Is a vegan diet healthy for children?

Foods high in protein

Edwina Raj, Clinical Dietitian at Aster CMI Hospitals in Bengaluru, points out that traditional Indian foods offer many options for vegans. “We’ve seen that some vegans tend to over-rely on refined flours and carbs,” she says. “Instead, they will need to focus on complex carbohydrates. We suggest the many varieties of unpolished rice – red, brown, black. As a vegan parent, you will need to keep in mind that dietary protein requirements are 1 g per kg of body weight and plan your meals accordingly.” She recommends millet, lentils, dried green peas, and beans as high-quality protein sources.

Karla Moreno-Bryce (MDA, RD, LD), a vegan pediatric nutrition coach based in Minneapolis, USA, says that whatever cuisine the family chooses, planning healthy vegan meals can be relatively easy.

“Preparing meals for vegan kids just requires a little attention to ensure key nutrients (iron, zinc, iodine, omega-3s, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12) are available throughout the day thanks to a variety of plant foods and dietary supplements,” she says. “It is especially important that all vegan children receive a reliable vitamin B12 supplement, preferably when they begin to eat solid foods. It is a nutrient that is naturally lacking in plant foods and supplement, in addition to fortified foods, is the most reliable source to meet this important nutrient.”

With the right mix of ingredients, she says, parents can offer healthy vegan versions of many different cuisines: while they are important and provide a range of nutrients, they lack the calories to support a child’s growth and development. I encourage vegan parents to focus on providing foods high in iron (like beans, lentils, and tofu) and fat (like avocado and nut butters) as these are two important nutrients. during menstruation. growing rapidly,” says Moreno-Bryce.

To meet the nutritional needs of his growing vegan child in India, Ashish Kumar Jain turned to locally grown leafy greens, such as local spinach, methi (fenugreek leaves), cumin seeds, coriander and curry leaves, along with nutrient-rich sesame seeds, tofu and finger millet. It replaces milk with almond and coconut extracts, makes “cheese” from cashews and potatoes, and yogurt from peanut milk.

“We never felt deprived of dairy products,” he says. “And there are many reasons to prioritize veganism that go beyond food and health – compassion for animals, climate and sustainability. Veganism is a social justice movement, as much as ‘a healthy choice.’

* Disclaimer: All content in this article is provided for general information only and should not be considered a substitute for medical and dietary advice from healthcare professionals. The BBC is not responsible for any diagnosis or action taken by a user based on the content of this site. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external websites listed, and does not endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. The BBC encourages anyone interested in making dietary changes to consult their healthcare provider first. Always consult your GP if you are concerned in any way about your health or that of your child.

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