Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Concern for toddler on vegetarian diet

Ask Dr. H

By Mitchell Hecht

Question: I am concerned about my 21/2-year-old grandson, who is being raised as a vegetarian. Should he be taking iron drops? He also drinks very little milk (although he does eat cheese), but I know how important calcium is to him. Any suggestions?

A: A toddler vegetarian diet isn't necessarily deficient in iron or calcium. Eggs, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits like raisins, and iron-fortified cereals and bread are sufficient sources of iron. Dairy products like cheese, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, soy and rice drinks, and fortified cereals are all good sources of calcium.

Protein doesn't have to come from meat. Dairy products, tofu, egg whites, and dried beans are all good sources of protein. Peanut butter is also a great source of protein, but due to its allergy potential, some pediatricians advise withholding it until a child is 3 years of age.

The real issue is not whether there are adequate vegetarian substitutions, but whether a picky toddler will consume enough vitamins, minerals, protein, fats and carbohydrates for healthy growth and development. It's also important for parents to make sure a vegetarian diet is providing enough calories. A multivitamin like PolyViSol or a children's chewable may be useful to fill in certain vitamin/mineral gaps.

source: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/living/health/16314183.htm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is amazing and sad to see how so many "educated" meat eaters think that one needs special vitamin supplements as a meat replaced for vegetarians. They chose to ignore that better quality of all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats are indeed found in the plant kingdom. Other than a concentration of protein, meat has very little nutritional value. And that concentration in itself is not necessarily healthy. The plant kingdom provides a more balanced and therefore healthier source of protein for humans.

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