sauce, papayas, lemons, grapefruits, kiwi, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers and a cup of orange juice will seal the deal.

Vegetarian Soups

Children love soup. Soups are full of flavor. Make sure you include vegetables when making soup to ensure your vegetarian child is getting sufficient servings of vitamins and minerals. Prepared soups such as vegetable and tomato are very tasty. But, they may contain beef or chicken broth so see to it you read the labels carefully.

Energy Foods

Energy foods contain plenty of calories for ideal growth. Feed a vegetarian child a variety of energy foods packed with carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and cereals, dairy goods, fruits and vegetables, nuts, spreads and oils. These are foods that will help your vegetarian child put on weight and develop muscle tissues naturally.

Vitamins and Supplements

Vegan children need vitamins and supplements to ensure they are getting the nutrients found in meat and poultry. Make sure your toddler gets his dose of vitamins every day. It would be best to consult with your pediatrician for the right supplement and dosage.

Feeding a vegetarian child is not as complicated as it seems. Be imaginative. Experiment so you can come up with vegetarian dishes that are not only healthy but colorful and appetizing.

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November 2017
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