well-planned vegetarian diet can be healthy for children. Young vegan children tend to be slightly smaller but still
within normal growth ranges. And they tend to catch up to other children in
size as they get older.
If you are raising a child on a
vegetarian diet, consider the following:
Babies who get only breast milk should have supplements of iron
after the age of 4 to 6 months. (This is not necessary if you add
iron-fortified infant cereal to the child's diet at this age.)
A vitamin D supplement may be appropriate for children under 1 year of age. Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of
vitamin D are right for your child.
babies of vegan mothers need vitamin B12 supplements if the mother's diet is
Children younger than 2 years need the extra fat in
whole milk for brain and nerve development. Don't give them low-fat or fat-free
milk. If you are using soy milk instead of cow's milk, make sure that it's
full-fat soy milk, and talk to your doctor or a
registered dietitian to make sure your child is
getting enough fat.
Vegan diets can contain a lot of fiber. Fiber is great because
it fills you up without adding a lot of calories. But children have small
stomachs, and the fiber they eat can fill them up before they get enough
calories. Frequent meals and snacks—with plenty of cereals, legumes, and
nuts—will help children get the energy and nutrients they need for healthy
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
January 25, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this