Keeping kids healthy on a vegetarian diet
If you’re thinking of changing the family diet to vegetarian, there are a few things you'll need to consider in order to keep your child healthy:
- If your child is a bit of a picky eater, they might miss out on a lot of their daily requirements if they stop eating meat. Try to combat this by widening his diet before phasing out meat.
- You might want to start with just a few days a week as you get used to cooking vegetarian meals
- You need to consume a lot more food on a vegetarian diet to provide the daily nutritional requirements, so give your vegetarian child plenty of snacks to ensure he eats enough.
- Recognise that there has to be some give and take in a vegetarian diet – some foods can be substituted, but there are others that may need to be topped up with a supplement.
- Use wholegrain and refined cereals alternately.
- Mix higher fat foods with lower energy foods – vegetable fritters, samosas.
- Use full fat dairy products, oils, nut butters and avocado to provide increased energy in your child’s vegetarian diet.
- If your child stops eating meat, despite the fact that the rest of the family is happily eating it, try to compromise with less ‘meaty’ family dinners – like chicken stir-fry where vegetables play the starring role – or alternating vegetarian days.
- Consult a dietician for advice about providing a healthy and balanced vegetarian diet for your child.
- If you are concerned about your vegetarian child’s growth or weight, see your doctor for advice.
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