So your kid wants to go vegan—that’s no surprise since more children and teens than ever before are going vegan. Millions of Americans have now made this healthy, humane, environmentally friendly decision. In 2004, that number was only 290,000! Young people have a natural affinity and respect for animals and are well aware of the climate catastrophe we all face—and they want to do something about it.
Going vegan saves the lives of nearly 200 animals each year. Animals used for food are often crammed into filthy warehouses, crates, and sheds; mutilated without the use of pain relief; and forced onto trucks bound for the slaughterhouse.
Vegans help save the planet, too! Animal agriculture wastes massive amounts of land, energy, and water and pollutes waterways and the air. It’s a leading source of emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, which are the top three planet-warming greenhouse gases.
But what do you do when your kid wants to go vegan and you, their guardian, aren’t vegan or are newly vegan? PETA Kids is here to help!
Let your child know that you’re in their corner and that they can count on you every step of the way. If they approached you about going vegan, they’re likely feeling passionate about their reasons, so telling them that you support their decision will mean a lot. And to make sure you’re equipped to support them the best you can, make sure you have support and inspiration as well. On Instagram and TikTok, find vegan parents to follow, since they’ll share great tips and tricks—and be sure to check out our parenting resources, including recommended websites, social media accounts, and cookbooks. Here are some to get you started:
Not to worry—vegan kids (and grown-ups) can live healthy lives and can get all the vitamins and minerals they need, without the cholesterol, saturated animal fat, and contaminants found in meat, eggs, and dairy. Here are a few examples. Check out “Where Do Vegan Kids Get Their …” for more.
Broccoli, kale, and other dark-green leafy veggies are excellent sources of calcium. So are almonds, tofu, and fortified plant-based milks and orange juice. Vegan milks and orange juice also deliver vitamin D, but so does the sun. ☀️
Growing bodies need iron. You can find it in black beans, cashews, raisins, many cereals, and some veggie burgers. There’s no shortage of protein sources, either: Nuts, seeds, whole grains, peanut butter, and vegan meats are good sources. Plant-based protein sources typically contain healthy fiber and complex carbs to boot.
What are your kid’s favorite foods? Veganize them! For mac and cheese fans, try one of the many boxed vegan options or make it yourself. Are pizza nights a staple in your family? Pick up a bag of shredded vegan mozzarella, or check out one of the many chains that offer vegan pizza.
To start your kid’s day right, remember that many cereals are already vegan and make for a quick breakfast with oat, soy, or almond milk. Try these delicious vegan pancakes for a weekend breakfast—they’re in regular rotation at one PETA parent’s house! Looking for more inspiration? Check out some of our healthy vegan breakfast ideas.
Make an effort to take your vegan kid shopping with you so that they can help pick out the yummiest-looking products. There’s no shortage of vegan choices at the grocery store! Chips as well as vegan deli meats, cheeses, and milks plus—wait for it—freezer cases full of out-of-this-world vegan ice cream can be found at national grocery chains. It’s important to involve your kid in this process, and it’s great quality time to spend together, too, as you two discover all the many vegan products on the market these days.
While you’re there, stock up on some staples, such as fruit, fresh veggies, nut butters, and beans.
Let your kid’s grandparents, aunts, and uncles as well as all your family friends know what your kid is doing to save animals and protect the planet. You could even suggest ways for them to show their support, like making sure there are plenty of vegan options at parties and other get-togethers.
But don’t stop there. Make sure you’re also advocating for your child at their school. You can do this by speaking with their teacher about this new lifestyle so that they’ll let you know when it’s another student’s birthday and you’ll be able to ensure that there’s a vegan version of whatever treat the class is having—then your child won’t feel left out.
Now that you’re successfully helping your kid go vegan, consider making the switch yourself (if you haven’t already)! Not only would this be a great way to bond with your little one, you’d also be doing yourself a world of good. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity than meat-eaters are. And think of all the animals you’d be saving.
If your kid wants to go vegan and you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]! We’d be happy to help.