Your toddler’s rapid growth and development means they need a healthy and varied diet. Toddlebox nutrition expert Niamh Brannelly explains the key nutrients you need to know about if you’re raising a vegetarian toddler.
Vegetarians don’t eat any meat, poultry, fish, seafood or animal by-products such as gelatine; they do eat dairy products such as milk and eggs. If you choose to give your toddler a vegetarian diet, there are particular nutrients which you need to consider carefully. However, if you plan their diet carefully there is no reason why your toddler should not get all the nutrients they need in the right amounts.
Variety is the spice of life
It is important to vary what your vegetarian toddler eats. Some nutrients from vegetarian sources are found in smaller amounts or are less easily absorbed by your toddler’s body than those same nutrients found in meat or fish, so if you don’t plan your toddler’s diet properly they could miss out on some essential nutrients such as protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids.
All nutrients are equally important, as they are essential for good health. The following are key ones to consider when planning your toddler’s meals.
Vegetarian sources of important nutrients:
Find out more in The Importance of Vitamin D & Iron and use our parent-friendly guide Using the Food Pyramid to help plan your veggie toddler’s meals!