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How do I plan a vegetarian menu for my child?

A vegetarian diet can be equally nutritious to a diet that includes meat/chicken/fish or eggs. To make sure your child gets enough of all the nutrients needed for a growing child, their vegetarian diet must.

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Vegetarian Meal Plan for Kids

How to make meals interesting for your child?

A child’s vegetarian meal plan can be equally nutritious to a diet that includes meat/chicken/fish or eggs. As a mother, you have to come up with new meal ideas with ensured nutrition. To make sure your child gets enough of all the nutrients needed for a growing child, a balanced diet chart for a vegetarian must include:
a) Protein alternatives such as nuts, soy, milk & milk products, legumes and tofu.
b) Energy for growth and development from whole grains or multigrain cereals, quality fats & oils in Indian veg diet plan in right amounts
c) Iron to prevent anaemia
d) Vitamin B12 for the body to help in metabolism and to make red blood cells
e) Vitamin D and calcium to prevent bone disease

The key to being an expert parent is to plan a nutrient-dense vegetarian menu for kids consisting of all the essential food groups

How-do-I-plan-1

Importance of a vegetarian diet chart for your child

The period between 2 to 5 years of age is characterized by an increase in activity levels. This coupled with the small tummy of your child means that a range of vital nutrients are needed at this growing stage in the small volumes of food that your child consumes.

To make sure your child gets enough of all the nutrients needed for growth, the vegetarian meals for children must include the following food groups in appropriate portions:

FOOD GROUPSSERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOODROLE AND FUNCTIONS
FOOD GROUPS

Cereals

SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

2

    SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

    4

      SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

      1 small chapatti/1 small spce of bread/2 tbsp. of raw rice/2 tbsp. of raw pasta/2 tbsp. of raw dapa/2 tbsp. of sooji/2 tbsp. of raw oats

        ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

        Cereals are an important source of energy, carbohydrate, protein and fibre, as well as containing a range of micronutrients such as vitamin E, some of the B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Fortified cereals with iron helps growth and enhances learning abipty.

          FOOD GROUPS

          Pulses and legumes

          SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

          1

            SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

            1

              SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

              2 tbsp. raw pulses/legumes/beans/lentils

                ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                Pulses are low fat source of protein, with a high fibre content. Protein is needed for your child’s muscle growth and repair. Seed/legumes will be much easier to digest and assimilate more nutrients if sprouted.

                  FOOD GROUPS

                  Milk and milk product

                  SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

                  5

                    SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

                    5

                      SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

                      1 small cup (100 ml) milk/ 1 small cup curd (100 g)

                        ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                        Milk and milk products are rich sources of calcium- good for bones, muscles and teeth. Vitamin D is derived from milk and helps the body absorb minerals, pke calcium and phosphorus

                          FOOD GROUPS

                          Vegetables

                          SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

                           

                            SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

                             

                              SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

                               

                                ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                                 

                                  FOOD GROUPS

                                  Roots and tubers

                                  SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

                                  ½

                                    SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

                                    1

                                      SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

                                      1 cup chopped raw potato/ carrot/ turnips/onions etc.

                                        ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                                        Try to have baked/steamed potato instead of fried to ensure their health benefits.

                                          FOOD GROUPS

                                          Green leafy vegetables

                                          SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

                                          ½

                                            SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

                                            1

                                              SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

                                              1 cup chopped raw green leafy vegetables like Spinach/fenugreek/bathua/mustard leaves etc.

                                                ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                                                Try to incorporate Green leafy vegetables every day in different forms to keep your child healthy.

                                                  FOOD GROUPS

                                                  Other vegetables

                                                  SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

                                                  ½

                                                    SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

                                                    1

                                                      SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

                                                      1 cup chopped raw other vegetables

                                                        ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                                                        Include seasonal and colourful vegetables to enjoy benefits of antioxidants.

                                                          FOOD GROUPS

                                                          Fruits

                                                          SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

                                                          1

                                                            SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

                                                            5

                                                              SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

                                                              1 medium banana/1 apple/ pear/ orange/ 1 katori chopped papaya/ pineapple etc.

                                                                ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                                                                Go for a variety of seasonal fruits- rich sources of antioxidants, various vitamins and minerals.

                                                                  FOOD GROUPS

                                                                  Fats and oil

                                                                  SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

                                                                  5

                                                                    SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

                                                                    5

                                                                      SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

                                                                      1 tsp of vegetable oil/ ghee/butter/ mayonnaise/ cheese spread etc. Soy oil/walnuts/flaxseeds are rich in omega -3 fats.

                                                                        ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                                                                        Include healthy vegetable based oils as olive/mustard/rice bran/soybean etc.
                                                                        Avoid trans fats and saturated oils. Foods containing omega-3 fats help your child’s brain development and vision.

                                                                          FOOD GROUPS

                                                                          Sugar

                                                                          SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (1-3 YEARS)

                                                                          3

                                                                            SERVINGS REQUIRED/DAY (4-6 YEARS)

                                                                            4

                                                                              SUGGESTED 1 SERVING OF FOOD

                                                                              1 tsp of table sugar/jaggery powder/ honey/jam etc.

                                                                                ROLE AND FUNCTIONS

                                                                                Try to limit sugary foods rich in trans fats and low in nutrients.

                                                                                  How-do-I-plan-2

                                                                                  Delicious vegetarian options for your toddler

                                                                                  The diet chart for vegetarian kids should consist of small and frequent meals (3 major meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner and 3-4 small meal snacks) in a day. You can try variations while trying out new vegetarian breakfast ideas and veggie dishes for toddlers.

                                                                                  Following are few healthy meal options:

                                                                                  BREAKFAST OPTIONSSNACK OPTIONSMAIN MEAL OPTIONS (LUNCH/DINNER)
                                                                                  BREAKFAST OPTIONS
                                                                                  • Besan chilla with vegetables
                                                                                  • Stuffed vegetable/paneer paratha
                                                                                  • Vegetable/paneer sandwich
                                                                                  • Sooji vegetable upma
                                                                                  • Vegetable idli
                                                                                  • Moong dal chilla
                                                                                  • Cereals with milk/curd
                                                                                  • Whole wheat vegetable dalia/dalia with milk and fruit
                                                                                  • Whole grain bread with peanut butter and banana
                                                                                  • Milkshake with fruit to accompany the main meal
                                                                                  SNACK OPTIONS
                                                                                  • Fruits
                                                                                  • Kebabs
                                                                                  • Dhokla
                                                                                  • Carrot kheer
                                                                                  • Fruit smoothies
                                                                                  • Peanuts/makhana
                                                                                  • Almonds/raisins/dates etc.
                                                                                  MAIN MEAL OPTIONS (LUNCH/DINNER)
                                                                                  • MAIN MEAL OPTIONS (LUNCH/DINNER)
                                                                                  • Rice and Sabzi or Dal
                                                                                  • Vegetable Khichdi
                                                                                  • Colorful vegetable pulao with paneer/curd/dal
                                                                                  • Roti made with wheat & soya flour to accompany with dal/channa/mix vegetable
                                                                                  • Rice and saag paneer or channa (chick peas)
                                                                                  • Phulkas with mixed vegetable curry