Crazyhippiemom’s Weblog

Just an urban hippie with a kid in tow, sharing a little eco-friendly, holistic info with the world.

Herbivore Nation – Toddlers (1-3 years) April 1, 2008

 Toddlers are a picky breed! They are especially discriminating about the foods they eat (look, texture, taste).  They require familiarity with any specific food and such food needs to conform to their immediate developmental phase, otherwise, you may end up scraping your well-planned & cooked meal off the dining room floor.

Vegetarian/Vegan (V/V) parents should give their children a variety of foods that provide enough calories and nutrients to enable them to grow normally.  Offering toddlers a diet filled with a variety of fruits, veggies, and whole grains helps them to learn healthy eating habits.  This type of diet (fruit, veggies & grain), will be high in fiber and low in fat… the sort of eats that protect against bad cholesterol, cardiovascular issues and unhealthy weight gain.

Toddlers’ eating preferences are not to be taken lightly and can become somewhat of a challenge for parents trying to maintain a V/V lifestyle.  Because of their developmental stages and subsequent picky eating preferences, it may be difficult for toddlers to obtain enough calories, vitamins & nutrients.

When preparing meals for V/V children, parents need to ensure that their children get adequate amounts of particular vitamins and minerals.  Below is a list of common deficiencies V/V children & adults have:

  • Vitamin D: dairy products, calcium-fortified orange juice, adequate amounts of sunlight
  • Vitamin B12: dairy products, eggs, and vitamin-fortified products – cereals, breads, & soy/rice drinks
  • Calcium: dairy products, dark green leafy veggies, broccoli, chickpeas, & calcium-fortified products – orange juice, soy/rice drinks & cereals
  • Protein: dairy products, eggs, tofu, dried beans, & nuts
  • Iron: eggs, dried beans, dried fruits, whole grains, leafy green veggies, and iron-fortified cereals and bread
  • Zinc: wheat germ, nuts, fortified cereal, & legumes

The major principle of planning a V/V diet for children, especially toddlers, is creativity.  Parents must think outside the box if they plan to successfully implement the V/V diet for their toddler.  It’s easy to get into a rut, but a balanced combination of nutrient-rich foods, will not only ensure all your child’s nutritional needs are met, it’ll keep them guessing which delicious meal you’ll be coming up with next.

Suggested Diet Plans for Toddlers

Breakfast

  •  Scrambled Tofu
  • Whole Wheat Bread w/ any organic nut butters
  • Cantaloupe (raw)
  • Blueberries (raw)
  • Walnut (raw)
  • Soy milk (enriched)
  • Banana (raw)
  • Raisin Bran

Lunch

  • Orange (raw)
  • Lettuce 
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Vegan Chili
  • Black Bean & Sweet Potato Salad
  • Grapefruit

Dinner

  •  Quinoa (cooked)
  • Spaghetti (whole wheat) w/ Marinara Sauce & Vegetarian Meatballs
  • Broccoli (lightly steamed)
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Brown Rice & Lentils

Check out more recipes at http://www.vegkitchen.com.Raising a V/V child can be an exciting, rewarding, and challenging experience.  Although there are many things to consider, it can be a perfectly healthy lifestyle, especially for your toddler.  He’ll need his parents as his healthy eating allies while you all strive to maintain that V/V diet.  No one needs to tell you that the nay sayers are out there.  There will always be those who believe you are doing your child a disservice by removing “fun, kid foods” (i.e. junk food, sodas, fast food) from his diet.  There will always be those who think that you’re a kill-joy when it comes to parties and social events.  Remember this though, starting your child on a healthy eating regimen in the early stages will ensure a long and healthy life.

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2 Responses to “Herbivore Nation – Toddlers (1-3 years)”

  1. joy peace Says:

    margarine is one step away from plastic.

  2. I would like to thank one of my readers from bringing something to my attention… in my post above, I mention margarine spread as a possible condiment for a meal. It has been proven that margarine increases risks of heart attacks, an heart disease in women. It has also been implicated in certain other diseases. While contracting the ailments would be almost impossible for a vegan/vegetarian who eats margarine, I will edit the post to offer nut butters, the healthier alternatives, as a possible substitute. Thanks again to diligent readers who truly care about their health and that of their children.
    Crazyhippiemom


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