Now, more than ever, there are a whole host of individuals and families who are living an alternative lifestyle and enjoying a less than a traditional diet.
I say alternative; being vegetarian or vegan is pretty normal nowadays and there are more and more dietary specialist restaurants and meal alternative making it easier than ever to enjoy a meet or dairy free diet.
But is it plausible to raise your children on a vegetarian or vegan diet?
If you yourself are vegetarian or you just believe it is a healthier lifestyle for your child, then you need to be 100% sure you can provide your little one with all they need for a balanced diet where they will get all of their nutrients.
A child who does not eat meat will need two or three portions of vegetable proteins or nuts every day to ensure they are getting enough iron and nutrients to help them grow and develop.
If you are worried about the amount of iron your child is receiving, then you need to make sure you are giving them enough of the following;
- fortified breakfast cereal
- dark green vegetables
- beans and lentils
- dried fruit, such as apricots, figs and prunes
Vitamin C is also needed to help the body absorb iron, so try to include this with every meal so you are really ensuring your child is getting the most out of their meals.
A vegan diet is a little different from vegetarian as you simply don’t have the access to key nutrients so will need to make them up elsewhere. Children need a varied diet to support growth and you do need to ensure that they are on the right track.
To start, if you yourself are a vegan, then you need to make sure you are taking a vitamin D supplement during breastfeeding so your baby is getting all of its needs.
A vegan diet is typically bulky and high in fibre, this can mean that your child has a tendency to get full up before they’ve taken in enough calories. If this is a concern, I would advise you speak to your GP to determine if your child is getting the right nutrients to help them grow and develop to the best of their ability.
There are many vegan alternatives to your normal spreads, meals and ingredients which will ensure that you or your children are not missing out on anything!
During your pregnancy and after, you should visit your GP, let them know your dietary choice and ask for some advice on how to raise a child with this diet. It will be a little more tricky but it isn’t impossible. If you do feel your child is lacking key nutrients, introduce them into their diet as their health is of the utmost importance!
Are you raising your child on a vegetarian or vegan diet? I’d love to know how you find it and if you have any tips to share with the In Good Taste community.