When it comes to children, there are often many debates over raising them and which way is the best. Parents who choose to raise their children vegan are frequently faced with judgements and it is almost a taboo to even talk about it.
But, fortunately, we live in the 21st century and we have many studies we can take a look at, as well as examples from other people's experiences from which we can learn.
Is a vegan diet good for children?
The first thing anyone that tries to criticise a vegan parent will say is that a child eating a vegan diet is surely malnourished and has a nutritional deficiency of some kind. But is it the case?
The answer is: no, the children eating a vegan diet are not necessarily malnourished or experience any bad effects due to the lack of animal products in their meals. That is if their overall diet is well-balanced and their food intake is tracked.
The American Dietetic Association also agree that a well-planned vegetarian and vegan diet is healthy for infants and toddlers.
Are you forcing your beliefs upon your child?
Another quite common comment is that you are forcing your beliefs on your children as they can't choose on their own yet.
But the truth is if you would let your kids choose their meals they'd probably choose cookies and ice cream all day long. So, choosing a well-rounded diet for them that will provide all their nutritional needs is not forcing your beliefs.
Also, you can tell those people that eating meat and feeding their children with it is also forcing their beliefs, right?
With a vegan diet, we are teaching our children to be compassionate towards all beings, which is a bit hard to do when eating meat. Imagine eating chicken for lunch and then trying to explain to your child why it's not okay to shoot birds with a slingshot in the backyard. They might get confused.
Children have different nutritional needs
Experts say parents must recognize that children have different needs than adults and the diet needs to fulfil their daily needs. It can be quite a task, as children are famous for being picky eaters, but it's not impossible.
For example, toddlers need more micronutrients per kilogram of body weight, than adults. Their diet needs to be nutrient-dense and with their small stomach capacity, the meals need to be packed with all they need.
When children are picky eaters, they might experience vitamin or some other nutrient deficiency, but that can happen to every child, not only those raised on a vegan diet.
If that is the case, you should check with your paediatrician and, if your child has a deficiency of some sort, buy them a high-quality vitamin supplement that will help bring their levels to the optimal state.
Raising a vegan child is not an easy task
Not only will you encounter criticism, judgement and possibly your child being a picky eater, but you will also find that there are a few more things that will make raising a vegan child harder than you imagined. But all of that shouldn't scare you into thinking it's impossible.
You might get into a situation when the food sources at your child's school are limited, and maybe your doctor will not agree with your choices, but you can always find another doctor or pack your kid's meals for school.
Raising your child vegan will be tough, but all you need to do is to be well informed and plan. And, of course, set a good example for them so they can truly understand the principles of veganism.
If you are wondering if vegan kids need to take vitamins, read this blog to learn more about it.
When raising a vegan child, you are raising a highly compassionate human being with a respect for every life. You will encounter some unwanted comments, but don't listen to them.
Your vegan children will have a unique perspective on life and live beings in general, and no one can tell you differently. It is all about doing as little harm as possible to our planet and protecting its future.
Eating more fruits and vegetables can help extend your life, and it's learning for children to adopt a rainbow diet and love their veggies which is quite rare with the youngest ones. That is a great, healthy start in life, and if you feed them versatile meals, they'll learn about all the different tastes and textures.
The popularity of the vegan diet has skyrocketed, so there are much more options when it comes to food choices in grocery stores and restaurants, which makes it much easier than, let's say ten years ago.
The bottom line is, if you're raising your child vegan, you are awesome and you are doing an amazing thing for your child and your environment.