There are various ways to raise a happy, healthy baby, without feeding them meat. Some parents might prefer to eliminate all animal products completely, while others might choose to offer their children dairy products and eggs, and sometimes even fish. Whatever your preference, MyVeggieBaby.com includes all the information you need to ensure that your veggie baby is meeting all the nutrients requirements needed to thrive.
Visit our Nutrition section to learn more about what vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your veggie baby needs to thrive.
So, which veggie diet is best for your baby — and your family?
A whole foods, plant-based diet includes whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.
This way of eating excludes all meat (including fish and chicken!) and minimizes the consumption of eggs and dairy, such as cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt. It discourages eating any refined sugars, oils and flours.
While at first glance it might seem as though this would be a diet of leafy greens and carrots, a whole foods, plant-based diet centres around root vegetables like sweet potatoes, whole grains and legumes, like black beans and chick peas — plenty to keep a growing baby full!
Delicious, healthy foods, such as chili, hummous, black bean burgers and sweet potato fries are just some of the dishes you can make for your growing tot. They’re also jam-packed with essential nutrients — including protein, iron, and calcium — that will help your child thrive.
A vegan diet is also a plant-based diet, but doesn’t necessary exclude processed foods. While veggies, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are the main components of a vegan diet, it can also include soy-based cheese, packaged veggie burgers, vegan cookies (like Oreos!), and other manufactured vegan products.
Being a vegan has deep ethical roots, too. Those who identify with veganism are usually more about just the foods they eat — it’s a lifestyle choice. While vegans don’t eat meat or dairy, they also tend not to use any products — such as shampoos or cleaning products — that have been tested on animals, or that contain animal byproducts. Vegans avoid wearing any clothing made from wool or leather, and don’t consume honey. Vegans might also consider the environmental impact of their choices and strive to minimize their ecological footprint.
Vegetarians also consume a mostly plant-based diet, but like vegans, they might include processed foods, such as veggie dogs and soy-based ground “meat” in their diets. Vegetarians also might eat eggs and dairy products, such as cow’s milk and goat cheese.
A vegetarian diet is generally easier to ease into if you do eat meat from time to time (and want to stop), and it can also be easier to find foods for picky toddlers to eat, such as banana pancakes (made with eggs), and mac and cheese (made with cheddar or swiss cheese). And, for parents and caregivers who are worried their children aren’t getting enough iron, protein or calcium, offering eggs and dairy to their children can help ease concerns.
Mostly eating plant-based foods, a pesco vegetarian includes fish and seafood in their diets. As such, peso vegetarians aren’t true vegetarians. Many people do not consider fish to be “meat”, but fish are living, breathing, sentient beings, and so they most certainly fit into the “meat” category. If you choose to eat fish, read here to learn more about farmed fish versus wild caught fish. Fish and seafood are rich in omega-3 fats, vitamin D and B2, and can be a good source of various minerals.
A flexitarian mostly eats plant-based foods, but they might occasionally eat meat as well, including chicken or beef. Flexitarians don’t fit into the vegetarian or vegan categories, but are more likely to be open to participating in vegetarian efforts, such as Meatless Mondays.
At MyVeggieBaby.com, we believe that any diet that reduces the consumption of meat (such as flexitarianism) will contribute greatly to improved health benefits and will reduce the impact humans have on the environment.
Finding meat-free foods to feed your veggie baby is easy. Click here for feeding guides.