Baby & tot vegetarian meal plan
We like to say: “Under One, Just for Fun” because when babies first begin to eat, it’s more about exposing them to different tastes and textures, rather than to provide calories.
In the beginning, aim for 1 to 2 tablespoons, 1 to 2 times per day. By 9 months old, your baby should be ready for 3 full meals and even 1-2 planned snacks daily, and, by the first birthday, expect your baby to be eating 3 balanced meals with 2-3 snacks each day.
With appropriate planning, a vegetarian diet can meet your baby’s nutrient needs. When cutting out animal products, there are certain nutrient requirements that are more difficult to meet. Falling short of these nutrients could interfere with optimal growth and development.
The below meal, snack, and recipe ideas will help you include protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, vitamin A, D, and vitamin B12 in your baby’s meals. These are nutrients that could be lacking in a vegetarian diet. Also, make sure you chose textures appropriate for your baby’s age and stage.
Vegetarian food sources of these nutrients include:
Protein: eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters, beans, legumes, tofu, seitan, tempeh, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Flax oil and ground flax seeds, walnuts, canola oil, soy, algae.
Iodine: Iodized salt and sea vegetables such as nori.
Iron: Lentils, kidney beans, black beans, dark leafy greens, raisins, and fortified grains.
Calcium: whole milk dairy products (milk [not for baby under 1 year], cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese), dark leafy greens, tofu, baked beans, almonds, sesame seeds, and figs. Fortified plant-based milks like coconut, soymilk and almond milk are also good sources.
Zinc: Fortified grains, veggie burgers, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, peanuts, tempeh, tofu, tahini.
Vitamin A: carrots, spinach, pumpkins, dark green vegetables.
Vitamin D: Sunlight and fortified dairy alternatives.
Vitamin B12: Soy products (miso), fermented soybeans, brewer’s yeast, wheat grass, fortified foods.
- Option 1: Quinoa drizzled with milk (if older than 12 months) or plant-based milk like coconut milk, almond butter, berries
- Option 2: Rolled oats (ground in blender/food processor for under 9 months) made with fortified milk (if older than 12 months) or plant-based milk, nut butter of your choice
- Option 3: Smoothie made with whole milk yogurt, ground flax seeds, berries, spinach, nut butter, brewer’s Yeast (splash of water, milk if older than 12 months or plant based milk if needed for consistency)
- Option 4: Scrambled eggs with sautéed and chopped spinach and mushrooms, sprinkled with shredded cheese.
- Option 5: Amaranth cereal topped with ground chia seeds, sliced banana and diced figs.
- Option 1: Quinoa mixed with shredded nori, sesame seeds and black beans.
- Option 2: Hard-boiled egg, thinly sliced with sautéed thinly sliced bell peppers.
- Option 3: Cottage cheese with diced melon or berries.
- Option 4: Shredded baked potato (without skin) topped with cottage cheese or shredded cheese, chopped herbs (parsley, chives)
- Option 5: Veggie burger with cheese and sliced avocado, and side of brown rice softly cooked.
- Option 1: Quinoa pasta, spaghetti sauce with chopped seitan, sautéed kale.
- Option 2: Lasagna roll-ups: cooked lasagna noodles wrapped with a thin layer of tomato sauce, whole milk ricotta cheese, and cooked chopped spinach. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil in oven until cheese is melted, ~3 minutes. Cut the roll ups into a size your child’s chewing ability can handle.
- Option 3: Tofu stir-fry with soft thinly sliced sautéed vegetables of your choice over buckwheat or other whole grain.
- Option 4: Baked tofu, baked sweet potato (without skin), thinly sliced roasted or steamed cauliflower.
- Option 5: Acorn or spaghetti squash stuffed and baked with black beans, quinoa, ground walnuts, chopped figs, spinach.
- Option 1: Tropical tofu smoothie: ½ cup diced frozen mango, ½ frozen banana, 1 cup pineapple juice, ¾ cup silken tofu, ¼ cup ground flax seeds.
- Option 2: Yogurt Recipe: Sweet Yogurt Dip
- Option 3: Cucumber, plain whole fat yogurt, and finely chopped fresh mint: Shred cucumber with grater and add yogurt with mint. Refrigerate and allow flavors to meld about 30 minutes.
- Option 4: Yogurt Recipe: Fruity Yogurt Smoothie
- Option 5: Baby’s guacamole served with size appropriate whole grain crackers: 1 large ripe avocado, ½ cup peeled and seeded cucumber, and ¼ tsp ground cumin. Pit avocado, scoop out avocado and add to food processor with cucumber and cumin.
Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions for your child. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs, including allergies and intolerances. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for your child. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for your child.