Resources For Feeding Vegetarian and Vegan Toddlers

Yesterday’s post turned out to be particularly well-timed.  This morning, my son had his 2 year check-up and the doctor devoted quite a bit of time to asking us about his eating habits.  He advised that we continue to serve balanced meals without commenting or trying to coerce our son to eat.  The idea is to teach my son what healthy eating looks like and make sure that he is familiar with healthy foods when he is finally ready to try them (which could be a year from now, or even longer).  The doctor also assured us that our son is perfectly normal in his finickiness and refusal to try new things.

If yesterday’s post left you filled with despair, fear not.  I’ve compiled a list of resources written by folks who know much more about nutrition and feeding kids than I do.

Nutrition and Child Development Information

  • Raising Vegetarian Children, by Joanne Stepaniak not only addresses nutrition and menu-planning, but also covers things like explaining veganism to your children and helping them deal with being different from their peers.
  • Becoming Vegan, by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina is sub-titled “the everyday guide to plant-based nutrition” and that about sums it up.
  • The Vegetarian Resource group is a non-profit dedicated to educating the public about vegetarianism and veganism.  They have a ton of information available for free on their website, including sections on nutrition and raising vegetarian and vegan children.  VRG takes great care in assuring that the information they provide is factually accurate, so articles are heavily footnoted with references to studies and scientific articles.  (This is the perfect place to send any well-meaning family member who questions how your kid will survive without animal foods).
  • The Vegan RD is the blog of registered dietitian Ginny Messina, the author of Vegan For Life and several other books.  Messina offers lots of health and nutrition resources, but what I like best about her blog is the way she addresses the vegan health controversy du jour with common sense and sound science.

Recipes and Menu Planning

  • Vegan Lunchbox, by Jennifer McCann is a cookbook filled with healthy, kid-approved menu plans and recipes.  Way back in my law school days, I took a study break every day to visit McCann’s blog and see what her then 7 year old son had eaten for lunch that day.  I hoped that I would one day have a son who was such an adventurous eater.  Although McCann no longer updates her blog, both the blog archives and her cookbooks have lots of great ideas for feeding kids.
  • As a Mom of three, Dreena Burton knows what kids like.  All four of her cookbooks feature whole-foods recipes and tips on feeding babies and children.  I think each of Burton’s books is better than the last, so her most recent work, Let Them Eat Vegan!, is my top pick.  Burton also has a blog.
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