Can I raise my kids Vegan?
Going in for a plant-based lifestyle is becoming increasingly mainstream. In other words, a vegan lifestyle is being adopted by individuals, organizations and several food companies. When parents choose to follow this lifestyle, why not let the kids take to the vegan diet as well? After all, a plant-based diet is a repository of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, antioxidants and fiber. As a parent, it would be a wonderful decision, on your part, to raise your children as complete vegans.
Apart from the countless number of health benefits, a plant-based diet provides your child, with other fundamental ethos of life. These include adopting a compassionate approach towards treating animals, developing a nurturing attitude towards nature and leading a sustainable life without harming natural resources. As it is rightly said, everything cannot be taught at school. Some values must be imbibed. The vegan lifestyle teaches you how to live a fabulous life but without hurting another living being. It thrives on the basic fact that non-humans are no way less as compared to humans. Just like how we humans value life and death so would a sheep or a cow or a pig or a fish would.
Let us unveil detailed aspects on whether it is possible to grow up healthier children using a vegan lifestyle:
Misconceptions unveiled and busted for you
In a predominantly non-vegan world we currently live in, few parents are still skeptical to adopt vegan lifestyle full stream. They feel that the kids will not get enough micro-nutrients like Zinc, Iodine, Calcium, Vitamin D and most importantly Vitamin B12. Hence, the society doesn’t seem to embrace the idea with an open mind. There seems to be an unrelenting fear and misunderstanding, with respect to growing children, under a completely vegan lifestyle.
However, dietitians and nutrition experts say that these fears are completely baseless. Once a parent decides to go vegan, he/she will have to carefully plan a well-balanced meal. A balanced meal comprises of a neat blend of the vital nutrients the body needs. You can look for plant-based sources for Calcium, Zinc and Iodine. Again, Vitamin D is a naturally sourced Vitamin from sunlight.
If you allow your kid, to stand under the sunlight of your verandah or balcony, for just 15-20 minutes, he/she will get an adequate amount of Vitamin D. You can look for B12 fortified plant-based milks to combat a potential Vitamin B12 deficiency. Beans and lentils can provide you with proteins and carbohydrates. Dry fruits like almonds and cashews are wonderful sources of Vitamin E. So, in a carefully balanced meal, the child can get all the micro and macro nutrients the body potentially needs.
Is Vegan diet the best bet for children?
Raising a baby, with a vegan lifestyle, has been prescribed, as the best one by health advocates around the world. As per the norms as stipulated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a planned vegan diet can be a nutritionally adequate one. A well-balanced vegan diet can be propounded for all forms of lifecycle indeed. These include pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes too.
These are the basic pre-requisites, you must comply with, for raising vegan children. Here are bulleted pointers you need to make a note of:
- You must familiarize yourself with the key nutrient recommendations for each age group.
- You must plan a variety of foods and snack items using plant-based options.
- You must pay more attention to the growing needs of your children. This means you ensure that they are getting an adequate quantity of calories, vitamins, nutrients and fats. This must be a part of their balanced meals.
If you follow the above three pre-requirements, with respect to a vegan diet, then it is absolutely safe to raise vegan children.
Emotional benefits a child gets when it is exposed to a vegan lifestyle
Apart from health benefits, your child benefits emotionally too. Well, these are some of them.
- Vegan lifestyle teaches children how to be more compassionate towards animals. This has been re-iterated to you time and again.
- Going plant-based helps the child contribute to the sustainability of the planet.
- It can demonstrate a better degree of kindness towards fellow humans too.
- Your child sets a positive platform for ensuring a disease-free world. In other words, a vegan diet lowers incidence of type 2 diabetes, Cancers and heart related ailments.
- You teach your child on how to react passively to situations. Anger is reduced when one follows a plant-based diet. Your kid can be more forgiving and loving in nature.
The kid develops an inherent interest towards nurturing the environment it lives in.
What plant-based dietitians are saying?
Other plant-based dietitians and nutritionists, are also of a very positive opinion, when it comes to adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Some of the insider tips you receive on how to grow up vegan children:
- Offer the child with plenty of beans and lentils throughout the day. Fortified plant milk contains calcium and Vitamin B12. Dry nuts, whole grains, fruits and veggies must also be made a part of the everyday meal. You can offer fruits during snacking time. You can add veggies to lunch. Or mix and match.
- Quinoa are very good sources of iron and choline. You can add these to your veggie burgers too.
- This way, girls and boys grow up to be healthy. You can find them brimming with energy as much as (or more than) their non vegan counterparts.
Encourage your children to follow a vegan diet and see the transformation happen to them from within.