Personally I give the thumbs up for vegan children. Vegan diet gives enough protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber, except calcium. Vegan children have been shown to have lower intakes of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than non-vegetarian children.
For the first four to six months, all babies do best with breast milk. You can use soy formula for vegans if breastfeeding is decreased or stopped. At 6 months solid foods can be introduced but the weaning process should not be hurried if baby is content with breast milk alone.The classic 'first food' is mashed banana, which is very digestible, sweet and a good introduction to foods.Suitable first foods are baby rice or pureed vegetables. Fruits are usually introduced after vegetables in order to allow acceptance of vegetables before the sweet tastes of fruits is experienced.
Good introductory vegetables are parsnips, sweet potatoes, yams and carrots.
Around 7 months of age baby should now be ready for well-cooked wholegrain cereals such as pureed lentils, rice, lima beans and weetabix. These foods should be mushy in consistency.
From 8-10 months of age gradually adjust baby's feeds to fit in with the rest of the family's meal times.Baby will be ready for mashed potato, pears, peaches, plums and melons. Try finger foods such as toast or rusks.
10-12 months-try blending avocado, tofu, apple-sauce and cooked greens with nut butters. The introduction of peanuts and nuts to the diet of infants from allergic families should be delayed until three years of age or at an age advised by their medical practitioner.
From 12 months of age infants can share the same meals as the rest of the family with additional snacks in-between. Add legumes (peas and beans) to the menu, but be sure all beans are cooked until quite soft and the skins (especially soy) are removed.
Some more tips for feeding vegan children:
Spread breads with margarine,seed or nut butters to increase calories.
Low salt yeast extract is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Well-cooked and mashed pulses (e.g. lentils, mung beans and chick peas) provide energy and protein. Use black molasses to boost iron and calcium intakes.
Tofu prepared with calcium salt (usually calcium sulphate) contains more calcium than cow's milk. It is also rich in protein.
Make sure children have access to sunshine regularly and provide vitamin D2 supplements in winter.
Use non-dairy milks e.g. soya milk that is fortified with calcium, vitamin D2 and vitamin B12.