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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.
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Vegan children may need age-appropriate supplements. Vegan parents sometimes receive legal scrutiny for alleged malnutrition.
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.
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.