Kids Can Be Vegetarian Too

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Kids Can Be Vegetarian Too
Kids Can Be Vegetarian Too

Many people think that the vegetarian diet can only be lived by adults. In fact, children can also you know to be vegetarian. It's just that, parents must ensure that all the nutritional needs of their children are met, so that children avoid the risk of malnutrition

A vegetarian diet is a diet that avoids meat, fish and poultry. Many experts agree that this diet can provide he alth benefits. However, this diet is also at risk of causing malnutrition.

Children Can Be Vegetarian Too - Alodokter

Malnutrition in children is something that has a negative impact on their he alth and intelligence, both in the short and long term. So, if you want to apply a vegetarian diet to your little one, make sure you know very well what nutritional needs you have to pay attention to.

Vegetarian Types of Diet

Before, you need to know the eating rules for certain types of vegetarian diets, including:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian, namely a diet that does not eat meat, poultry, or fish, but eats eggs, milk, and dairy products
  • Lacto-vegetarian, which is a diet that does not consume meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, but still consumes dairy products
  • Ovo-vegetarian, namely a diet that does not consume meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products, but still eats eggs
  • Vegan, which is a diet that only consumes plant products and does not consume animal products at all, including eggs and dairy products

In addition to the above, sometimes there is also the term semi-vegetarian, which means not eating red meat, but still eating poultry or fish.

Nutritional Intake to Pay Attention to Vegetarian Children

Based on age group, here are some nutritional intakes that must be considered when adopting a vegetarian diet for children:


In the first 6 months, the main source of nutrition and protein for babies is breast milk or formula. If you follow a vegan diet, you run the risk of a lack of protein, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, which are usually mostly obtained from meat and dairy.

Because your little one gets nutrition from Mother, he is also at risk of lacking this nutrient. So, make sure you consume enough protein, vitamin B12 and vitamin D during breastfeeding. If necessary, fulfill this need using supplements.

If you are not exclusively breastfed, babies who are on a vegetarian diet can consume soy-based formula. Choose soy milk that has been fortified with vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

After turning 6 months old and starting to eat complementary foods (MPASI), make sure that vegetarian babies are also at risk of some nutritional deficiencies, including:

  • Protein, which can be obtained from tofu porridge, cheese, yogurt, and nuts
  • Vitamin B12, which can be obtained from soy milk fortified with vitamin B12
  • Iron, which can be obtained from beans, legumes, and tofu
  • Iodine, which can be obtained from wheat, rice, and oats

So make sure your little one gets enough of these nutrients from these foods, right, Bun.

Toddler (under 3 years old)

Toddlers are notoriously picky about what food they put in their mouths. The risk is that toddlers' calorie and nutritional intake with a vegetarian diet are more prone to not being fulfilled.

Meanwhile, toddlers are required to meet the intake of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and zinc. So, it is important for parents to serve a variety of vegetarian food with these ingredients.

Some examples of foods that are recommended for vegetarian toddlers are vegetables, potatoes, beans, and fortified cereals. Vitamin supplements may be recommended for children who find it difficult to meet nutrition from food, for example because they are lazy to eat.

Preteens and teens

If done right, a meat-free diet is actually beneficial for preteens and teens. Even so, this must also be done while paying attention to the intake of needed nutrients, such as iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

If you really want to apply a vegetarian diet to your child, the l acto-ovo vegetarian diet is a better choice for preteens and teens. This is because the calorie and protein needs of children also increase in their teens.

Some examples of foods that are recommended for vegetarian preteens and teens include green vegetables, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.

Risk of Malnutrition in Vegetarian Children

A well-planned vegetarian diet can still provide nutrition for children. However, as has been repeatedly mentioned above, this diet does have many risks, ranging from iron deficiency, vitamin C, vitamin D, to the worst is kwashiorkor or chronic energy deficiency.

If this happens, these risks can interfere with the physical and brain development of the Little One. As a result, he became a weaker child, sick easily, and not brilliant, either intellectually or emotionally.

Therefore, it is important for Mom and Dad to consider as well as possible before actually applying this diet to your little one. If necessary, consult a doctor about the pros and cons if this diet is applied.

In addition, don't forget to routinely check your little one's nutritional status and he alth condition to the doctor, to ensure optimal growth and development.

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