Vegetarian diet - Children
As children mature, milk gradually provides less of the total nutrient intake and extra attention is needed to ensure nutritional adequacy. Food intake and problem eating behaviours such as fussiness and food refusal may contribute to inadequate nutrition in young children. Restricted diets in the early years may emphasise and contribute to these difficulties.
The nutritional areas of concern for vegetarian children include:
- Providing sufficient energy and nutrients for normal growth
- Providing an adequate iron intake to prevent iron deficiency anaemia
- Identifying adequate sources of vitamin B12 to prevent deficiency
- Obtaining sufficient vitamin D and calcium to prevent rickets
- Ensuring a plentiful supply of long chain (n-3) fatty acids from non meat sources, such as seeds and nuts
- Having food in an appropriate form and combination to ensure nutrients can be digested and absorbed by the child.