Keeping kids healthy on a vegetarian diet
If you're a vegetarian and are interested in bringing your child up as a vegetarian, or are considering changing the family diet to vegetarian, think about the following:
- Fussy eaters may struggle to meet all their daily requirements on a vegetarian diet. Try to widen his diet before phasing out meat.
- 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 gently encourage her back to her meat-eating ways with less 'meaty' dinners - perhaps a chicken stir-fry where vegetables play the starring role.
- Consult a dietitian 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.
Find more relevant articles and information about vegetarian diets
This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. New Zealand's parenting resource for school age. Sources include Raising Children Network. Sources include Vic Govt's Better Health Channel and SA Government's Parenting and Child Health