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Eating well: Vegan Infants & Under 5s

(Code: EWVI)
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Eating well: Vegan Infants & Under 5sWritten by Dr Helen Crawley, First Steps Nutrition Trust (2014). A4 with spiral binding. 978-1-908924-20-9
Revised and reprinted October 2017 978-1-908924-49-0

This guide aims is to provide support to families to help them to get the most out of the Healthy Start scheme. The guide provides a range of healthy family recipes using ingredients that can be bought with Healthy Start food vouchers, and shows how these can feed the whole family.

It contains:
  • information on the Healthy Start scheme and what can be bought with the Healthy Start food vouchers
  • recipes for family meals, with photos of appropriate portion sizes for infants, children and adults
  • simple ideas for eating well on a budget, and
  • ideas for complementary foods and finger foods for infants from 6 months of age.
As well as supporting the use of Healthy Start food vouchers, the guide promotes family mealtimes by including recipes that can be prepared for all age groups. Eating with others can help children develop social skills and good eating habits from a young age and there is lots of evidence that children really benefit from sharing mealtimes in a family setting.

Health professionals can use the recipes in this guide to show practical examples of meals that include ingredients bought with Healthy Start food vouchers. Health professionals can also use the guide to promote eating well in pregnancy and the early years, with support from Healthy Start food vouchers. Health professionals may wish to adapt the information for their own settings. Some of the pages are written for eligible families and individual pages or sections of this guide can be used.

This report provides an outline of how infants and under 5s on a vegan diet can be supported to meet their energy and nutrient recommendations, and how those who support vegan families or children in early years settings can do this effectively. 

The recipes are also suitable for children who avoid dairy products or eggs.
  • a summary of the key principles of eating well for vegan infants and 1-4 year olds
  • some example meals and finger foods to show how the nutritional needs of vegan infants can be met
  • example breakfasts, snacks, savoury meals and desserts for 1-4 year olds, with recipes for the dishes shown in the photos, and
  • additional useful information for anyone supporting vegan under 5s.
  • The first 6 months of life offers advice on breastfeeding and explains why it is the best way of feeding vegan infants
  • Eating well for vegan infants from 6 months offers ideas for introducing foods other than breast milk (or infant formulae) to vegan infants. It gives ideas for first foods - vegetables, starchy foods, protein foods and fruits - as well as first finger foods.
  • Eating well for vegan 7-0 months old and Eating well for vegan 10-12 months old include photos of some example breakfasts, savoury meals and desserts, with recipes.
  • Eating well for vegan 1-4 year olds gives ideas for encouraging younger children to eat well, with ideas for breakfasts, snacks, savoury meals and desserts for 1-4 year olds, and recipes for the dishes shown in the photos.
  • The Additional information section contains 
  • Energy and nutrient requirements for 1-4 year olds
  • Food based guidance
  • Good sources of vitamins and minerals, and
  • a Resources section with sources of further information