14 answers

Plant Based Diet for Children

My husband and I are moving towards a more plant-based, whole foods diet. Heart disease runs rampant in both sides of our family so we would like to try to stop this pattern and hopefully give our children the tools to live a long, healthy life. The only thing that concerns me is that many people say that children cannot get all that they need from a vegan diet and I obviously do not want to put my children's health at risk but I really feel that this is the way we "should" be eating... I do not have a problem including fish but would like to omit the other animal-based foods. Does anyone's family eat this way or anyone have any advice?

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More Answers

People are idiots, and they all have opinions. Of course you can have a plant based diet that will be healthy for both adults and children. Millions of people in other countries do it! It's worth researching exactly what nutrients growing children need, and then carefully planning a week's worth of meals to see if you can do it, and if your children will eat the food. We rely heavily on plant based foods, but one of my daughters simply will not eat beans so her protein options are too limited without some animal protein. She loves hard boiled eggs and cheese, so we do have those.

Here are a couple of resources to start you out:

Raising Vegan Children in a Non-Vegan World: A Complete Guide for Parents (a book)

6 moms found this helpful

My girls have eaten similarly all their lives. We aren't totally veggie. They do eat a little dairy and occasionally eggs and we eat fish a couple of times a week. They get protein from beans, whole grains and vegetable sources.

Now that they're older they make their own choices but still don't eat meat. The oldest has had pepperoni pizza a couple of times in her life and will eat a bite of bacon on occasion but that's it in 13 years. At 9 the little one has never had any meat. She is very healthy and both my kids have very "adult" tastes in food. We eat very well at our house.

I don't think meeting with a nutritionist is necessary at all. Do a little research about high protein plant based foods and you'll do fine. Reading some of these responses I realize many people have no real experience with this sort of thing. Changing your diet isn't something you do overnight. You start moving in the nutritional direction you want and adjust as you go. You'll learn what works and what doesn't for your family and trust me unless you're talking about a very strict, total vegan diet with no fish, dairy or eggs then it will be very easy & healthy for your family.

Below is link to an article written by a little girl who is vegetarian discussing the enviromental impact of a meat based diet. If we all thought more about what we're eating, where it came from and it's impact on the earth we would ALL lead better lives.


4 moms found this helpful

you just have to be very vigilant about making sure they're getting sufficient protein and minerals from a wide variety of plant sources. i know several raw and vegan families in our homeschool co-op and their kids are flourishing. it's a lot of work and i'm impressed by the creativity of the moms, but they're doing it. you can too.

4 moms found this helpful

Do you have netflix streaming? Watch "Forks Over Knives". I think your children will be just fine with the occasional fish plus all the other plant-based foods. Plenty of people raise thier children vegan and they grow just fine. I think their diet includes a lot of legumes. They get their protein and calcium from veggies and nuts and such that contain the nutrients they need. Watch the film. It was educational for me. But I am not Nixing the meat from my diet anytime soon. I am an omnivore for sure.

@Mishy - Ha. I admit. I DO say "Finish eating your meat!" to my son all the time. He won't eat beans. He loves his veggies. He'll ask for fruit for dessert. And he likes meat, but sometimes I have to remind him to eat it so he can get his protein!

2 moms found this helpful

Good for you for adjusting your diet so that you and your kids can live healthier, longer lives.

You can emphasize a plant-based whole foods diet without completely eliminating all animal based foods. That's how we eat at my house.

A good place to start is to try ethnic dishes. Asian cooking traditionally uses small amounts of meat for flavoring as well as tofu and fish for protein. You will avoid animal fats like butter and cheese. East Indian dishes use alot of legumes and yummy spices. For summer, a Mediterranean diet with lots of vegies and salads and a little fish will let you make use of all the fresh produce in the farmers markets.

I have heart disease in my family, too. My doctor wanted to put me on lipitor but I was able to drastically lower my LDL by eating this way. You really can change your health with your diet. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Wait until they are at least 12 yrs old.

1 mom found this helpful

Bravo for you. The other thing you'll want to omit is sugar. Many vegetarians are not healthy because they live on peanut butter and twinkies. Sugar increases heart disease, cancer and obesity.

Unless you are doing raw dairy, you really don't need it. Once dairy is pasteurized, it burns everything out of it....which is why it has to be fortified with so many nutrients. Not to mention that California allows something like 1 million PUS cells per OUNCE of milk. Nice, huh?

Kale and broccoli alone will decrease the estrogenic impact of everything around us and will decrease the risk of cancer. Steaming for 4 minutes and adding some coconut oil and sea salt is great.

If you at organic you'll be getting WAY more nutrients and not so many chemicals.

Also, we take Standard Process supplements, as they are food based, not barcoded laboratory based. We can't possibly get ALL of our nutrients with the stressful, polluted lives we lead living where we do, but these organically farmed supplements will help. These just help with the nutrients we aren't getting, but we still eat better than 99% of the people out there.

Short funny. My daughter is 4 and we were at a friend's house. She saw some powdered donuts and asked me if she "could have one of those small circle things." She didn't even know what it was!

1 mom found this helpful

The only "people" you should be listening to are health professionals. I would meet with a nutritionist, just to make sure you understand what you (and especially your kids) need to stay healthy. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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