We believe that one day raising kids with a plant-powered lifestyle will be fully mainstream, given the resource efficiency, the health benefits, and the fact that we are constantly expanding our circle of compassion to include more beings, including farmed animals. But until then, vegan parents are pioneering their own way. Luckily, every year there are more and more resources to help us on our journey. Here are some of them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says on their website that “Eating a plant-based diet can be a beneficial choice for your family” and a vegan diet can be “healthy and complete if sources of B12, calcium, zinc, vitamin D and iron are maximized.” In our book, we highlight all these nutrients and how to source them easily from plants.
Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, who wrote our nutrition chapter, is the country’s foremost expert on plant-based nutrition for kids. Not only has she lectured as a nutrition professor at the University of Massachusetts and authored The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book, but she worked with the largest organization of nutrition professionals in the U.S., the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, reviewing all the science on vegetarian diets and co-writing two of the position papers on these diets for the Academy. The latest one states:
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Low intake of saturated fat and high intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (all rich in fiber and phytochemicals) are characteristics of vegetarian and vegan diets that produce lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and better serum glucose control. These factors contribute to reduction of chronic disease. Vegans need reliable sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified foods or supplements.”
J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116:1970-1980
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has two helpful articles on their website about veg kids:
Dr. Mangels also is a nutrition advisor for the Vegetarian Resource Group and has written these Tips for Parents of Young Vegans.
Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane
Liora Raphael and Glenn Saks
Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting group on Facebook
What Vegan Children Eat group on Facebook
How Vegan Children Thrive group on Facebook
Plant-Based Pediatrician website
Veggie Fit Kids website and Veggie Doctor Radio by Dr. Yami
Wellness Pediatrician website
Nutritious Vida website
Plant Based Juniors website
Leafy Vibe website
Generation Veggie website
Mothers Against Dairy website
Shine with Plants YouTube channel
The Everyday Vegan Mum podcast
Wicked Healthy Kids cooking classes
Podcast: Vegan Fam in Cow Town
Website: Vocal Vegan
Farm Animal Sanctuaries to Visit in the U.S. – a great vegan family activity!