Vegan Diet For Children
Child Nutrition Workshops
I often get asked if a vegan diet for children is suitable and with the rise in veganism and those just wanting to reduce their consumption of animal products I thought it would be a good time to write a blog about this topic. In short, it is possible to raise a child on a vegan or predominantly plant-based diet but it does require very careful thought and planning to ensure all nutrient needs are being met. Unlike adults, infants and children are doing lots of growing and developing so if a child is not getting enough of an essential nutrient from their diet then this may affect not only their current health but their future health and prospects. In addition, young children have relatively small stomachs meaning the food they eat needs to be nutrient-dense and varied.
Calcium is important for bone health and as most bone mass is built up during childhood it is essential that calcium needs are met during this time. Dairy products, such as cow’s milk, yoghurt and cheese provide a good source of calcium. Children over the age of one on a vegan diet can be given dairy-alternative drinks as their main drink but it is important that these dairy-alternatives are calcium-fortified.
Cow’s milk is also a good source of iodine, a nutrient which is important for brain development. Iodine is not found in meaningful amounts in many foods. It can be found in some seaweeds but often the level is too high or variable to be suitable as an iodine supplement, especially in children. There are a limited number of dairy-alternative toddler milk which are fortified with iodine so it is worth checking the label. Iodine supplements are available but it is important to speak to a health professional to make sure the supplement is suitable and at the right dosage for your child.
Continue reading more in my blog….
Healthy Eating Advice for Adults & Children
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