Vegetarian diets for babies

Vegetarian diet
A vegetarian diet is a combination of meals that excludes either part or all animal products. Animal products are a major source of proteins. Questions arise as to whether a vegetarian will be able to get an equivalent of proteins from other food apart from meat (or other animal products). 
When preparing a vegetarian diet for babies, care should be taken because the end result may be a deficiency in proteins and vitamins. Babies require proteins in large quantities to provide energy for their growth and development. We will look at how a vegetarian diet can be prepared and be helpful to babies.
When a baby is born, the first meal is always breast milk that takes the first 6 months. Babies require all nutrients that will enable their growth and development. Breast milk is believed to posses all the nutrients although it also depends on the diet that the mother feeds on. It is strongly advisable for the mother to feed on rich diet containing all food groups in order for the breast milk to acquire the required nutrients. In case the mother is a vegetarian, she needs to look for supplementary foods that will offer an equivalent portion of the nutrients. For a healthy diet, the mother should be able to eat plenty of the following :
-          Proteins that will include eggs, lentils, nuts and dried beans.
-          Cereals and grains.
-          Dairy products that will include cow milk, yoghurt, cheese and soy products
-          A wide variety of vegetables and fruits.
-          Unsaturated oil products.
At the age 6 months, babies will be slowly introduced to other meals in addition to breast milk. This is the time when they require a lot of energy and the diet that the baby is fed on should be well balanced. If a family is considering to introduce the baby to a vegetarian diet, then the following points should be taken into account :
-          You should be able to understand which foods that are to be substituted in the diet as energy.
-          The baby should be encouraged to feed on a wide variety of foods.
-          When feeding the baby on grains, alternate between whole grain and refined cereals and their products.
-          The baby should be given regular meals including snacks.
-          The amount of energy foods should be increased,e.g. avocado, dairy products with full fat and nut butters.
-          There is also a need to combine vegetarian foods lower in energy with foods that are higher in fats.
Be careful not to feed your baby on vegetarian foods that are high in fiber content and energy levels which are low. Foods that are high in fiber will cause the baby to stop absorbing some essential nutrients such as iron and calcium.

Iron is very essential for babies because it helps in forming of haemoglobin. This is the red pigment found in blood which carries oxygen from the lungs to other body organs and tissues. Small amounts or lack of iron will cause a condition called anaemia (iron deficiency). 
A good source of iron for vegetarian foods will include the following:
-          Whole or white bread.
-          Pulses (e.g. chick peas and lentils)
-          Dark green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, watercress etc)
-          Breakfast cereals which are fortified. Ensure iron is one of the contents.

Babies will be able to absorb more iron if they get food rich in vitamin C. Therefore ensure to provide the baby with fruit or fruit juices and some vegetables.

Vegetarians diets can prove to be a nutritious alternative to diets that include meat. However, proper care should be taken to avoid the baby being exposed to deficiencies in some nutrients. Always seek the help of a qualified nurse or doctor for advice on better alternatives for nutrients.
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Saba said...

Vegetarian diets have long history. It’s begun in 6th Century BCE in Greece and South Asian Continent. Its main view was to live a saint life and sympathy to the animals. But now in modern world most heath related organization are accepted this diet. It’s really healthful and energetic for human. Thanks the authors to vivid such diet in the article.