The Amazing Benefits of a Plant Based Diet For Kids

As parents we know that nutrition is the cornerstone of our children’s health. Whatever fad diets and crazes we may experiment with as adults, we all do our best to ensure that our kids get a healthy balanced diet. 
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But over time, our perception of just what that is has shifted one way and another. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, when food has been relatively abundant, we’ve been encouraged to believe that first protein, then fats, then carbohydrates were the route of all dietary ills. Today, we’re conditioned to believe that protein is the most important of all nutrients, and that inevitably means ensuring that our kids eat their meat and drink their milk. 

But in an era where we’re more concerned with sustainability, animal advocacy and ethical consumerism than ever, more and more of us are turning to a wholefoods, plant based diet for the good of our bodies and the planet. Still, conscientious parents may wonder whether a vegan diet is beneficial for their kids, giving them the full complement of nutrients that they need to grow up healthy and strong. 

Here we’ll look at some of the reasons why kids can not only survive but thrive on a plant based diet…

Vegan diets get kids eating more wholefoods and less processed junk

For generations we’ve considered eggs (high in cholesterol), bacon (a type 1 carcinogen) and white toast (hidden sugars and empty calories) to be a healthy diet for our kids. But when you check out these vegan breakfast ideas, a clear pattern emerges. These recipes get kids eating more wholefoods, fruits, veggies, wholegrains and pulses and less processed foods with hidden sugars, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Processed foods (as well as an increasingly sedentary lifestyle) are one of the biggest contributors to childhood obesity. Going plant based encourages us to make more stuff from scratch and enjoy more wholefoods. 

Vegan diets can counter the shocking heart disease statistics in children

All parents understand that heart health is important for children. But in an age where 9 out of 10 children have a dangerously high sodium intake and 1 in 3 American kids are overweight or obese the protein-heavy “western” diet clearly isn’t the answer. Studies have shown that around 70% of overweight kids have serious heart disease risk factors but vegan diets can lower blood pressure , reduce cholesterol levels, aid weight loss, and lower sensitivity to two biomarkers for heart disease.

Vegan diets (with just a little supplementation) are nutritionally complete

Both the American Dietetic Association and The Academy of Pediatrics agree that “Well-planned vegetarian and vegan eating patterns are healthy for infants and toddlers.” as well as being “appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including infancy, childhood, and adolescence.” 

The only key nutrient that’s not abundant in a vegan diet is vitamin B12 which is found in mushrooms as well as fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. However, it’s worth noting that a great many omnivores aren’t getting enough vitamin B12 either.


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