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What to Feed your Vegetarian Child

Updated on September 12, 2016
Nectarines | Source

Vegetarian diet and your child

A vegetarian diet can be perfectly healthy for babies and young children, as long as they get enough protein and iron.

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:

  1. Don't overcook vegetables.
  2. Steam vegetables where possible.
  3. Use the cooking liquid from boiled vegetables in baby purees.
  4. Serve raw tomatoes; or skin, deseed, puree and stir into mixed baby purees.
  5. Serve fresh fruit juice mixed at least half-and-half with cooled boiled water for babies over nine months.
  6. 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cook broccoli, bean and pea in a saucepan of boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and arrange on plate.
  4. Squirt a little tomato sauce onto the plate for chimney smoke.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: Serves 1 little person
5 stars from 1 rating of The House That Jack Built Recipe

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