While avoiding animal products certainly has its health benefits, there is some risk involved if the diet is not managed and maintained correctly. To ensure your children’s health and wellness as a vegan family, consider the following vegan nutrition tips for a healthy, balanced vegan lifestyle.
1. Nuts and Beans: Protein is one of the most difficult topics for vegans to deal with, since it is almost exclusively provided by animal-based products; thus, your protein options are quite few outside of non-vegan food choices.
Nuts and beans are then pretty much the main method of obtaining protein as a vegan, in addition to soy-based products and tofu. One of the most important vegan nutrition tips is to make sure that you have a generous amount of high-protein foods worked into your daily meal plan.
2. Plant-based fats: Avocado, almonds, chia seeds, peanuts and walnuts all have a high-concentration of fat that’s good for us in reasonable doses.
Furthermore, kids actually need a certain amount of healthy fat to grow, especially when they’re younger. As a vegan family, these foods will be your primary source of fat on a regular basis.
3. Pick a good multivitamin: There are plenty of resources for picking a good multivitamin that doesn’t use animal products. In general, multivitamins are usually recommended regardless of what kind of diet you have, but for those with more food restrictions, it becomes that much more important to get the nutrients you need to keep performing at your best, both mentally and physically.
In particular, vitamin B helps your body absorb nutrients from food and convert it to energy, so if your kids are deficient in this area, they may become fatigued more easily. Traditionally, you get most of your vitamin B from meat and other animal products, but soy products and sea vegetables can also provide it. This is a very important but often overlooked vegan nutrition tip- so make sure you are eating foods high in vitamin B and taking a vitamin B supplement.
4. Enough calories: As a good general rule to follow, just make sure your kids get their recommended calorie intake a daily basis. The more food they consume, the more energy they’ll have to burn. On a vegan diet, you don’t need to skimp as much on portion sizes, since the fat content in meals is generally much lower.
Avoiding the Risks
There’s definitely some risk involved with a vegan diet, but most of that risk can be avoided by getting enough calories, plant-based fats and protein. Make sure you have a plan in place to get these nutrients to your kids if and when they decide to adhere to a vegan diet. If you are making the decision to go vegan, you may want to consult with a certified nutritionist to help you develop a diet plan that is perfect for your family.
Guest post by Virginia Cunningham who is a freelance health writer for NorthWest and yoga enthusiast in Los Angeles. Ensuring that her family gets their nutrients is her top priority, and she makes sure that their nutrition through primarily natural sources.
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