Raising plant-based kids: is vegan healthy for kids?
Discover the truth about raising vegan kids with our informative guide. Learn how to plan a healthy, balanced, and nutritionally complete plant-based diet for infants, children, and adolescents.
As more people become concerned about their health, the environment, and animal welfare, veganism has become a popular lifestyle choice. However, some parents worry that this plant-based diet may not provide all the nutrients their children need for healthy growth and development. So, is a vegan diet healthy for kids?
The answer is yes, as long as it's planned carefully to ensure all necessary nutrients are included. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) confirm that a well-planned vegan diet can meet all the nutrient needs of infants, children, and adolescents.
In fact, plant-based diets can have several health benefits for kids, such as reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease, and some cancers. Vegan diets are typically high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. However, it's important to be aware of the nutrients that are commonly lacking in a vegan diet and make sure they're included in a child's meals.
One of the most important nutrients that a vegan diet can lack is vitamin B12. This vitamin is necessary for healthy blood and nerve cells and is found mainly in animal-based foods. However, some vegan foods, such as plant-based milks, cereals, and nutritional yeast, are fortified with vitamin B12, and supplements are also available. Other nutrients that can be lacking in a vegan diet include calcium, vitamin D, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can be found in fortified plant-based milk, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and supplements.
A common concern with a vegan diet for kids is that they won't get enough protein. However, it's easy to get enough protein on a vegan diet, as long as a variety of plant-based protein sources are included, such as legumes, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, and nuts.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers who follow a vegan diet need to be especially careful to ensure they get enough nutrients to support their growing baby. They should take a prenatal vitamin and get regular medical check-ups to monitor their nutrient levels.
When introducing solid foods to infants, it's important to provide a variety of foods that include iron-rich plant-based sources such as beans, lentils, and fortified cereals. Breastfeeding mothers who follow a vegan diet should also ensure their infants get enough vitamin D, as breast milk is typically low in this nutrient.
This is where some of the top vegan-friendly products come in handy:
1. Plant-based milk alternatives
Milk is a rich source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. However, there are several plant-based milk alternatives available that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. We recommend Orgain's Organic Plant Based Protein Almond Milk and we also love Kiki's organic plant-based milk.
2. Vegan-friendly protein sources
such as nut butters, tofu, and plant-based protein powders.
Protein is important for growth and development, and there are plenty of vegan-friendly sources of protein. Nut butters, such as peanut butter and almond butter, are a delicious and easy way to add protein to meals and snacks. Tofu is another excellent source of protein and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fries and curries. Plant-based protein powders are also available and can be added to smoothies and other beverages. Our top organic vegan protein powder is readily available on amazon
3. Nutrient-dense snacks
Snacks are an important part of a child's diet, but it's essential to choose nutrient-dense options. Fruit bars made with real fruit and whole grains are a delicious and convenient snack option. Veggie straws made with real vegetables are also a great choice. Trail mix made with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit is a portable and satisfying snack that's high in protein and
healthy fats. Out kid's favorite Kids -- the Organic Peanut Butter Cup MacroBar --made it to the top.
4. Vitamin and mineral supplements
Although a well-planned vegan diet can meet all the nutrient needs of infants, children, and adolescents, some kids may require additional supplements to ensure they're getting enough vitamins and minerals. Supplements that are formulated specifically for vegan children are available and can be recommended by a healthcare professional. Try out the NUTRAMIN Daily Vegan Keto Multivitamin Gummies Vitamin C, D2, and Zinc. They have everything you'll need and your kids will love it.
5. Vegan-friendly multivitamins
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers who follow a vegan diet need to be especially careful to ensure they get enough nutrients to support their growing baby. Vegan-friendly multivitamins that are specifically formulated for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are available and can help ensure they're getting all the nutrients they need.
In conclusion, a vegan diet can be a healthy and safe choice for kids, as long as it's well-planned to include all necessary nutrients. Parents should work with a registered dietitian to ensure their child is getting all the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. By offering a variety of plant-based foods, including fortified products and supplements, and being mindful of nutrient deficiencies, children can thrive on a vegan diet.
Would you raise your child vegan? let us know in a comment below.