In a matter of days, Meghan Markle, 37, and Prince Harry, 34, will welcome their first baby into the world.
Since the couple met, it has been widely reported that the Duchess of Sussex’s lifestyle has rubbed off on the prince.
Royal insiders have claimed that the pair want to raise their newborn as a vegan, and the Queen reportedly “won’t have it”.
But will raising a baby vegan have an effect on their health? Or could it be dangerous for a youngster to follow such a restricted diet?
The NHS says that people “should be able to get most of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet”.
On the subject of babies, it adds: “If you’re bringing up your baby or child on a vegan diet, you need to ensure they get a wide variety of foods to provide the energy and vitamins they need for growth.”
We spoke to organic baby food Piccolo’s leading infant nutritional specialist, Alice Fortheringham, who shared some useful tips for parents who are considering on raising their children on a plant-based diet.
“A well-planned and balanced vegan diet can provide all the nutrients”
She told Daily Star Online: “When it comes to babies and toddlers, a well-planned and balanced vegan diet can provide all the nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth and development.
“It is, however, important to consider the vitamins and nutrients which could typically be provided by animal products, and ensure that al nutritional needs are met, most importantly ensuring your baby’s diet contains enough sources of protein and the nutrients iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.”
According to Piccolo, the brand has seen a staggering 2000% sales increase of its Mighty Squeeze vegan range (available at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Ocado).
Here are Alice’s top tips on raising your baby vegan:
1. Give your little one plenty of veggies and nuts – they’re packed with protein:
It’s is important that babies being raised vegan get their protein, so make sure you’re feeding them two or three portions of vegetable protein and or nut-based foods per day.
Vegan sources of protein include pulses such as beans, lentils and chickpeas, nuts and seeds grains and cereals, soya and soya products such as tofu.
Do note that it is not recommended to give whole nuts until a child reaches 5 due to the risk of choking so feed ground nuts and seeds mixed into recipes or sugar and salt free nut and seed butters.
2. Opt for soya and grains – helping baby get their essential vitamins
Vitamin B12 is crucial to babies’ development because it helps their body make red blood cells and have a healthy nervous system.
As it is only naturally found in foods of animal origin it is important that vegan children eat fortified foods such as soya products and yeast extract or take supplements which contain the vitamin. Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D can also be found in fortified breads or grains.
3. Enrich your child’s diet with leafy green veggies – they’re high in calcium
To ensure your baby gets enough calcium it is key to ensure your choice of dairy free milk substitute is fortified with essential vitamins and calcium (good options here could include soy or oat dairy free drinks).
However, calcium from natural sources is the best thing to look out for.
According to the NHS, young children need a good variety of foods to provide the energy and nutrients they need to grow and develop.
A vegetarian or vegan diet can be high in fibre, but this can mean your child feels full up before they’ve taken in enough calories.
If you’re concerned your child is not getting enough energy, offer them higher calorie foods.
For more information on vegetarian and vegan babies, visit the NHS.
- Meghan Markle
- Prince Harry
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