Child nutrition: a balanced vegetarian diet for toddlers

Child nutrition: a balanced vegetarian diet for toddlers

Many of us are vegetarians, or at least eat less meat than we used to. Whatever cuisine we serve our families, it's important that our toddlers get the right blend of nutrients, including enough iron and calcium. Find out more.

If your family is vegetarian, you need to be careful to serve balanced meals. Toddlers need lots of nutrients for their busy, growing bodies, and unless you take special precautions, your child may not get enough of the following:

  • Minerals
  • B vitamins
  • Iron
  • Calcium (in the case of a vegan diet)

Egg yolks and dark green vegetables are good sources of iron, and whole grains offer B vitamins. Also, children need much more fat in their diet – 30 to 50 percent of their total calories – than older children and adults. To make sure your child is getting everything he needs, you might want to consult a nutritionist. Your healthcare provider can probably suggest one.

Helpful hint: Make a toddler-friendly trail mix bag with cereal bits, unsalted bagel chips, raisin, and pieces of dried fruit. Try not to include nuts as they're a choking hazard (raisins are okay because they're softer and dissolve more easily). Remember to have your child sit while he's eating, even when you're on the go.

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