Are Vegan Children Healthy?
Where children are concerned, special diets always raise a few eyebrows. In general, many people wonder if these alternative diets or lifestyles are healthy or not. Many parents see the rising epidemic of children's health problems and feel compelled to start trying different ways of feeding them. As a result of these trends, vegan for kids has been steadily rising in popularity in recent years.
Is a Vegan Diet Safe for Kids?
As surprising as it may be for some to learn, there are different types of vegetarians. The vegetarians that most people think of are those that cut out beef, pork, poultry and other red meats. They still eat fish, dairy products and eggs. Having a vegetarian diet for kids with this sort of approach or philosophy is incredibly easy. It may even be possible to carry on with this dietary lifestyle without much notice. Children are often able to eat alongside other children without any special notice being given to their food.
There is another type of vegetarian, though, referred to as vegans, which do not consume fish, dairy, or eggs. In other words, this approach means cutting all animal products and byproducts out of the diet. Maintaining this sort of vegetarian diet for kids becomes a bit more complicated. Other vegetarian children can still blend in with other kids by eating cheese pizza or fish sticks. When eating vegan, many food options disappear or at the very least have to be modified. Many people immediately wonder whether or not a vegan diet is healthy for kids. It often comes as a surprise to people to learn that the vast majority of the nutrients that people need can be satisfied through a vegan diet. While adults can probably satisfy all of their dietary needs this way, there are deep concerns about whether or not the same holds true for growing children. The general consensus is that children will need to consume some animal products or take dietary supplements in order to meet their needs for DHA, complete proteins, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. There is still some disagreement on this matter, however. These nutritional concerns are specific to vegan for kids and do not apply to the broader types of vegetarians. As with any other choice that has major bearing on the health and well being of a child, consult with the family physician during the decision making process.
As with any other diet, vegan for kids needs to be creative in order to keep kids eating a healthy and balanced variety of foods. When searching for vegan recipes for kids keep an open mind about fun foods. Just as with other diets, vegan recipes for kids will often find ways to incorporate different foods in fun ways, such as building animals out of food or hiding healthy boosters in the food. While learning to eat healthy, vegan kids need to have just as much fun as other children.