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Vegetarian Diets For Children
Having vegetarian diets can have lasting health benefits for children. For those pre-teens and teens who have decided to follow vegetarian diets must be sure they are getting the needed nutrients or their health will suffer.
4 Types Of Vegetarian Diets
The first type of vegetarian diet is called Vegan. Vegan diets are very restrictive in what they can consume. They are only allowed to eat plant-based foods and avoid all foods that are processed using animal and animal by-products. A vegan diet consists of grains, seeds, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Vegans also refrain from using any milk and dairy products such as eggs and cheese.
The second type of vegetarians are called lacto-vegetarians. They include milk and milk-based products as well as plant based foods but don’t include other dairy products in their diet.
The third type of vegetarians are called ovo-vegetarians. They do include egg products in their vegetarian diets but exclude milk and milk-based products.
4- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians
This is a combination of both the lacto and ovo forms of vegetarian diets. They are allowed to eat both milk and dairy products which include egs and cheeses.
In order for children to eat healthy they must adhere to the USDA recommendations that meet the nutritional requirements that help them to function in a healthy manor.
Children on vegetarian diets must get the adequate intake of carbohydrates as well as omega-3 and 6’s fatty acids plus a full days supply of folate (for DNA cell building) and fiber (for good bowel movement and good bacteria) plus the right amount of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, D, and E as well as magnesium.
Problems With Vegetarian Diets
One of the main problems with children who are on vegetarian diets deals with getting enough protein. They may be getting all the other vitamins and minerals from their diet but parents and children alike must pay greater attention to making sure each meal contains enough protein. Plant-based protein cannot be absorbed into the body as readily as animal protein so children must up their protein intake to make up for this deficiency.
Vegetarian diets are also low in vitamin D as only lacto-vegetarins get a good portion of their vitamin D from milk and milk-based products. For other vegetarians, supplements must be added to avoid rickets (softening of bones). This means vegetarians must make meal planning an important part of their daily lives to help them get enough of the proper nutrients.
As children grow, their needs change, especially when they become adolescents. pPoper daily intake of calcium must be instituted so that they maintain good bone health and proper sexual development. Mental health is also a problem with many vegetarian children as they have low body self-esteem and are prone to eating disorders.
Vegetarian diets are very healthy for children as long as they are aware of what they are eating. Parents and children need to be sure the children are getting enough of the right nutrients and encourage them to take an interest in their vegetarian diets.
Vegans and vegetarians will find exciting new ways to prepare their meals
While meat eaters will discover tons of new and delectable salads, shakes, side dishes, soups, stews and decadent desserts.