Your Child Wants to Be a Vegetarian? Here’s How to Support Them

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[image: https://pixabay.com/photos/baby-beautiful-food-nature-girl-3041366/]

Virtually all parents know a child’s tastes can change over time. While your kid may have avoided vegetables like the plague when they were a toddler, there may come a day when they decide they’d prefer to go vegetarian.

There are many reasons this can happen. Some younger children may have an aversion to the texture or taste of meat. Older kids sometimes go vegetarian for health or moral reasons.

Either way, if this happens, you need to know how to adjust to your child’s new diet and learn about vegetarian foods that kids will eat. These tips will help.

What is a Vegetarian?

The first step you must take is to simply review what vegetarianism actually is. It’s not where you don’t consume any animal products; that’s veganism. It’s also not where you eat fish but avoid land-based animals; that’s pescetarianism.

A vegetarian is someone who refrains from eating meat, fish, or poultry. There are also subgroups, including semi-vegetarians, who typically avoid red meat and fish but are willing to eat poultry on occasion. There are also vegetarians who refuse to consume eggs. Get to know your child’s specific definition of being a vegetarian early in order to understand what they will and won’t eat.

Make Sure Meals Have Variety

Contrary to popular belief, a vegetarian diet isn’t unhealthy. Researchers are actually beginning to promote vegetarianism as a means of preventing certain illnesses.

That said, if your child is going vegetarian, it’s important to incorporate variety into meals to ensure they’re getting proper nutrition. You also want to make sure their meals aren’t boring.

Luckily, many foods kids already love are either vegetarian, or can easily be made vegetarian. These include pizza, tacos/burritos (substitute beans for meat), soup, and hummus wraps. There are also many meat substitutes available. Try them out to see which ones your kids like.

Focus on Nutrition

Again, your main goal should be to ensure your kids are getting the right nutrients. That’s entirely possible with a vegetarian diet. Specifically, you should focus on:

  • Protein: A child can absolutely get enough protein for their needs while avoiding meat. Tofu, tempeh, nuts, and beans are all great sources of protein, as are milk and cheese if your child still eats dairy.
  • Calcium: Milk and cheese are also good sources of calcium. However, if your child prefers to avoid them, you can make sure they get sufficient calcium with leafy greens (like kale) and fortified orange juice.
  • Iron: Kids typically need a lot of iron. Leafy greens, beans, oats, and tofu all contain decent amounts of it. That said, because iron from non-meat sources isn’t absorbed as well as iron from meat sources, it also helps to eat these foods with foods rich in vitamin-C (such as citrus fruits and tomatoes). This boosts absorption.
  • Vitamin B12: This is the one nutrient that can be difficult to get without consuming animal-based foods. However, kids can take B12 supplements, or they can make a point of eating fortified soy foods.

Your child’s decision to become a vegetarian could actually be a very healthy one. You just need to know how to feed them now. By keeping these points in mind, you’ll serve up meals that satisfy their nutritional needs, fit their dietary restrictions, and still taste delicious.

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Arya Arpita

Arpita Arya, is the Co-founder of LinkOceans.com. She has been in the digital marketing industry for the past three years and contributed her expertise to various brands over the web. She has gained great experience and skill set in content marketing and improving the website's traffic through cross-promotion.

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How to support vegetarianism you share very well and effectively. still ensure full quality for children.

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