Vegetarian Food Recipe

All about healthy food - vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Notes for Vegetarians - Needed Things

Some areas that you should pay special attention to if your child is on a vegetarian diet include:

* Energy/Calories. Vegetarian diets may have less calories than diets that include meat and dairy products. Although it isn't necessary to count calories each day, you should ensure that your child is receiving enough calories for their optimal growth. In general, if your child is eating a well balanced and varied vegetarian diet, is gaining weight and developing normally and is active, with a lot of energy, then he is probably getting enough calories.

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* Vitamin B12. This vitamin is only absorbed from animal products, so your child will need to take supplements or eat foods that are fortified with Vitamin B12 (check nutrition labels), including fortified soy milk and some meat substitutes. Also, nutritional yeast as a great way to get B-12.

* Protein. You can make sure that your child gets enough protein and amino acids by eating a good balance of grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruits.

* Iron. In general, the absorption of iron from meat, chicken and fish is much higher, around 15-30%, than other sources, which have absorption rates of only about 5%. This means that even though some vegetables and fruits contain iron, it is usually not absorbed as readily as the iron from meats. Check the nutrition label to choose foods high in iron, choose foods that are fortified with iron (cereals, bread, rice, and pasta) and consider a vitamin suppletment that contains iron.

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* Calcium. Calcium is a mineral that is mostly present in your child's bones. Having a diet with foods that are high in calcium to meet daily requirements is necessary for the development of strong bones. It is also an important way to prevent the development of osteoporosis in adults. Many vegetables contain calcium, especially broccoli, sweet potatoes, great northern and navy beans, and leafy greens. You can also give your child soy milk or orange juice that is fortified with extra calcium.

* Vitamin D. This vitamin is present in fortified milk, egg yolks, and fish. Your body also makes Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, so most children do not have problems with Vitamin D deficiency. If your child is not exposed to the sun very often, then you should consider Vitamin supplements or a soy milk that is fortified with Vitamin D.

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