10 Useful Tips For Raising Vegan Kids
|Infographic||The rise in vegan culture has been adopted by many individuals, organizations, and food companies. As veganism continues to increase in popularity, many parents are choosing to adopt this lifestyle and raise their children vegan as well. Raising vegan children is a wonderful thing to do as a parent and it is possible to raise healthy children on a vegan diet. The royal couple, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are also planning to raise their baby as a vegan.|
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics officially deemed a vegan diet healthy for both children and adults—though you will need to pay extra attention to your baby’s diet to ensure he gets exactly what he needs.
Here are 10 tips to ensure you are hassle-free while raising your kids as vegans:
1) Breast-feeding for longer time:
We all know that the best way to give your child the healthiest start in life is by breastfeeding. But if this is not possible, there are breast milk banks where you can gain access to a vegan source of breast milk. Breast milk is a great source of all nutrients. It may be helpful in weaning your child to soy milk fortified with vitamins B12 and D to ensure he/she gets additional fortification in those key nutrients.
2) Use milk-substitutes with care:
According to dietitian Diana Rice, “Keep in mind that vegan milk alternatives are not necessarily direct substitutes for cow’s milk. Many substitutes, including almond milk, do not have the same amount of protein as cow’s milk and many contain added sugar.” So do read the labels on the packets carefully. You may have to supplement additional calcium by adding leafy vegetables and beans to the diet.
3) Supplement, if required:
In addition to Vitamins B12 and D, kids raised on vegetarian and vegan diets may need to be supplemented iron, zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids. To ensure that your baby gets enough of these key nutrients, you could give him/her a vitamin supplement, choose fortified cereals and juices, or look for plant-based alternatives.
4) Consider consulting a dietitian or nutritionist:
Your paediatrician might be well versed with veganism and you may have to consult a registered dietitian to chart out important foods for your baby. He/ She may also suggest simple and nutritional recipes.
5) Get creative with various foods:
Children often get bored after eating one type of diet and they need variety in their foods. Consult recipe books which provide you with yummy recipes.
6) Start educating your child early:
Children are influenced by their peers and your child may question about your diet choices. Hence, they must be educated regarding the benefits of plant-based diet and lifestyle at early age do they adapt easily later on.
7) Embrace a plant-based lifestyle:
Children consider parents as their role models and learn a great deal from them. So, if you adopt a vegan lifestyle your child will follow you. Say no to animal products. Learning about the needs of animals teaches the child about respect for their fellow humans too.
8) Make peace with your children:
Growing children especially teenagers make their own food choices at some point in their life. According to paediatrician Dr. Grace Wong , “At some point during a child’s life, he or she may wonder why she or he eats differently from others.” So have an open mind, discuss with your child, and respect the food choices he/she makes.
9) Stick by your beliefs:
Raising a vegan child may require continuous motivation to the child and sticking to your beliefs and being proud of it. If you believe that plant-based diets are good for you and for the Earth, educate the same to your child, and let him explore more.
10) Participate to create awareness:
Veganism is a movement which requires active participation. Vegan community meetings, book clubs and support groups can help spread awareness. Ensure that your child participates in activities for vegan kids. They can befriend like minded kids which may help them to stick to vegan lifestyle for long.
There exists a never-ending argument about whether parents should impose vegan lifestyle on their children. However, think of the opposite- your child will be growing up with their eyes wide open, aware of exactly what the implications are for animals, the planet, and our health when we eat an omnivore diet. You are, in effect, giving your child more choice in their life than if they were brought up unaware that more compassionate ways of living are possible.