How do you make sure your vegetarian child gets enough protein?

It can be hard to make sure any child eats a balanced diet, especially one who has decided not to eat meat. What are good sources of protein and nutrients for kids who are vegetarians?

12  Answers

3 20

My now 9 yr old son has been a vegetarian voluntarily for the last 2 years. He eats Morning Star vegetarian "meat". They have extensive variety such as veggie patties, veggie "sausage", veggie chik n nuggets, veggie corn dogs, etc. Also, they are very delicious and tastes so close to real meat and high in protein. Try them!

5
5 6

No one needs to eat animals to be healthy. Protein, calcium and all the other nutrients our bodies need come from plant sources. Why would anyone want to consume the by product of another species period (eggs) or another species body fluid (milk) neither is needed and both do more harm then good. not only to the human race but also the animals that are being slaughtered and mistreated.

Feed your kids Avocados, spinach, quinoa, nuts, fruits, veggies and assorted grains, anything that is not a living breathing creature, I promise your children will thank you when they grow up healthy.

think about this, how would you feel if someone took your child to feed to a hungry Tiger? Ripped them from your arms as a baby and fattened them up, ya know Tigers HAVE to eat......and they ARE true carnivores

5
3 18

My 14 year old daughter has recently become vegetarian. Thank goodness she's still eating eggs and dairy though!

She gets plenty of protein from nuts and peanut butter, and she will happily eat tofu and quinoa, which are both good sources of protein as well.

I'm more concerned about her iron intake than protein. I try to get her to have a handful of almonds with a few cherry tomatoes every day just so I know she's combining iron and vitamin c at least once per day (vitamin C aids iron absorption).

5
5 6

Why thank goodness she is eating eggs and Milk? That crap will kill her.

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8 74

There are a number of plant based sources of protein that your family can enjoy. Incorporate lentils and quinoa into the diet, as well as canned beans (like black, pinto, cannellini, NOT green!). Make homemade hummus ~ chickpeas are a great source of protein... let your child snack on that sort of stuff. I would caution against adding too many processed soy "meat-like" substitutes as they are very high in sodium and so much soy is GMO. Also look into some of the nut butters besides peanut butter, like almond and cashew. Pumpkin seeds are another good source of protein.

3
5 6

My daughter loves hummus, and I have found many great recipes for kid friendly hummus....my daughter gave me one that has nut butter and chocolate in it...loaded with protein and yummy. We also eat a lot of quinoa and beans of all sorts

10 5

There is no need to go out of your way to make sure your child is getting enough protein. As long as they are eating a variety of foods, there will be enough protein. Everyone should, however be worried about getting enough produce! People are produce deficient in this country, for sure, not getting enough antioxidants and all the special nutrition veggies and fruits give us! :)

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4 20

@ tess, chocolate is made from milk....cow milk.....oops u slipped up there lady!

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13 59

My son doesn't eat meat, but I wouldn't call him a vegetarian. He refuses veges too. He basically thrives on PB&J. Plenty of protein in peanut butter, with whole grain bread, jelly and a glass of milk he is a very thin but fit 9 year old.

2
3 18

When I was a kid I would have happily existed on peanut butter sandwiches and milk. I just wasn't that interested in food. These days I eat almost anything, and way too much of it!

14 17

Don't worry. Protein is one of the simplest nutrients to get enough of. So long as your child is eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of whole grains, veggies and fruit, some nuts and legumes (soy, tofu, beans, peas), he or she will be fine. People don't get protein deficiency diseases here in North America. We get diseases of excess. A vegetarian or even vegan diet is one of the most healthful things you can do for your child. Just give a multi-vitamin for good measure and add a chewable Vita B-12 if he/she is vegan. Contrary to popular information, ALL foods contain protein, and so long as you are getting enough good quality whole foods, you do NOT need to worry about protein. My kids are all vegetarians, and once a blue moon they eat fish or meat and they seldom even have dairy or eggs. No deficiencies here. No lack of energy either!! :D Good luck :D

Julie

1
8 0

Your vegetarian child can get plenty of protein by eating dairy foods like eggs. Whole grains is also a good source of protein. You may also use other meat replacements like nut or seed butters, beans, soy nuggets, veggie burgers, and soy hot dogs. You may also read other vegan tips for kids here http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler-nutrition/vegetarian-kids.aspx#

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3 9

It's true, protein is in just about everything! Quinoa, amaranth, beans, lentils, dark green vegetables, Morningstar products, soy milk, yogurt, cheese, etc are all good sources of protein. Nuts like almonds also have a lot of protein too. A good old fashioned peanut butter sandwich with milk is also a great source of protein too. We choose nongmo, organic products but even the basics will help your little one eat better than junk food.

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1

Nuts,lettuce,zucinni

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89 0

its pretty easy. just research plant-based protein. theres lots of things, to name a few quinoa is amazing protein, hemp powder/hemp seeds, nuts, avocado, the list goes on. beans and rice is a really typical source of plant protein. blue green algae is a REALLY healthy source of protein. when people think protein they think meat, well thats not a hundred percent true, theres lots of things just do some exploring.

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1 0

If your child eats a variety of foods you shouldn't be worried. Plant foods that are high in protein or have particularly high quality protein include: nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, peanuts), whole grains (rice, wheat, quinoa), kale, collard greens, potatoes. My 6 year old son is vegan (like me) and has been since he was born (yes, I breastfed him as a baby, human milk is for human babies). He's a very healthy kid, both trim and strong, with tons of energy and no health issues. He eats lots of veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts, and grains. One of his favorite foods is a peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

If you would like to be sure about protein intake, find out from your pediatrician how many grams of protein per day your child needs based on age, height, and weight, and then keep track of the nutritional values of each food your child eats for at least several days to see how much protein he/she eats in a typical day.

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