What you need to know if you are raising a vegetarian child

 When speaking out against vegetarianism, few people in white coats refer to real research or take into account the experience of mothers who raised children in love with animals. And how to determine why the child develops more slowly – due to a lack of adult attention or due to a deficiency of certain substances?

 S. Breuer in one of his books describes how the Vegetarian Society and the City Council of London decided to study the influence of nutrition on the development of the child on the basis of orphanages. The experiment involved about 2000 children, who were divided into two groups. One group ate exclusively vegetarian food, the other – traditional, with the use of meat. After 6 months, it turned out that the children whose diet included vegetarian dishes were stronger and healthier than the children of the second group.

 The history of mankind is also rich in examples from the happy life of vegetarians. Indians who do not eat meat from birth for religious reasons are famous for their good health and endurance. It seems that the rejection of animal food does not negatively affect. On the contrary, from the first days of life, children are instilled with love for animals and a reverent attitude towards them. All that is needed is to make the menu balanced. This will be enough for proper intellectual and physical development.

 One more fact is noteworthy. Very often, on women’s forums, young mothers complain about the child’s categorical refusal of meat. Another attempt to feed the child fails: the baby turns away, is naughty and demonstrates a negative attitude towards animal food. Even “distracting maneuvers” – songs and dances of grandparents – do not help. The reason for this behavior is usually banal – the child simply does not like the meat taste and smell. Instead of accepting the baby’s desire, mothers are ready for a lot: mix meat with something sweet to “disguise” the taste, or promise to reward them with candy for the eaten cutlet. 

 If adults in the family have chosen vegetarianism as the basis of nutrition, then the child may well harmoniously join it without harm to health. Up to 6 months, the baby needs exclusively breast milk, which contains everything necessary for its growth and development. In the case when breastfeeding is not possible, a quality formula is offered to the child. Neither cow’s milk, nor porridge or juices – until the age of six months, any complementary foods are more likely to harm than to benefit.

 From the age of 6 months, the child’s diet can be gradually expanded by introducing unsweetened and hypoallergenic vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower), then pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, etc. If you cook them at home, pay attention to the quality of the products and how to cook them. processing, try to preserve their value as much as possible. Steaming, simmering is always preferable. 

Gradually introduce the baby to cereals, fruits and dairy products, adhering to the rules for the introduction of complementary foods. With such food, the growing body will receive useful substances and additional energy, as well as adapt to new products. No matter how the diet of the crumbs expands, breast milk remains an important component of a balanced diet. 

 At an older age, in order for the child to enjoy food and all the necessary nutrients, offer him a variety of dishes made from foods of four main groups:

  • dark bread, rice, potatoes, durum wheat pasta, and other carbohydrates.
  • fruits and vegetables;
  • milk and sour-milk products;
  • eggs and other non-dairy sources of protein, including soy, pulses, nuts and seeds.

 Such groups open up a large field for parental culinary creativity and leave no chance for vegetarianism to be boring.

 The rules of nutrition, laid down in early childhood, usually remain for life. Vegetarian children are ten times less likely to become obese as adults than those who eat meat in abundance. This is also due to the fact that meat dishes are very high in calories, harmful after frying and are taken as the basis of fast food.

 What should parents pay attention to?

Make sure your baby’s vegetarian diet contains enough protein, iron, vitamin B12 and selenium. In case of doubt or suspicion of their shortage, laboratory tests can be periodically performed. 

The child’s body will always report its needs: well-being, behavior, reduced activity. It is enough to listen to his quiet voice and watch the baby. In the event of a deficiency of certain substances, you can always correct the situation.

 Vegetarianism is not a hunger strike or a diet. This is the philosophy and way of thinking of the family. Thanks to this system of views, a child develops a caring attitude towards nature and animals from the first months of life. He learns to respect all living things, which awakens kindness, compassion and mercy. 

Remember that the most important secret of a child’s health is parental attention, care and love. This is something that can work wonders. The kid expects exactly this from you, and not gourmet dishes and exotic products.





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