Vegan kids are inspiring. Just look at young leaders like 10-year-old Genesis Butler, who recently gave a TedX talk about healing the planet, and 13-year-old Lilly of the popular Lillycution YouTube channel. However, any vegan parent knows that sometimes well-meaning but uninformed naysayers question whether a vegan diet is appropriate for kids.
Reader’s Digest recently put those rumors to rest with an article that ultimately declared that kids can thrive on a vegan diet. The condition was that a vegan diet should be well-planned and balanced. (Spoiler alert: A balanced, well-planned diet is important for anyone, not just vegans.)
Reader’s Digest isn’t the only respected source to stand up for vegan kids. Last year, the BBC reported on veganism. According to the BBC: “With the right planning and knowledge, a child can get everything they need following a vegan diet.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - the largest organization of food and nutritional professionals in the United States - backs this up, which is significant and the first time that the organization has done so.
It stated: “It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
"These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes.”
The organization also says vegans and vegetarians are at reduced risk for illnesses like type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Who wouldn’t want to protect their kids from illnesses?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics went on to say that a plant-based diet is better for the environment. With parents naturally concerned about their kids’ future at a time when science about climate change is being denied by those in power, this can only be a good thing for children, too.
Of course, vegans have long known that children can thrive without animal products. Still, it can be empowering for even long-term vegans to have a popular magazine like Reader’s Digest back up how they are choosing to raise their children.
In the age of fake news, it’s reassuring to see the truth about veganism being revealed in legitimate magazines and trusted organizations.
If you need help in ensuring that your kids’ vegan diet is ideal, the Vegetarian Resource Group has a vegan MyPlate chart to help plan a nutritious, well-rounded vegan diet, and vegan dietitians can help you plan a diet to meet your child’s unique needs.
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