Today, many parents are choosing to raise their kids vegan but many wonder if their child’s diet is providing them with all the nutrients they need. Should your kid take vitamins? The answer is probably yes.
Today we’ll talk about vegan kids’ diets and whether they need to take vitamin supplements.
Vitamin needs for vegan kids
Children are famous for being picky eaters. And if they eat a vegan diet, they might have certain nutritional deficiencies that can cause health issues. If your kids love their greens and fruits and have no problem with the food you make them, well… lucky you.
A lot of parents struggle with their kids’ food choices, so adding supplements is crucial in order to fulfil their nutritional needs. Also, it is quite often that kids lack Vitamin B12 when eating a vegan diet, so make sure to check your kids’ levels from time to time.
Choosing a good vegan-approved vitamin is often a hard task, but we’re here to make your life easier.
Vegan kids’ vitamins - pay attention to these
Like any other supplement, kids’ vitamins can vary in their ingredients and amounts of each.
Some ingredients are crucial so make sure the vitamins you choose have them.
It is important for the vitamins to have Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and it’s good if the vitamins include Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA & EPA, Vitamin K2, and iodine.
If your child has an iron deficiency, make sure the vitamins include it. Also, try to aim for vitamins that have vitamin D3 as it’s better absorbed in the body.
Avoid these in vegan vitamins for kids
First and foremost, make sure the vitamins have a label “suitable for vegans” so you don’t waste your time going through the ingredients list.
Avoid the ones that have artificial sweeteners and dyes, fructose or corn syrup, and sugars in general. Of course, if a vitamin is labelled vegan-friendly, it shouldn’t contain gelatin, but anyway, take a look. Labels can be tricky sometimes. Aim for vitamins with Pectin instead.
Is a vegan diet safe for kids?
A vegan diet for kids requires parents to be fully informed so they can provide their kids with everything they need for optimal development. The most common deficiency in children’s vegan diet is vitamin D, calcium, Omega-3, iron, and vitamin B12.
It is safe for kids to be vegan, as long as they intake all the nutrients they need to develop.
They need high amounts of protein, so their diet should be rich in foods like soy products, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Also, the vegan diet is usually high in fibre, so your kids might get full before they intake enough calories. Try adding healthy oils in their food or blending some nuts to increase the caloric value of their meals.
Caloric needs for children
Caloric needs for kids, especially those under the age of 3, are much higher than for adults. They need more energy per pound of their body weight so it’s important to meet those needs.
Make sure to include a variety of good fats, like nuts, avocados, and seeds. Combine them with carbohydrates such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, and rice and you’ll have a delicious calorie bomb.
As we mentioned before in the article, kids need a lot of protein. Good thing is that a lot of vegetables have protein in them, but also a lot of kids are picky about vegetables.
Beans and lentils are great sources of protein and amino acids. The goal should be to provide your kid with 3 meals with a protein source a day.
Calcium is crucial for bone development, and if your child doesn’t consume dairy products, you need to make sure he or she doesn’t develop a calcium deficiency.
Soya yoghurt and fortified plant-based milk are the way to go. Kids adore coconut milk, and you have the fortified kind available, but make sure to check the label because not every plant-based milk is fortified.
Rice milk is also available in fortified versions, but it’s recommended only for children over the age of 5.
Some other sources of calcium are broccoli, beans, kale, almonds, and orange juice.
Iron is crucial in children’s diet, as it is essential for the formation of red blood cells. Some good sources are spinach, broccoli, lentils, peas, nuts, and whole grains.
It is good to combine foods that are rich in iron with those rich in vitamin C (or add vitamin C in their juice) because that way they will absorb more iron.
Kids can be vegan, and it’s a great way to live as you’re really helping the environment. But, every parent that has a vegan child should pay close attention to make sure the child is not malnourished.
One of the key signs that something may be lacking in their diet is their behaviour. Is your kid moody or tired a lot of the time? Are they acting sad or even depressed? If you notice a change in behaviour, it is a good time to go check your kid’s blood levels and see if the diet is causing the issues.
Another thing to keep an eye on is their hair and nails, as those are the first indicators of a potential nutritional deficiency.
If you determine your kid has a vitamin or any other deficiency, try to change their diet and include a good supplement that will help them meet their nutritional needs.
Buy vitamins from a trusted source and make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients or chemicals that might only make things worse.
Kids adore gummies, so gummy vitamins can be a fun treat and a great way to implement more vitamins in their diet. Just make sure that they are vegan-approved, natural and actually healthy for your kid.