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Healthy Vegetarian and Vegan Eating for Toddlers

August 8, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

toddler eating vegetables and dip


A growing number of people these days avoid eating meat and, for various reasons, adopt vegetarian or vegan diets.  

These ways of eating can be healthy, but it’s very important to ensure your toddler gets enough of the right nutrients.

As with healthy adult diets, the key for healthy toddlers is to choose foods carefully from all four food groups outlined in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.

If you choose not to offer meat, choose meat alternatives, such as:

  • Eggs
  • Beans and legumes
  • Tofu
  • "Veggie" meats
  • Nut and seed butters

Try to use different types of meat alternatives at different times.  If food choices are too limited, your toddler may not get all the necessary nutrients.  Provide foods from all four groups. Offer snacks from two or more food groups at a time.

Vegan Toddlers

You may follow a vegan diet, and want your toddler to as well. Remember, your toddler needs sources of:

  • Energy
  • Omega-3 fats
  • Protein
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron 
  • Calcium

Talk to a registered dietitian to make sure your toddler gets all the necessary nutrients for growth and development. Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or contact the community nutritionist in your local public health office. 


Fish is part of a healthy diet, providing nutrients like protein and omega-3 fats.  But some fish are high in mercury and have recommended serving limits

Resources and Links:

HealthLink BC: Healthy Eating Guidelines for Your Vegetarian Toddler 1 to 3 Years


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