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Vegetarian Diets for You, and your Kids! Tracy Boykin, RD

Posted: Jun 06 in Weight Management Strategies by

Are you thinking about going vegetarian? Are you concerned that a child of your is considering vegetarianism? Relax, Mom and Dad. A vegetarian diet is great for you, AND Vegetarian kids do just fine.

As the mom of a 25 year old who announced at 12 that she wouldn’t “eat anything that had a face,” I understand your worries: “Will she get enough Iron, Calcium, Protein?” The answer is a resounding “YES!” Vegetarians do great with all things nutritional. According to Reed Mangels, a member of the Vegetarian Resource Group,“vegetarian teens eating varied diets rarely have any difficulty getting enough protein as long as their diet contains enough energy (calories) to support growth. Cow’s milk and lowfat cheese are protein sources (for lacto-ovo diets); however, beans, breads, cereals, nuts, peanut butter, tofu, and soy milk are also some foods that are especially good sources of protein. Only fruits, fats, and alcohol do not provide much protein, and so a diet based only on these foods would have a good chance of being too low in protein. It is not necessary to plan combinations of foods to obtain enough protein or amino acids (components of protein). A mixture of plant proteins eaten throughout the day will provide enough essential amino acids.”

I did make sure that my daughter took a vegetarian multivitamin daily. She also needed an iron supplement at one point during her teen years. Now she cooks wonderful Indian meals for us when she visits Denver. She and her husband are successful plant-based diet eaters.

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