Faldar Dubar Johnson (@faldaeats) is a plant based mum and food blogger. This week she gave us her advice on nutrition for children on a plant based diet….
I often get asked how I make sure my toddler is nourished and thriving on a plant based diet. As a long time vegan and lifelong vegetarian I am acutely aware of how to fuel my body efficiently. This is only heightened by high exercise levels, but fuelling her growing body is a whole new experience and a little messier.
Just like me, my toddler needs to eat a wide range of foods to thrive on her diet. When she first started eating solids it was easy to give her a wide range of textures and flavours which she could try at her own pace, she was breastfed more frequently 12 months ago and milk was her main source of nourishment. Today, at almost two years, food makes up the majority of her nutritional needs.
I make her diet up from a range of different food groups and try (we can’t always get it perfect) to include these in her daily diet:
Tip: always choose the milks fortified with vitamins and minerals, including B12 and Calcium.
Tip: we add spinach to almost every meal as leafy greens are high in iron and calcium.
Tip: freezing a homemade smoothie in ice lolly moulds provides a refreshing snack during the summer. Add green leafy vegetables to smoothies for iron and calcium.
Nuts and Seeds
Tip: Homemade granola is a good way to get these in, my toddler starts every day with porridge topped with granola. Add Chia seeds and linseeds in too as these are high in Omega 3.
Peas, Beans and Lentils
Tip: A curry is a tasty way to get some lentils and vegetables into a little ones diet and to meet protein targets.
Although, she is getting plenty of protein daily from nut butters, homemade granolas, hummus, and curries, the ever looming question of protein has been on my mind. It is the thing we are asked about most, second only to her Vitamin B12 intake, something which is notoriously hard to get on a plant-based diet.
Until I came across Roots ‘n Shoots I had never considered protein powders for my little one. I have always associated protein shakes with body builders and definitely not toddlers. We were kindly sent some samples to try at home and she absolutely loved them, especially the vanilla flavour. Made from pumpkin, sunflower, rice and pea proteins this is a delicious plant-based powder. Having a range of plant proteins is fantastic for my little one as they give her a wide range of amino acids. Amino acids are important for everyone but an amino acid defiency in children may cause stunted growth.
The best thing about Roots ‘n Shoots is that they contain your recommended daily intake of B12 in every serving. My mind is at ease knowing that we are hitting both bases in a delicious drink.
Example of our menu:
Breakfast: Porridge (1/2 cup oats + 1 cup unsweetened almond milk) served with home made granola (chia seeds, mixed nuts, linseeds, sunflower seeds and coconut)
Morning Snack: Roots and Shoots protein shake made with oat milk (she had this iced as it was a hot day)
Lunch: Wholewheat spaghetti with vegetable sauce (tomatoes, spinach, red kidney beans, red onion, garlic, red pepper and courgette-all cooked and blended)
Afternoon Snack: Homemade hummus with crackers and cucumber.
Tea: Lentil Dahl with wild rice
Supper: ½ portion of porridge and granola (same as breakfast)
With any diet, it is important to be aware of what food is going into your child’s body. Making sure we are hitting all these food groups allows us to relax knowing she is full of essential nutrients. For more information on feeding a toddler on a plant-based diet: