Your children need a balanced diet to grow up healthy
A healthy balanced diet for children? Yes, we also know: It is not always easy to inspire little connoisseurs.
When children play, romp and learn, they need a variety of healthy and nutritious foods. But what is suitable for children, they often do not like to eat everything. A balanced and varied diet that contains all the vitamins and trace elements that children need to grow is necessary for children.
Vegan diet for your children
A vegan diet has many advantages. However, parents often have doubts about the balance of a vegan child’s diet. These doubts are unfounded because there is hardly any other diet that children can be so wholly supplied with all nutrients and vital substances while growing up in an ethically correct manner.
The desire for healthy and slim children
Never have there been more fat children than today, up to 20 to 30 percent in industrialized countries. In most cases, overweight children become fat and disease-prone adults. Fat children automatically lead an unhealthy lifestyle than lean ones. They move less, spend less time outdoors in natural sunlight, and snack a lot.
Many parents worry about feeding their children in the face of this situation. Nobody wants fat, unsightly, clumsy children. For this reason, it is often not until the birth of their first child that young parents start looking for a healthy diet. Young mothers and young families are, therefore, the main clientele in today’s health food stores. They want the best for their children and are looking for information.
What “nutrition experts” said
Unfortunately, young parents get a lot of tips and hints about the supposedly suitable diet for children. In most cases, this is also contradicting information, so the confusion grows bigger and bigger.
Last of all, can one rely on the instructions given by official nutritionists? Only a few are not under the food industry’s advice and proclaim what the big corporations put in their mouths.
For example, some say that food additives are not a concern, although many of these substances do not exist in nature, and therefore nobody can say how they affect the human organism in the long term.
Protect children from vegan junk food
However, vegan is not always vegan. You can be vegan and have an unhealthy diet. Vegans are, therefore, not necessarily always slim. There are quite a few among them who are significantly overweight. Simply because almost all unhealthy foods are also available in a vegan version so that you can eat vegan and still have junk food on your plate every day: pizza with soy cheese, cream cakes made from soy cream, soy milk chocolate, pasta, soy burgers, Curry soy sausage, soy puddings, vegan cookies and much more. Vegans who eat all of this want to prevent animal suffering, but they don’t care about their health – which is their right. However, you should protect children from this type of vegan diet.
Vegan nutrition for children and adolescents
As always, the same applies here: vegan is not always vegan. Because not every vegan has a healthy diet, the same thing can happen if you leave children to their own devices. If you only eat vegan cookies, soy burgers, or pasta, that’s vegan but not much healthier than french fries, hot dogs, or pizza.
Therefore, at this point, the principle is: If you have already taken into account a balanced and wholesome vegan diet in childhood and adolescence, this can lay the foundation for a healthy diet. And as doctors and vegan experts determine, they also significantly reduce the risk of obesity or diseases related to diet.
So what is a healthy vegan diet for children and adolescents? Here are the essential tips to keep in mind for a balanced diet in children. By the way: Adults should adhere to the same rules.
For vegans, the supply of carbohydrates is natural. These are our staple foods, so to speak: They are the ideal energy source for an active child, and you can find them in whole grain products, beans, and vegetables. Whether wild rice, wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta, oatmeal, or corn, a child will receive sufficient fiber and nutrients.
The same goes for proteins, which are also crucial for growth. They are in animal foods and large quantities in grain, beans, fruit, and vegetables. Studies have shown that the heavy consumption of animal proteins at the age of 5–6 can lead to a higher body fat percentage in the following years of life.
The fact is: when it comes to iron supplies, vegan children do a little worse than those who eat meat. Therefore, you should pay special attention to the iron supply because iron is essential for growth. Iron is in several types of beans and leafy vegetables. A little tip: Vitamin C from vegetables and fruits increases iron absorption. So it’s best to give the children a combination of both, like an iron-rich bean burrito with paprika and tomato sauce.
A zinc deficiency can weaken the immune system and promote infections and numerous diseases. Besides, zinc also plays a vital role in physical development and sexual maturation. Therefore, as with iron, it is crucial to ensure an optimal supply. A lot of zinc is found in seeds, for example, in pumpkin seeds, nuts of all kinds, legumes, and avocados.
Calcium intake is significant for vegan children, especially in the growth phase. During this phase, the need for Calcium increases to build an additional bone substance. If children do not get enough calcium from their food, this can also lead to rickets. Suitable vegan calcium suppliers are, for example, soy or grain milk fortified with Calcium, green types of cabbage such as broccoli, Chinese cabbage, or kohlrabi – and one of the essential foods of all: calcium-rich mineral water.
The most hotly discussed topic in the vegan diet of children is the supply of sufficient vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy blood and nerve function. A problem for us vegans. In addition to foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as commercial cereals, fortified soy, rice drinks, or multivitamin juices, children should also take a B12 supplement to have no vitamin B12 deficiency. The same also applies to breastfeeding mothers.
Last but not least: let your children play outdoors as often as possible, as the sunlight stimulates the skin to produce vitamin D. Two hours per week is the absolute minimum. You can improve the vitamin D supply with plant-based vitamin D from additional preparations or fortified plant-based drinks in the winter months.
Some parents believe that children eat relatively healthily and give them multivitamins. Though this may not be a bad thing to do, many kids think they are candy because they come in gummy candy, gumballs, and cute animal and cartoon characters. Keep all kinds out of reach of medications; it is perilous because they may take more than you know.
Overdoses of multivitamins with iron can make your child seriously ill or even die. Some multivitamins are fine, but for the most part, children get a lot of their vitamins in their diets. If you are on a vegan diet, Calcium will need to come from other sources. You may have a consultation with your child’s pediatrician. A daily vitamin may be all a child needs, even if his diet has not been very nutritious during the week. Also, if there is too much of one particular vitamin, other vitamins’ absorption may get blocked. Too much Calcium prevents the absorption of other vitamins, such as iron, for example. Make healthy balanced food choices a priority. If not, you can expect to give vitamins to your child until they are teens.
Before buying vitamins, you should know about vitamins with iron for children. One belief is that you should give vitamins with iron. Another is that vitamins with iron in them should never be given to a child.
Always check with your child’s doctor; he may put him on fortified iron vitamins. Hemochromatosis is a disease caused if there is too much iron in the blood. The iron is not washed out of the body easily if it becomes unusable by the body and causes serious health issues.
Children’s vitamins may be excellent, but too much of it could be fatal and should never be in the reach of children. It would be best if you always discussed adjustments to your child’s diet with your child’s pediatrician; it’s better to err on the side of caution. It’s OK to have fun shapes for vitamins, but your child could think they are candy, and you should keep them out of reach or locked in a cabinet.
Let’s summarize A healthy balanced vegan diet for children has many benefits. It helps protect against chronic diseases later in life. It prevents obesity later on. And it is significantly more nourishing than the usual average diet of non-vegans. The danger of so-called malnutrition, conjured up by many critics of the vegan diet, only exists if the children do not have a balanced diet. However, this is also part of the parents’ educational mandate. As vegan parents, make sure that you supply your vegan children with all nutrients and vital substances so then your children can grow up not only healthy but also ethically correct at the same time.
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