Keeping kids healthy on a vegetarian diet

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.

Common Sense Advice. Share your experiences, tips and advice on the Kidspot Forum.

This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include Vic Govt’s Better Health Channel and SA Government’s Parenting and Child Health

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