A vegetarian from birth: can children do without meat

Vegetarianism and the impact of this style of nutrition on children's health began to be studied 30 years ago. In 1988, British researchers

for several years observed

how children grow up and develop (from one to five years old), who adhered to vegan diet. Most vegan children grew up normally, but were generally shorter and weighed less than their peers. The intake of calcium and vitamin D in these children was below the recommended norm. Despite the fact that the diet of the study participants was generally adequate and well-planned, some of them still received few vitamins B2 and B12.

A later

study of 2017

of the year confirmed these findings.

The main source of protein and nutrients for children under six months of age is breast milk, and for vegan children, a soya mixture. According to the recommendations of American doctors , children who are exclusively breastfed and whose mothers (vegetarians) do not take nutritional supplements must additionally receive vitamin B12. And infants and babies receiving less than one liter of soya mixture should additionally receive vitamin D.

Recommendations for the introduction of solid foods in the diet for vegetarians and non-vegetarians do not differ.

Children over six months of age should receive iron from fortified foods.

As a source of protein, vegetarian children over six months old can use mashed tofu, cottage cheese, milk or soy yogurt, mashed beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils.

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