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More and more children are growing up vegetarian or vegan. Some are raised vegetarian from birth by vegetarian parents. Other children choose vegetarianism on their own. Some parents and children transition at the same time.
Vegetarian children in non-vegetarian families
Non-vegetarians may find raising vegetarian children challenging.
Non-vegetarian children in vegetarian families
Some children raised vegetarian choose to start consuming meat.
Vegan children may need age-appropriate supplements.
Vegan parents sometimes receive legal scrutiny for (alleged) malnutrition. One extreme case of neglect ("a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice") in providing a proper diet resulted in the death of a 6-week-old baby. This led to claims in some quarters that veganism is unsuitable for children - however no conclusions about the suitability of a carefully planned diet can be drawn from such a case. It should also be noted that breastfeedingW is strongly advisedplease expand for such a young child and in the absence of human milk, a special formula is needed. Cow's milk is not ideal, but soy milk and apple juice are clearly unsuitable. (See Response to NY Times Story: Death by Veganism for one rebuttal.)
|The following is not health advice. Consult with a medical professional before making any change to your health care or nutrition regimen. |
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Infants and toddlers
As in non-vegetarian families, infants from birth to 6 months old drink breast milk and formula. At 6 months infants can begin to eat solid foods. Tofu, cottage cheese, yogurt, soy yogurt, and pureed legumes are appropriate protein sources. Toddlers can be fussy eaters. Parents need to be versatile to provide balanced meals with enough caloric intake.
3 to 9
Some children express a desire to stop eating meat as early as when they learn to speak. As children learn about the wider world, they may develop an aversion to eating animals.
Pre-teens and teens
As children reach puberty they develop a greater desire for individual expression. They may question the diet they were raised on.