Vegetarianism and Teens
Help teens safely eliminate meat from their diets, while making sure they get enough nutrients.
By: Gregory Germain, MD
During the teen years your son or daughter may start experimenting with a different kind of diet. Vegetarianism, when done right, can be consistent with American dietary guidelines. Make sure that your teen is eating plenty of legumes, tofu and nuts to make up for the meat, fish and poultry that he isn’t eating. Most vegetarians consume milk and dairy products and some eat eggs. But stricter vegetarians, or vegans, believe in removing all animal food sources from their diet.
Vitamins and Supplements
Try to make sure that your child gets all the vitamins he needs from food. If you think that might not be the case, give him a vitamin and mineral supplement to be on the safe side. Check with your doctor as your teen may need to supplement his vegetarian diet with additional D and B12 vitamins.
Smart Vegetarian Snacks
While it’s a good idea to make sure that your child has three healthy meals a day, because he is growing he will probably want to snack in order to get all the calories he needs. Not all snack food is bad: Get your teen into the habit of having an apple, some string cheese, a handful of nuts or small bag of pretzels instead of a high-fat greasy choice like chips.