Updated: Jul 19
I have been a vegetarian for 7 years. But long before that, but all my life I have been a picky meat eater.
So when we had our daughter, my husband and I had a talk about this and we decided that she will not get meat until she can decide otherwise.
Since I eat without dairy products and my husband lactose free, Sienna gets most foods cooked with either vegan products or lactose free. What foods are just for her are with normal dairy products.
I never paid that much attention to eating, and just listened to my body, but with weaning Sienna I couldn’t listen to her body. So I had to do a lot of research- where to get protein, how to add it, iron, vitamin C, calcium, zinc and omega 3.
I found these infographics that for me were very helpful to make sure every meal has what it is necessary.
Protein I find it quite easy to incorporate into meals. Are you making pasta? Add some hemp seeds, tempeh (good for gut health due to being fermented), or ground some pumpkin seeds (or whole for toddlers). Sienna loves peas as a snack.
You offer porridge in the morning? Either with milk or with greek yoghurt (another source of protein).
South American foods are a love in our home so beans are used in fajitas, chilli, rice etc.
What you have to be careful, too much protein in a toddlers diet can lead to weigh problems later in life, Sienna is 12kg now so she only needs 12g a protein a day.
When I started weaning I was scared that I will not be able to offer enough iron, especially as anemia runs in my family. But take a look at the protein and iron infographic- a lot are the same. So a lot of times, without any extra work you can add both with one product. That means you offer tofu? You got protein and iron for that meal. I strive to offer at 2/3 meals protein and iron.
Apart from adding apple to salad I am not so adventurous in adding fruits to savory dishes. But you can offer a smoothie, give the fruits as a snack, or incorporate them into breakfast and lunch- pancakes, waffles.
I follow these accounts for those “fruity” meals:
For better iron absorbtion you need to combine iron rich foods with vitamin c foods.
If vegetarian, another source of calcium is greek yoghurt. I make sure the milk she gets in food is fortified but since she doesn’t eat that many milk products she gets a calcium vitamin.
Zinc, it is not something that I paid a lot of attention. Produce with zinc are similar with iron and protein, so if Sienna got those two then she got zinc as well.
“It is a major player in the creation of DNA, growth of cells, building proteins, healing damaged tissue, and supporting a healthy immune system.“ (Harvard, The Nutrition Source)
Omega 3 can be found in algae as well. Nori, spirulina, chlorella and kelp are great for that boost of Omega 3. Powder versions do not have any omega 3, so Sienna gets Omega as a supplement.
We used to take B12 from nutritional yeast/ and milks but as that does not give her the amount she needs- she gets a supplement together with the D vitamin.
At the moment Sienna gets a supplement for calcium, vitamin D, iodine, selenium, omega 3 and B12. These are separeted into 3 capsules or syrup. In order to give the right amount and not too little or too much we had a talk with a nutritionist specialised on vegan babies/ toddlers.
I am not a nutritionist nor a specialist, this is what I did for weaning my daughter and what worked for us might not work for each parent and kid for more information or doubts I recommend to follow up with a specialist.