When my 8 year old daughter announced this at the dinner table, I was a bit shocked.  We are so meat and potatoes here that I never really thought about becoming a vegetarian myself.  She is a smart girl and has noticed that she doesn’t feel great after eating meat, and sometimes it “scratches” her throat.  How can I agrue with that.  So now, as a parent, I need to make sure we all understand what we need to do to keep her healthy and get her the proper nutrients, without meat!

 

Below describes a bit about being a vegetarian and how to make sure our kids stay healthy.

 

What is a vegetarian?Vegetarians are people who choose not to eat meat. This includes all animal meat, poultry, and fish. Many vegetarians also avoid other animal products such as gelatin, rennet (used in making cheese), and animal fats (often used in cooking).Vegetarians that include eggs and dairy products in their diets are known as ovo-lactovegetarians. People who do not eat any animal product (including honey) are called vegans.Semi- or partial-vegetarians sometimes eat meat (usually poultry or fish).What are the advantages of a vegetarian diet?A well-planned vegetarian diet has health advantages. Vegetarians are less likely to have heart disease, gallstones, or be overweight. Being overweight is associated with other health problems like adult-onset diabetes, so a vegetarian diet may have additional benefits. Vegetarians are also less likely to have a stroke and certain types of cancer. Teenage vegetarians do not have growth problems and will reach a normal adult weight and height.

Planning a healthy vegetarian diet takes additional time, however, compared to the diet of a meat-eater.

Will your child get all the proper nutrients on a vegetarian diet?

If the diet is well-planned, a vegetarian diet is safe for children, teens, and adults. If a vegetarian diet is too restricted, it may be unhealthy for a child. Some nutrients may be missing from the diet. For example, if a child eats soda pop, potato chips and meatless pizza, nutrients such as iron and calcium are likely to be lacking in the diet.

Vegetarians may need to make a special effort to get enough calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12.

  • Calcium
    Calcium intake may be very low in vegan diets, when no animal products are eaten. Good sources of calcium include legumes (peas, beans, lentils), tofu, calcium-fortified orange juice, collard greens, and fortified soymilk. If your child or teen is a vegan, discuss with your health care provider how your child can get enough calcium.
  • Iron
    Typical vegetarian diets usually provide enough iron. The problem with iron is that it is difficult for the body to absorb. Iron in meat, poultry, and fish is absorbed much better than iron from plants. Eating foods containing Vitamin C along with foods that contain iron helps the body to absorb the iron better. Breast-fed babies who are not yet getting solid food should have supplements of iron after the age of 4 to 6 months.
  • Zinc
    Vegetarians sometimes don’t eat enough zinc because it is not present in many plant foods. Plant foods that do contain zinc include legumes (peas, beans, lentils), tofu, corn, and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B-6
    Also known as pyridoxine, Vitamin B-6 is found in legumes (peas, beans, lentils), sweet potatoes, corn, soybeans, and avocados.
  • Vitamin B-12
    Vegans need supplemental vitamin B-12 since it is available naturally only in animal products. Vitamin B-12 is added to some fortified cereals, fortified soymilk, and some meat substitutes. B-12 is found naturally in diary products and eggs.
  • Vitamin D
    Vegans often have diets that have low amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D is made in the skin when there is exposure to direct sunshine, so some vegetarians may need more outdoor activity or vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is added to some fortified cereals and fortified soymilk.

Find out more at: AboutKidsHealth

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Jennifer McCallum

Thank you so much for stopping by this page to get to know a bit more about me and why I started Parent Guide Inc.

My business story started a way back in 2001…

…after the birth of my first daughter, I realized that an "all-in-one" resource guide for parents was needed, and fast! I designed the New Parent Resource Guide to fill a gap in the community for busy parents like myself. The New Parent Resource Guide offers an A-Z of key contacts for parents, caregivers, service providers, and health care professionals.  Working with key businesses and organizations in the community, we have also compiled much-needed articles, tips, and charts to answer all your parenting questions.

The latest addition to our family is the School Age Resource Guide to serve parents of children, 3 to 18 years!  This guide answers questions about: nutrition, bullying, curriculum, building self-esteem, and much more, as well as offering a full directory of local and national resources.

The Parentguide.ca website offers an “all-in-one” spot for parents to connect, add their own blog, and find needed resources in their community.  It is a site that educates and entertains and if you can't find somthing just ASK me.

I am here to serve YOU!  My hope is that you connect with our members, find comfort in their words, and share your own story. My goal is to see what I can do to help make life a bit easier for you.   You are why I do what I do!

I can’t wait to get to know you!  Comment below to tell me about yourself – then start blogging so we can find out what makes you get up in the morning!  Check out my blog too and I am sure you will be surprised what gets me out of bed each day!!!

Jennifer –  Mom and Publisher

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