Are Plant-Based Diets Healthy For Your Kids? Find Out Here

Are Plant-Based Diets Healthy For Your Kids? Find Out Here

August 28, 2021 Off By Laura TMOT

In this blog post, we will explore plant-based diets and how they may affect kids. We will also discuss plant-based diet pitfalls to avoid when raising your children. As the plant-based movement continues to grow in popularity, more people are asking themselves if these diets are healthy for kids and why plant-based diets have become so popular among adults.

What are the benefits of a plant-based diet for children

Plant-based diets are often low in protein and dense in carbohydrates. This means that plant-based diets are generally lacking the nutrients needed for muscle development, growth, and repair of cells. Plant-based foods can also be more difficult to chew which may impact kids’ teeth or jaw development over time.

Some plant-based diets include lots of plant-based meat substitutes like “bacon bits” or plant burgers. These foods are often high in sodium and fat which can lead to health problems over time.

Plant-based food is low in protein density meaning it lacks nutrients needed for growth and repair – this could impact muscle development, healthy teeth, and jaw structures, and overall growth.

If you want your child to be healthier now or later on in life, plant-based is the way to go.

How you can ensure your child is getting enough protein, iron, and zinc

Eating plant-based does not have to be a high-carb, low protein diet. There are plenty of plant foods that provide the nutrients your child needs for healthy growth and development including beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. The amount of iron in plant sources is actually higher than what you will find in animal products like red meat which means eating plant-based can help kids get enough iron without getting too much cholesterol or sodium from an animal product. 

Zinc content also tends to be greater in plant sources as well. Nutritionists recommend a variety of plant proteins such as legumes (beans), soybean powder (tempeh), seitan, tempeh bacon bits, tofu burgers made with non-GMO soybeans, nuts, and seeds.

Remember that the plant meat substitutes you buy may be high in sodium or fat so try looking for plant alternatives like beans and legumes to get your child’s nutrients without any of the risks associated with animal products.

Why should kids be eating plants instead of animals

Plant-based diets can be healthy and plant-based foods are often cheaper than animal products. If you want to know the true cost of a plant based diet, it’s not just about money, but also the toll plant-based eating takes on your health and quality of life. Plant-based food also tends to have a lower carbon footprint meaning it has less of an environmental impact on the earth as well.

When you go plant-based, your kids will not be consuming saturated fat or cholesterol found in meat which means there is far less risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, various forms of cancer (including breast cancer), type II diabetes mellitus, stroke, obesity and other health problems that come from eating too much animal product. A plant-based diet can make all the difference in ensuring your child’s overall long-term health by providing them with everything they need without any of the risks associated with eating animals.

The main difference between plant-based diets and plant-focused diets is the level of plant foods involved. With a plant diet, there are no animal products whatsoever, while with plant-focused diets you could still eat whole grains or dairy for example.

One might assume that because plants provide all the nutrients needed to sustain life, it doesn’t matter if meat isn’t on hand as long as your child can get enough fruits and vegetables. In truth though, this couldn’t be more false: in order to meet their unique nutritional needs, children require higher intakes of certain key vitamins (including B12) than adults do. 

Plant-based diet – once where those food groups aren’t present at all – won’t cut it here. There’s also research indicating plant-based diets are linked with lower levels of certain minerals and vitamins than plant-focused diets.

For example, vegan kids may not get enough iron from plant foods alone while children on plant-focused diets have a better chance of getting the recommended daily intake through their diet as more food groups are included. A plant-focused diet also provides protein in its original form (animal) which is essential for growth. For that reason, it’s best to speak to your paediatrician about what kind of dietary approach would be best for your child if they’re under 18 years old.

Is it possible to get enough calcium on a plant-based diet 

A plant-based diet doesn’t provide enough calcium for children. Plant foods, such as vegetables and fruits, contain less of the essential nutrients needed to grow a healthy body than meat does – so even if you’re eating nutrient-dense plant-based food (which is hard!), kids will need more energy from other sources in order to be at their best.

Calcium is necessary for the development of bones and teeth. You can find it in plant sources, though not in the same quantities as you would get from animal sources.

Most kids need higher intakes of certain vitamins when following plant-focused diets, which plant-based diets won’t meet.

Can I feed my baby a vegan diet if they’re breastfeeding or formula feeding

This is a really difficult question. Mothers who breastfeed their kids and want to follow plant-based diets should consult with their paediatrician about how to best provide sufficient nutrients for their babies while following plant-based diet restrictions.

If the mother wants to feed her baby formula, then it’s important that she talk to her doctor or lactation consultant so they can help assess whether plant-based milk substitutes are appropriate in this situation.

For formula-feeding mothers, breastfeeding needs aren’t met when on plant-focused diets alone because most plants (with some exceptions) lack key vitamins like B12 which come from animal products such as beef liver or meat; without these dietary additions, plant foods won’t meet your child’s nutritional requirements. For example, plant-based diets are linked with lower levels of certain minerals and vitamins than plant-focused diets.

For this reason, it’s best to speak to your paediatrician before making a decision.

A plant-based diet is a healthy way of eating for children, but they still need to be getting enough protein, iron, and zinc. It may also be important to check in with your child’s paediatrician or family doctor about how much calcium their body needs on this type of diet. Doing so can help you stay informed about the best practices for feeding your baby vegan foods as well!