What to Feed your Vegetarian Child
Vegetarian diet and your child
Milk, eggs and other dairy products are a good source of protein, as are grains, pulses and nut pastes.
Getting the right level of iron can be more problematic with children, not just because their iron sources - such as green leafy vegetables, pulses and seeds - are less easily absorbed, but also because many children, vegetarian or not, go through food fads.
If a vegetarian child doesn't eat sufficient fruit, then vitamin C won't be available to aid iron absorption. To try to conserve as much Vitamin C as you can when preparing food for your baby or toddler, follow these mealtime tips:
- Don't overcook vegetables.
- Steam vegetables where possible.
- Use the cooking liquid from boiled vegetables in baby purees.
- Serve raw tomatoes; or skin, deseed, puree and stir into mixed baby purees.
- Serve fresh fruit juice mixed at least half-and-half with cooled boiled water for babies over nine months.
- Offer fruit for dessert or a snack.
How to get your kids to like vegetables
- For more adventurous eaters, flavour saucy pasta with a clove of garlic and a little pesto.
- Encourage children to cook with you and to get to know the names of the ingredients.
- Helping to dish up a mini portion for their teddy or brother or sister can lure a fussy eater to the table.
- Most children will go through a faddy stage - some may go off green vegetables and many will refuse all vegetables! Don't despair, it won't last forever.
- Encourage your child to try new foods, but never insist they eat it all or you'll put them off for life.
- Offer some vegetables you know your child will try with a spoonful of an unfamiliar vegetable.
- Make eating vegetables fun, by pretending broccoli spears are trees, or that runner beans will make your child run fast!
- If your child doesn't like the texture of soft cooked vegetables, offer her vegetables which stay crunchy when cooked, like corn on the cob, or raw vegetables.
- Many children don't like vegetables but will eat fruit. Encourage them to try a wider variety of fruit and then build on that.
- Add vegetables to slow-cooked chicken or lamb casseroles then lift out the meat and puree the sauce to disguise the vegetables.
The House That Jack Built
- 1 large slice cheddar cheese
- 1 small carrot
- 1 strip of red capsicum
- 1/2 stick celery
- a small amount of mustard and cress
- 1 slice of mushroom
- few broccoli florets
- 1 green bean, halved
- 1 frozen pea
- a small amount of tomato sauce
- Cut cheese slice into a house shape and place on a small plate. Peel and thinly slice the carrot and arrange slices, overlapping one another, to create a roof.
- Cut 2 red capsicum windows and a door. cut tiny strips of celery to make frames for windowpanes and a piece for the chimney. Add to plate, with cress for grass and mushroom for path.
- Cook broccoli, bean and pea in a saucepan of boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and arrange on plate.
- Squirt a little tomato sauce onto the plate for chimney smoke.