Vegetarian foods, which are rich in healthy plant proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, are the best foods for children. They form the foundation of dietary habits that support a lifetime of good health. According to the American Dietetic Association, “Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.”
Doctors and researchers have found that children who follow meat-free diets grow up to be healthy and strong. A study of 4,746 Minnesota adolescents published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that vegetarian kids were more likely than nonvegetarians to meet government standards for several of the most important dietary recommendations.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Children who are raised on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes will have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and many obesity-related illnesses compared to their counterparts raised on the average American diet.”
Dr. Charles Attwood, author of Dr. Attwood’s Low-Fat Prescription for Kids: One Diet for the Whole Family, writes that vegetarian children often grow taller than their meat-eating friends, noting, “Children on low-fat diets of mostly vegetables, fruits, grain, and legumes, when consuming adequate calories, not only grow normally, but have actually been shown to attain greater height than meat-eating children.”
A healthy vegan diet is easy to plan and maintain—products that are fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 are now available in most grocery stores. Mock meats are especially delicious and are also readily available in most areas. All you need in order to follow a vegan diet are some great vegan recipes.
It’s very important to make sure that your child has a reliable source of vitamin B12 in his or her diet. For more tips on how to maximize the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, check out our Optimal Vegan Nutrition page.
Imagine a brighter future for the next generation—children who are happier, healthier, and less susceptible to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and food allergies. A vegan diet is the best protection against disease that we can offer our children. And don’t they deserve the best