September 12, 2008

Diet Diary: FOOD FOR Thought

By Rhiannon Harris is a nutritionist

AN old school friend is coming to stay, I knew she was a vegetarian, but she tells me she is now a vegan. What's the difference and what could I serve her for breakfast?

Vegetarians don't eat anything that involves killing an animal, but will normally eat eggs and dairy foods.

Vegans go one stage further and won't eat any product that comes from an animal, so exclude milk or its products and even honey. There are a number of options - simple cereal and toast as long as it is served with a soya milk (she may prefer fruit juice) and a dairy-free margarine - most soya margarine is suitable for vegans, check the label. Jam or marmalade or Marmite can be served with the toast. Dried or fresh fruit, or beans, mushrooms or tomatoes on toast are also suitable.

MY little boy is five months old and is having more and more frequent feeds - mum says I should start to wean him, but I'm worried unless I trigger a food allergy.

Weaning should start at six months with foods that are unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction. It is important that you make the food not too much thicker than the milk he is used too and gradually increase the consistency.

Make small portions and freeze in ice cube trays, but ensure they are heated and cooled sufficiently before feeding. Start with: baby rice, cooked potato, apple, pear, parsnip, swede, carrot etc. These can be mixed together to introduce new tastes. You can start to introduce more foods at nine months (eggs, fish, meat) but wait until after he is a year old to start feeding cows' milk, wheat (bread, pasta).

These answers are for guidance only - always contact your doctor

If you have any questions on nutrition, e-mail [email protected]

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