Vegetarianism is a popular type of plant-based diet that is gaining popularity among people due to the multitude of health benefits associated with it. Because of this, many adults are switching to this eating habit. However, parents are still doubtful whether their kids are going to get the necessary nutrients by following a vegetarian diet. According to many dietary experts, eating well planned plant-based food is healthy for both adults and children. The purpose of this article is to discuss in detail about vegetarian diet for children; read on to know more about it.
A vegetarian diet focuses on eating more plant-based food, and this is a popular choice among health-conscious people. There are different types of this diet, and they are listed below.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: Eats eggs and dairy products, but avoids meat, fish, and poultry.
- Lacto-Vegetarian: Eats dairy products, but avoids meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
- Ovo-Vegetarian: Eats eggs, but avoids meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
- Vegans: Eats only plant-based food and avoids all kinds of animal-based food products and by-products.
- Semi-Vegetarians: Eats poultry, fish, and dairy products, but avoids red meat.
People follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for a variety of reasons. For example, children follow this diet because they are part of a family that eats a plant-based meal, and this can be due to culture, lifestyle, or other reasons. Also, when following this diet, you must remember that the nutritional requirements vary according to the age group.
Nutrition For All Age Groups
When planning a vegetarian diet for children, you can seek the help of a dietician or doctor. Parents must give a variety of plant-based food for their children because this ensures that they get adequate nutrients and calories for their growth and development. For instance, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps to meet the dietary fiber requirements in children. It also helps to maintain a healthy weight. However, parents must ensure that they get ideal amounts of certain vitamins and minerals; these and their sources are listed below.
- Vitamin B12: This is found in fortified foods like bread, cereals, rick-based drinks, soy milk, nutritional yeast, eggs, and dairy products.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D fortified food products like orange juice and milk.
- Protein: Legumes, nuts, soy products, tofu, dairy products, and eggs.
- Calcium: Leafy vegetables, broccoli, dairy products, cereals, rice drinks, orange and other citrus juices, beans, and calcium-fortified foods.
- Iron: Dried fruits, leafy greens, dried beans, eggs, bread, and iron-fortified foods.
- Zinc: Dried beans, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and fortified cereal.
You must know that the body needs micronutrients like vitamins and minerals at the optimal level, too much or too less of them cause health issues.