Babies & Children
It’s great that you’ve made the decision to raise your baby as a vegetarian/ vegan – you’ve made a positive and healthy choice for your child. There are 4th generation New Zealand vegetarians now, thriving on the cumulative benefits of families “living vegetarian”. If you would like to meet families confidently raising vegetarian and vegan children, we have groups that you can join, and if there is not one in your area and you would like one, we can help you set it up and promote it.
Auckland Families Group
Contact Stephanie by e-mail.
NZVS Wellington Families Group
Contact Dee by e-mail.
Christchurch Families Group
E-mail or phone 03 382 4155
As well as these groups, we have the ‘NZ Vegetarian Families’ e-mail chat group. You are welcome to e-mail the chat group to join up.
We can send you some leaflets from our Family range about raising a vegetarian child that you will find helpful. If you would like these leaflets sent to you, we would be grateful for a donation towards printing and postage. E-mail us
- Vegetarian Pregnancy
- Vegetarian Babies
- Vegetarian Children
We also have a range of Nutrition pamphlets. If you are interested in these, we would be happy to send them out to you. This range of five pamphlets includes an Overview of Vegetarian Nutrition, Iron, B12, Protein , and Calcium & Vitamin D.
We are happy to post you one copy of each of these pamphlets free however if you would like more copies, we would appreciate a donation of 50c per pamphlet.
The NZ National Vegetarian Society Resource Centre runs a postal library service for members. If you would like to join us and request books from our library, please contact us. Some books we can lend to you that are particularly recommended are:
- Raising Vegetarian Children: A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony by Joanne Stepaniak and Vesanto Melina
- New Vegetarian Baby: An Entirely New Updated Edition of the Classic Guide to Raising Your Baby on the Healthiest Possible Diet by Sharon Yntema and Christine Beard
- Rose Elliot’s Mother and Baby Book
- Vegetarian Meals for Babies and Young Children by Natalee McLean
There are books and pamphlets on this important topic available for purchase or borrowing from the NZ Vegetarian Society. See our contact details to order from our Nutrition series.
Many vegetarians have found it helpful to introduce tofu as the first protein for babies as an excellent source of protein that is easily digested.
Do let your plunket nurse know that you are in contact with us and refer them to our website or tell them to phone us on 09 523 4686 if they would like copies of these pamphlets too, to help them support you in your choice of raising your children in the vegetarian/vegan way.
Children have a high calorie and nutrient need but their stomachs are small, so offer your child frequent snacks. Do limit juices, however, since some children may fill up on them, preferring their sweetness to other foods.
Calorie needs vary from child to child, so the following guidelines are very general. For more detailed information, please refer to our Pamphlet range.
Organic wholemeal cereal (wheat biscuit, bran flakes) or porridge with fortified (soy or other) milk, and/or toast with peanut or almond butter, yeast extract or baked beans. Fresh fruit or juice.
Bread or pita or whole grain crackers with some hummus, Marmite, peanut butter or avocado or other spread, tofu or vegetarian sausage, salad vegetables (e.g. tomato, carrot or celery sticks) Milk (soy or other) fortified with B12. Fresh fruit.
Potatoes, rice, pasta or another grain-based plant food
Vegetables or salad including greens
Beans, lentils, tofu or tempeh (for protein)
Dessert fresh or stewed fruit with custard
Fresh/dried fruit, crackers, raw vegetables, soy yoghurt, bread with hummus or nut pate, nuts and seeds, fruit and yoghurt smooties, cereals, wholegrain toast and peanut butter.
- Serving sizes should be appropriate for the child’s age and physical needs.
- For safety reasons, young children should avoid whole nuts.
- Young children need some high fat foods. Use full-fat (soy or other) milk, peanut butter, tahini, avocado, and olive oil.
- Encourage children to drink water when thirsty