No single food provides all the nutrients children need, so children must eat a combination of foods from five different food groups. Portion sizes for children will get larger as they grow but the combinations remain the same throughout childhood.
The five groups are:
Food Combining for Vegetarian diets
Making a vegetarian diet nutritious is simple if you use food combining. By eating pulses, lentils and nuts with starchy food the protein will be of good quality and provide your child with all the essential amino acids for growth. Include good sources of protein in main meals, snacks and puddings. These protein foods also provide some iron but need a good source of vitamin C to boost absorption. Choose breakfast cereals which are fortified with iron and also offer them as snacks. Dried fruit is also a good source of iron but shouldn’t be given as a snack as it is sweet and sticks to teeth.
Note – whole nuts should not be given to children under 5 years of age.
Vegan diets do not include any foods of animal origin with eggs, milk and milk products also excluded. Children on vegan diets may not get enough protein, iron, iodine, zinc, calcium and Vitamin B12. Ask a dietician to assess their diet and to recommend an appropriate supplement. More restricted diets will be deficient in many nutrients and are unsuitable for children.