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Ensuring a Balanced Diet for a Vegetarian Child

Ensuring a Balanced Diet for a Vegetarian Child

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Are you a vegetarian? Wondering if your vegetarian child is receiving all important nutrients needed for the growth and development? Experts agree that a well-planned vegetarian diet can actually be a very healthy way to eat.

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Which are the Nutrients that may Lack in a Vegetarian Diet?

Due to the lack of meat products, vegetarian child may sometimes have an inadequate protein and iron intake. His/her intake of other nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc and other minerals may be insufficient. If the caloric intake is also extremely low, this could cause a delay in normal growth and weight gain.

Planning a Vegetarian Balanced Diet

To avoid your child from missing out on important nutrients, planning is the key. To ensure a balanced intake, your child’s diet can include:

Ensure a well-balanced diet for your toddler by including a variety of foods from all the food groups such as:
• Cereals, millets and pulses 
• Milk and milk products
• Vegetables and fruits
• Oils, fats and nuts.

  • Protein for growth: Protein intake should come from more than one source so that your toddler gets all the essential amino acids. Alternatives include pulses and legumes, milk products, soyabeans and tofu
  • Energy for growth and development: Dairy products, almond/peanut butter, avocado, cooking oils, cereal products, fruits and vegetables.
  • Iron to prevent anaemia : Legumes, whole cereals, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds in powder form, dried fruits, etc. Adding lemon juice to your child’s dal or including a glass of orange/sweet lime juice to your child’s breakfast will help in better absorption of iron.
  • Zinc : Nuts in powder form, whole grains, legumes
  • Vitamin B12 : Dairy products and food items made with yeast/fermented foods (idli, dosa, dhokla, bread and appams).
  • Vitamin D and calcium to prevent bone disease: Vitamin D and calcium-fortified beverages, green leafy vegetables. Being in the sun for at least 5 minutes is another way of getting enough of vitamin D.
  • Suitable fats from non-meat sources (avocado, milk and milk products, soya, cooking oils)

During the picky toddler stage, plan well and include foods from all the food groups to ensure that your child is getting a complete and balanced diet.

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