Vegan Diets And Children

Vegan Diets And Children

It is not surprising for parents who have at first hand experienced the benefits of a vegan lifestyle to think about introducing their children to a vegan diet. Besides having obvious benefits like the time saved in preparing a single type of meal for the whole family, there are also dietary and ethical reasons that can lead vegetarian parents to conclude that a vegetarian life is in their child’s best interest.

Then there might be cases where parents might not be vegetarians themselves but they have children who are either experimenting with vegetarianism or have already completely accepted it. For such parents, the concern is that by rejecting meat foods their children might not be consuming certain essential nutrients that are just not present in an all-vegetarian diet.

In either case, there is always the thought of whether or not the vegetarian outlook is good for a child. There have been reports of cases where putting children on a purely vegetarian diet has resulted in a permanent negative effect on their overall growth. Reports like these can give parents a pause before imposing a vegetarian routine on their children, or, force parents to try and break a child’s vegetarian obsession.

These concerns are justifiable because the fact is that vegetarian diets can lack essential nutrients required by the body on a daily basis. A consistent lack of these nutrients because of an ill-planned vegetarian diet can result in health problems, especially in the end. Children are especially susceptible to this sort of problem because they are in a growth phase where vitamins, proteins, and mineral salts are required more urgently.

What is needed is for the parent to do thorough research on the nutritional value of the vegetarian diet that they have planned. Once you know what nutrients are lacking from the planned vegetarian diet for your child, you are in a better position to take steps to rectify that deficiency.

While a lack of nutrients can result in certain problems because of a badly planned vegetarian diet, the advantage of a well-planned vegetarian diet is that it protects a child from being exposed to the various hormones that are present in animal products and are associated with developmental issues and certain kinds of cancer.

Some common nutrients that are often lacking in vegetarian diets are as follows:

Proteins – To ensure that there is no protein deficiency you need to be careful to include wheat, soybeans, isolated soy protein, and nuts into the daily vegetarian diet plan.

Calcium – This chemical is essential for bone development and strength. Make sure either your child is getting enough calcium by including calcium-fortified foods or other vegan sources like leafy green vegetables.

Iron – Iron is essential for the body’s function in many different ways. To keep minimum safe levels of iron consumption make sure to include soybeans, pinto beans, tofu, and cereals.

Zinc – This essential nutritional element can be very harmful when deficient. Vegan foods rich in zinc are almonds, peanuts, butter, and mushrooms.

As stated earlier, while a vegetarian can lack certain nutrients, you simply need to pay a little more attention to your diet preparation and most of those deficiencies can be overcome through better use of vegan choices.

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