Since people are still skeptical of veganism and the positive effects that come with it, raising your children in a vegan household can still come attached with a negative connotation. Children aren’t old enough to make decisions on their own, so while one person may think you're helping your child by suggesting a vegan diet, another would disagree.
Some mommys decide to start their vegan lifestyle during their pregnancies. There have been several different accounts that prove the validity of a vegan diet if you're with child, starting with a lessening morning sickness, less unnecessary weight gain, and less pregnancy cravings.
It is possible for your children to grow up in a vegan-healthy home, but with every child there must be a different approach taken in the way they eat. No one wants to teach their child something that doesn't agree with them or their bodies, so you want to be extremely selective and careful with how you introduce your kids into the lifestyle. You also want to be a little bit looser with the rules, since they are children, and children require a certain amount of nourishment compared to adults.
Once you and your partner have made the decision to raise vegan children, it’s time to get creative with the approaches you take with your kids. To some parents, veganism is introduced from day one, while for others, it takes some time to ease their kids into it. I know that I wouldn't want my parents to lie to me about why meat was off the table, while everyone else around me was comfortable eating it, so it’s imperative that you are open and honest with your kids. Whether your vegan lifestyle comes from your love of animals or a love for health and fitness, talk to your children about their journey and how they feel about it. With every child, your approach should be different, depending on your child and their personality. If they are still too young, discuss the decision with your partner.
Kids need more vitamins and nutrients to grow up healthy and thriving. Meals should be a balance of nutritious and fun. Think art, smiley faces, dips, whatever you can think up to keep your kids satisfied, happy, and full. Just because food is healthy doesn't mean it can't be delicious. Nutrition should include a similar outlook in adults, with a focus on B-12, vitamin D, and calcium in particular. These are normally found in animal products, so you should place a heavier emphasis on getting them from plants.
There are plenty of online communities for vegan parents, since it is a smaller community compared to meat eaters. These groups host family meetups, swap recipes, and are there to answer any vegan related questions you may have. All Meal Mentor members have access to our very active online community forums which regularly has over 5000 user visits a month.
The benefits to raising vegan children are amazing. Studies show that kids who are put on a strict plant-based diet have less saturated fats and a decreased chance of, heart disease.
Don't be doubtful! Just because you're taking a different approach than others doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. A few key pointers to remember:
Don't be afraid to take multivitamins. If your meals aren't giving you the full benefits your kids should be getting, multivitamins are a great way to compensate.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Do your research on the different types of food you're feeding your children.
Don't be afraid to explore different types of vegan food. With so many recipes found online, there should never be a dull moment when it comes to meals.
Do reach out to the vegan parenting communities available for you. Discussing tips and strategies with other parents is a wonderful way to keep yourself on track and up to date with new nutrition discoveries.
Do get creative with your recipes. Don't be scared to try out something you've never eaten before.
Do keep food on you around your child. Birthday parties, events, trips, you never know when hunger will strike, and you always want to be prepared in-case
When it comes to your kids, always remember that they can become accustomed to anything. Children are malleable, but it’s up to their parents to introduce their way of life in a way that’s fun and easy to hold onto. Acceptance of veganism starts with you and your family!