However you decide to raise your child, chances are that someone, at some stage, will feel the need to criticise your choices. And there are few issues more inflammatory than what you decide to feed your child – people have opinions on everything from breast milk versus formula to whether or not organic is worth it, and how much sugar you should be giving them (if any). Meat is another thorny issue. Despite the growing prevalence of vegetarianism and veganism in the UK, many parents raising their children meat-free will be used to 'warnings' that their kids will be malnourished.
However, research shows that children raised on vegetarian diets grow and develop at the same rate as carnivores, and generally receive a comparable amount of protein, energy and other key nutrients. The NHS advises parents to ensure their child gets sufficient nutrients – particularly protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids – by giving them plenty of fortified foods, dairy, eggs, whole grains, leafy greens, and beans and lentils.