If you're a vegetarian, you may want your child to follow the same diet. This is absolutely fine, but often requires a bit of planning to make sure that your child gets all the important nutrients they need.
Vegan diets are not recommended for young children.
Vegetarian food often includes more vegetables, fibre and a better balance of fats than other food. But if you your child doesn't like vegetables or pulses, a vegetarian diet is not recommended.
Minerals such as iron and zinc are crucial for growing babies, and it can be difficult to get enough of them in a vegetarian diet. Iron is found in beans, lentils and whole grain products, and is absorbed better by the body if eaten with fruit or vegetables that are rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin D is another nutrient that vegetarians should keep an eye on. Among other things, vitamin D is essential to the development of strong bones. Vitamin-enriched dairy products generally meet this need, but strict vegetarians can also buy vitamin D-enriched margarine or liquid margarine.
Read our article on nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your baby needs to get.
Nuts and seeds are nutrient-rich treats – as long as your baby tolerates them.
Read about food allergies and food intolerances.
A lacto-vegetarian diet excludes meat, eggs and fish, but includes milk and dairy products. A good, balanced lacto-vegetarian diet can definitely meet your child's nutritional needs. But you still need to be well-informed to guarantee that your child gets all the important nutrients.
A vegan diet excludes meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Even if you yourself are vegan, this type of diet is not recommended for pre-school age children. It requires great expertise in terms of nutrition, and the child also needs certain nutritional supplements.
Contact your paediatric nurse before starting your baby on solid food if you feel you need more information.
Some foods are not suitable for young babies.
Read our article containing 20 important dietary tips regarding food for children.