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Are plant-based diets good for kids?

As plant-based diets become increasingly more popular, parents may ask if a plant-based diet is healthy for children.

You undoubtedly already know that plant-based diets significantly reduce environmental pressures, but is a plant-based diet beneficial for children?

Despite the research supporting plant-based diets, many continue to argue that excluding animal products from a child’s diet is neither safe nor suitable.

One of the most prominent objections against plant-based diets for children is that they do not supply sufficient fat, protein, or micronutrients such as calcium and iron, which are all essential for growth and development.

The good news is that vegetarian and vegan diets can be nutritious, and suitable for all life cycle stages, including infancy and childhood, if they are well-planned.

Guidelines for introducing your children to a plant-based diet

Making the journey to a plant-based diet is a family affair, so make it fun! Involve your children in activities such as meal planning, selecting new meals to try, and even dish preparation. These five suggestions may help make it more enjoyable while emphasising nutrition and simplicity.

  1. When modifying your family’s diet, keep your child’s individual requirements and potential barriers in mind. The most critical aspect is identifying your household’s goals and implementing changes that make the most sense.
  2. Examine your child’s existing diet and determine what modifications will be made. Meal planning for the upcoming week is an excellent practice for avoiding last-minute stress. This is also a chance to learn how to substitute ingredients.
  3. Vegetarian or vegan diets should not be expensive or time-consuming. Numerous healthful meals can be prepared with inexpensive materials such as tofu, canned beans and lentils, dry cereals, frozen vegetables, and seasonal produce.
  4. As your child’s taste receptors develop, herbs and spices can make all the difference.
  5. Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B12 and D, must be supplemented on a plant-based diet. Consult a dietician who is educated in vegan nutrition for personalised recommendations before embarking on a plant-based diet for your child.

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