Vegetarian Diet For Kids: How To Get Essential Nutrients

Children need a healthy and varied diet, which provides food from different groups, does this mean that they can not eat a vegetarian diet?

A child can eat a vegetarian diet, but some nutrients are hard to come by. On our site we clarify how essential nutrients can be obtained in a vegetarian diet for children.

There are different levels of vegetarianism, the strictest, when only foods of plant origin are consumed -veganism- or other more relaxed ones in which eggs and / or milk -or lacto vegetarianism- are allowed.

The diets in which red meat is not consumed, but chicken or fish are also worth mentioning, because, although they are not vegetarian, they are an option that many vegan parents choose for their children during childhood.

Any of these vegetarian diets has to be well planned, and even so, certain deficiencies can occur. These are the nutrients that can cause the most problems:

  • B12 vitamin: this vitamin presents a problem in vegetarians from birth. If the mother is vegan and her diet is not supplemented, the breastfed infant should take supplements of this vitamin.
  • Vitamin D and calcium: If dairy is not included in the diet, as in the case of strict vegetarians, it is necessary to supplement the child's diet with these micronutrients, since their growth, if there is not a sufficient intake, can be seriously compromised.
  • Iron: iron in plant-based foods is absorbed with greater difficulty than heme iron, and to enhance its absorption in the body, it is necessary to combine, in the same meal, foods with iron and foods with vitamin C.
  • Zinc: it is one of the most problematic and of the most difficult contribution. It can be achieved through seeds and nuts in older children, but it will most likely have to be supplemented if there are dietary deficiencies when children cannot yet eat these foods.
  • Protein: the protein in foods of plant origin is of lower quality than those of foods of animal origin, so it is necessary to look for combinations, in the same meal, that manage to increase this value.
  • Grease: The vegetarian diet is low in fat, and the lack of essential fatty acids can affect the intellectual development and learning in the child. Fish is the best source, as well as nuts and seeds. It can also be obtained from oils, such as olive.
  • Energy- For strict vegetarian children, it is difficult to get enough energy from plant-based foods alone, as it means eating servings of vegetables that are too large for the size of their stomachs. We must find alternatives or combinations that increase the caloric value of vegetarian dishes.

Taking into account all these points, the ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet, if well prepared, is the best option during the stages of maximum growth.

You can read more articles similar to Vegetarian Diet For Kids: How To Get Essential Nutrients, in the category of Diets and children's menus on site.

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