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Less meat, more plants: Raising vegetarian children, tips and information.

As the awareness of health and environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption grows, many parents wonder if they can raise their children vegetarian. The answer is yes! In this article, we provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions.


Reducing the intake of animal products offers numerous benefits, including positive environmental impact and improved health. At Chipea, we believe in the importance of reducing meat consumption for both ourselves and our children. With delicious alternatives and nutritional knowledge, it's easier than you might think. While our recipes include options with animal products, we also provide freedom of choice..It's important to note that consulting a nutritionist is highly recommended when raising a vegetarian or vegan child. Raising a vegan child requires close monitoring to ensure proper nutrition. We strongly advise consulting a nutritionist specialising in vegetarianism and veganism for children. Here are some key things to know if you're considering raising your child vegetarian or flexitarian.

By understanding these key factors and providing a well-rounded diet, you can ensure that your vegetarian children receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development.

1. Iron

Starting from 6 months of age, replenishing iron reserves becomes crucial. Introduce iron-rich foods and familiarize your baby with their taste. Beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, green vegetables, seeds, and nuts are excellent plant-based sources. Combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods, like tomatoes or citrus fruits, enhances iron absorption. Vitamin C plays a vital role for vegetarians.

2. Energy and fats

During the first year, ensure your child receives sufficient energy from their diet. A plant-based diet is naturally high in fiber, which fills up the stomach and reduces energy intake. Limit highly fibrous foods like whole wheat bread, pasta, or rice until your baby is more accustomed to processing fiber. Focus on healthy fats, particularly omega-3s, found in nuts, whole milk, seeds, legumes, and avocados. Unsaturated fats are preferred over saturated fats. Incorporating oils like olive oil or sesame oil for cooking and canola or walnut oil for cold preparations is beneficial. Full-fat yogurt or milk is another excellent source of fat. If your baby has a varied vegetarian diet including dairy and eggs, there is no need to supplement with algae oil for omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products. In vegetarian diets excluding meat and fish, ensure sufficient intake of dairy and eggs for vitamin B12. B12-enriched baby cereals are also available.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is primarily obtained from sunlight exposure. Vegetarians or vegans may have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency due to limited food sources. In most countries, babies receive vitamin D supplements during their early years. Some formulas are also enriched with vitamin D.

5. Protein

Formula or breastmilk already provides ample protein for your baby. As they consume less milk, incorporate full-fat yogurt into their diet. Soy-based products like tofu and tempeh, as well as beans, peas, lentils, and quinoa, are excellent plant-based protein sources. Nut butter also contributes to protein intake. Protein deficiency is rare when following a balanced diet, so meeting protein requirements shouldn't be an issue.

6. Minerals: calcium, selenium, iodine and zinc

Calcium is essential for growing bones, while selenium, iodine, and zinc support metabolism, thyroid function, and immune system health. With a varied diet, you can easily obtain these minerals. Milk, seeds, and nuts are good sources of calcium. Soy-based products, kale, and cabbage also provide calcium. Beans, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables are rich in zinc and selenium.

By understanding these key factors and providing a well-rounded diet, you can ensure that your vegetarian children receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development. Embracing a vegetarian lifestyle can be a positive choice for your family's health and the environment.