Vegan children do not eat any foods that contain animal products. Instead, vegan kids eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and legumes. Parents may choose to introduce their child to a vegan lifestyle as an infant. One of the best tips for raising vegan children involves making sure that their nutritional needs are met on a daily basis. It can also be beneficial for parents to incorporate other foods besides sprouts and tofu in their diet.
Breast milk from vegan women is free of the toxins that are found in the breast milk of women who eat meat. Vegan moms should feed their babies breast milk to ensure a better chance for short and long term health. The first foods a vegan infant eats are iron fortified rice cereals, mashed fruits, and soft vegetables. After one year of age, vegan children can select samples of food to decide what they like.
Infants require plenty of energy. Homemade cereals must be made to be as thick as porridge, and parents may add vegetable oil to cooked grains to increase the calorie content of the cereal. Safflower and corn oils encourage the production of fatty acids, which aids in the healthy development of the brain and eyesight. Experts recommend not allowing vegan infants to become full with liquids before meal times.
Some of the nutrients required for vegan children are found mainly in animal products. Parents must ensure the nutrients are included in their diets by supplementation or by carefully selecting food. Vegan children have fewer red blood cells than omnivorous kids. Low iron levels result in anemia, which can cause fatigue, infection, and psychomotor problems. Drinking vitamin C during meal times and eating beans several times throughout the day can increase red blood cell levels.
Parents may add several different, new items to their vegan child's diet as they get older. Meals including rice and beans or soy cheese sandwiches offer variety. Families may become concerned about their child becoming ostracized at school and parties due to their vegan lifestyle. Parents can find out what is being served in advance and send their kids off with the vegan equivalent of those food items.
Well fed vegan children may actually be healthier because they avoid ingesting the chemicals and hormones that are fed to food animals. Toxic chemicals can build up from birth in fat tissue, and implementing a healthy childhood diet can provide lifelong protection against health issues.