A well-planned vegetarian diet can provide children with the proper nutrients to grow, develop and be healthy. Since vegetarian diets tend to be low in cholesterol and saturated fats, and high in fiber, a vegetarian diet may even be healthier for children then a typical American diet, according to KeepKidsHealthy, a pediatrician’s guide to children’s health and safety. Since vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to serious health problems, consulting with a nutritionist can help ensure that a child’s vegetarian diet meets his nutritional needs.
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Foods
A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for children consists of foods from the dairy, grain, fruit and vegetable food groups. Lacto-vegetarians also eat eggs. When children are on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, they do not eat seafood, poultry or meat. Breakfast foods for children on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet may include egg and cheese omelets and pancakes topped with fresh fruit. Lunch and dinner choices may include a salad topped with hard-boiled eggs or steamed rice and vegetables. Snack foods for children on a lacto-vegetarian diet may include dried fruits and nuts. Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets are least likely to result in nutritional problems, according to Riley Children’s Hospital.
Children who are on a lacto-vegetarian diet eat grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. They do not eat eggs, seafood, poultry or meat. For breakfast, children on a lacto-vegetarian diet may eat cottage cheese mixed with fresh fruit and whole grain toast. For lunch, split-pea soup served with a side salad and a glass of milk may be served. Dinner choices may include baked macaroni and cheese served with steamed vegetables. Pudding, fresh fruit and nuts are appropriate snack foods for children on a lacto-vegetarian diet.
Ovo-vegetarian children avoid meat, seafood, poultry and milk products. Their diets are composed of grains, fruits, vegetables and eggs. For breakfast, French toast topped with berries or oatmeal is an option for children on ovo-vegetarian diets. For lunch or dinner, black bean veggie burgers and pasta with tomato sauce are appropriate choices. Peanut butter and fruit and veggies and hummus are snack options for children on an ovo-vegetarian diet.