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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer

Question

My teenager has become a vegetarian. Should I be concerned?

Answer

​With careful planning, a vegetarian life-style can be healthy and meet teenagers’ nutritional needs.

  • A vegetarian diet that includes milk products and eggs usually provides adequate nutrients; however, your teenager may need to take an iron supplement.
  • Vegans are strict vegetarians who don’t eat any animal products, including dairy foods, eggs, and fish. They may need additional calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, which can be provided by fortified foods and supplements.
  • Instead of always preparing separate vegetarian meals for your teenager, occasionally fix vegetarian meals for the whole family.
  • Ask your pediatrician to help you plan healthy meals.

Source: Bright Futures: Nutrition, 3rd Edition (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)