Ayden is 2 years old now, and even though he’s only a toddler he is very opinionated and verbal about the things he likes and does not like. Meat happens to be one of those things that he isn’t fond of. For some of you, your child may have figured out that the nuggets on their plate came from an actual once alive chicken. For others of you, you may be raising your child as a vegan or vegetarian for ethical or religious reasons. Whatever the reason, as parents we want to make sure that our little one has a quality diet so that they receive all of the nutrients that they might need.
First things first, it is perfectly healthy to be a vegetarian, or even vegan. Many people have survived off of diets ha exclude means and other animal based products. I understand why you are worried, because I too felt that same sense of uncertainty. Below are a few tips to make your journey a lot easier.
Don’t raise a pastafarian: Pasta is quick and easy to make especially for children who have a picky pallet but carbs break down and turn into sugar glucose. Having a balanced nutrition is important.
Encourage variety: At this stage of life, they are growing rapidly and need foods to replenish their energy. Letting your child try a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure that they receive all of the proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are found in the foods that are not in their diet.
Watch vitamin D and calcium: Animal based foods are also sources of vitamin D and calcium. Yogurt or as my son calls it “ yoyo” is a great alternative source.
Get enough B12: Vitamin B12 is an important part of any child’s diet. Your physician can check for B12 levels and recommend alternatives for supplementation.
Talk to your physician: Just like any other major lifestyle changes, include your physician in the planning of your child’s diet. This will help your caretaker keep an eye out for nutritional deficiencies.