Getting the balance right
By the time your child is five years old, they should be eating a varied and balanced diet that is similar to yours. Be careful to limit the amount of salt and sugar they are eating. This table gives you an idea of how to balance the different food groups:
|Fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen, tinned or dried), including orange varieties and leafy greens||Five portions daily (one portion is roughly the amount that your child can fit in their hand)|
|Starchy foods, ideally higher fibre choices, such as oats, sweet potato, wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta and brown rice||Every meal|
|Protein-rich foods such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, soya milk and yoghurt alternatives and peanuts||Most meals|
|Nuts and seeds, especially those rich in omega-3 fat||Daily|
|Calcium-rich foods such as calcium-fortified foods and calcium-set tofu||Most meals|
Offer plenty of iron-rich foods daily, such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, cashew nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, kale, raisins, dried figs, dried apricots and fortified breakfast cereals. Improve iron absorption by adding good sources of vitamin C, such as pepper, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kiwi fruits, oranges, strawberries and pineapple.
Fortified foods and supplements
Here are some basic tips about the role of fortified foods and supplements in your child’s vegan diet:
- Make sure that they are getting vitamin B12 from fortified foods or a supplement
- Provide a daily vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter as a minimum (year-round supplementation is recommended for children who do not expose their skin to sunlight and those with darker skin). Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 from lichen are vegan-friendly.
- Provide a reliable source of iodine (a supplement is recommended)
- Consider providing a supplement containing long chain omega-3 fats from microalgae
Please speak to a health professional about supplements to ensure that they are suitable for your child.
If you have any concerns about your child’s diet, ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian.
Need more information? Read our detailed PDF.
Thanks to Children’s Dietitian Angharad Banner for her expertise and support.
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