Vegan Diet: What Parents Should Know
By Stephen R. Farris
Children these days don't always get the proper nutrition and nutrients needed for their bodies to grow. Our busy schedules make it nearly impossible to prepare meals at home for our kids, so usually we resort to eating out or ordering pizza for the most part.
Parents should find a little time to study up on the nutrition needs of our kids so they can grow up healthy and strong. Many families are switching to a vegan diet more than they have in the past. Mostly because a vegan diet is plant-based and lower in saturated fat.. There are probably a lot of questions parents have concerning their child's nutrition and changing over to a vegan diet, and one of the best sources for answers is to talk with your doctor or chiropractor.
What we do know is that there are certain nutrients your child needs in their diet each and every day.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
Calcium is needed for strong bones (very important during a child's growing years) and can be found in dairy products, such as milk and cheese. In a vegan diet, calcium is found in plant-based foods such as kale, broccoli and bok choy. It's also available in non-dairy milk like soy and almond.
Found in red meat and other animal-based foods, iron is needed to help keep the blood healthy and your body in good overall health. If your family is on a vegan diet, you might find a vitamin supplement that contains iron to give them.
Vitamin B12 is essential for nerve function, DNA, cell metabolism and red blood cell formation. For vegans, it's limited to fortified cereals and soy beverages. So in order to keep your child from becoming deficient, it's suggested that you give them a supplement to get the required amount of B12 in your diet.
Everyone needs sunlight including children. A lot of children spend most of their time indoors, and are not getting the recommended amount of Vitamin D in their diet. Unless they are consuming fortified dairy products. Vitamin D is needed for skin health, so if your family is on a vegan diet and stay mostly indoors, then a supplement would be a good choice.
The good news is that plants have plenty of fiber. The drawback. You child's probably getting more fiber than needed on a vegan diet. Fiber helps our digestive health and gives us more of a fuller feeling at meals. Unfortunately, getting full on fiber may not allow your child to get all the calories and additional nutrients they need in a day.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Burlington, Mass.