Which Vegetarian Diet Makes Sense for Your Kids?
The children most at risk for deficiencies are weaning babies and young toddlers on a vegan diet, because they cannot tolerate the bulk required to get all the nutrients they need. If you are raising your toddler as a vegan vegetarian, be sure to serve high-calorie foods like nut butters, avocados, dates and supplemented foods such as soy milks and fortified cereals.
Raising a child on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet poses few concerns, except perhaps for the possibility of iron deficiencies. Iron-fortified infant cereal for the first 24 months of life makes the transfer to dependence on vegetable products safer.
Here are menu ideas that will supply your toddler (10 or 11 months) with a well-balanced, lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. Don't forget the snacks.
Breakfast: Iron-fortified rice cereal, vitamin C-fortified baby applesauce, a cup of formula, milk or soy milk
Lunch: Cottage cheese mixed with mashed banana, bits of ripe avocado, carrot puree, a cup of formula, milk or soymilk
Dinner: Finger-food squares of tofu, fork-smashed green peas, whole-grain bread toasted and cut into sticks, a cup of formula, milk or soy milk
Breakfast: Iron-fortified mixed-grain baby cereal, vitamin C-fortified baby pears or pear juice, Cheerios, milk, formula or soy milk in a cup
Lunch: Chopped hard-cooked egg yolk, tender cooked broccoli florets, bits of a pumpkin muffin, milk, formula, or soy milk
Dinner: Brown rice and lentils, tender cooked green beans, yogurt, milk, soymilk or formula
Breakfast: Scrambled egg, muffin, peeled cut up orange sections (membranes removed), milk, formula or soy milk
Lunch: Pasta sprinkled with cheese, baby peaches or bits of very ripe fresh peach, formula, milk or soy milk
Dinner: Mashed banana and smooth peanut butter spread* on whole wheat bread, cream of carrot soup, cup of milk, formula or soy milk
* Recipe for peanut butter and banana spread: Mix one tablespoon of creamy peanut butter with 1/3 jar of jarred baby banana puree. Spread on soft whole wheat bread or apple wedges. Makes enough to generously cover three slices of bread -- a great alternative to PB & J.