General Article Is a vegetarian diet suitable for children and teenagers?

Topic Selected: Dietary Choices
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In childhood and adolescence, a time of rapid growth and development, it is especially important to ensure the consumption of foods that provide an adequate intake of nutrients.

For infants and young children, a good supply of energy and nutrients are important to meet the high requirements of the body. Yet vegetarian and particularly vegan diets tend to be high in fibre and therefore filling, so that young children can feel full before they have taken in enough calories. Diets low in energy and fat and high in bulk may therefore pose a nutritional risk for these young age groups, and they should include nutrient-rich foods: for example, milk and cheese (for lacto-ovo-vegetarians), smooth nut* and seed butters, vegetable oils, pulses, tofu and bananas.

As milk and dairy products are currently the largest contributors of vitamins B2 and B12, calcium, iodine and phosphorus in the UK diet, should these be eliminated it is important to ensure that adequate intake of these nutrients ar...

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