Dr. Greene’s Answer:
Kids can certainly grow well without meat. They do need protein, but there are plenty of non-meat sources. If kids get 12 to 16 ounces of milk per day, then about 2 ounces more of high-protein food should be plenty Yogurt is one good, high-protein alternative. Eggs, nuts, beans, and soy products are also high-protein sources. Many vegetables and whole grains don’t have enough protein to count as high-protein foods, but they do have enough protein to make a difference.
I also like a multivitamin with iron as a safety net for toddlers. Pure vegetarians usually get more vitamins from their diets than do other kids, but it is still common for them to become B12 deficient.
Last reviewed: November 14, 2010