Is it okay to bring up my child as a vegetarian? (from 6 months) 

Health visitor Krystal Mesmain discusses whether it's okay to bring your child up as a vegetarian.

Find out more about vegetarian and vegan children.

Transcript of Is it okay to bring up my child as a vegetarian? (from 6 months)

Is it okay to bring up my child as a vegetarian?   Krystal: “If you're bringing up your child on a diet without meat, they'll need a varied diet to make sure that they have enough nutrients to grow up and develop.   The advice on introducing solids at around six months is the same for vegetarian and a non-vegetarian child. It's important to remember that if your child is vegetarian or vegan, their diet may be at risk of being low in iron, low in energy, but high in fibre.   Iron can be found in bread, beans and lentils, dried fruit, fortified cereals, dark green vegetables. You need to make sure that they're getting enough calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. It's important to take supplements, vitamin A, C and D, from six months old to five years, unless they're having a varied diet.   Take care when giving your child a vegan diet, which excludes all animal products. Fortified soya drinks contain some calcium and some breakfast cereals contain vitamin B12.   It's important to remember your child may also need vitamin B12 supplements. A vegan diet can be bulky and high in fibre. Your child can fill up before they've had enough calories, so it's important to take supplements.   Before introducing solids, speak to your health visitor or doctor who, if necessary, can refer you to a community dietician. As with any other diet, when introducing new foods, make sure that your child can cope with the lumps and chunks. When they're aged under five, make sure they don't have whole nuts, because of the risk of choking, and watch out for other choking hazards.”    


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Vegetarians and vegans

Advice on healthy and balanced vegetarian and vegan diets including essential nutrients