Your child has come to you and tells you they want to be a Vegetarian or a Vegan. What do you do? As a parent, we listen first.
Ask and let them explain why it is they want to change the diet
Talk about any concerns you may have as far as any vitamin deficiency they may incur and how they may have to take a multi-vitamin to substitute any missing nutrition (vitamins B12, iron, calcium, etc….)
Support them and let them know you appreciate their effort. Once a week cook a vegetarian/vegan meal for the entire family
Always have foods available for them to maintain their food choices (fresh fruits and vegetables)
Allow them to find and cook their own vegetarian/vegan meals
Last but not least, always keep the doors of communication open and make sure you and them are educated about veganism and vegetarianism.
As a parent one the most important duties we have to our children is to make sure they receive adequate nutrition from the foods they eat. Nutrition is essential for kids because proper nutrition helps prevent illness and disease, and affects their growth, development and learning. Eating the right food promotes a better quality of life because when kids feel good physically, they’re able to take part in the activities they enjoy. They are able to learn and have better mental clarity.
Everyone needs the same types of nutrients — such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fat. Children, however, need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. We need to educate our children and ourselves about proper nutrition.
Protein. Choose seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Fruits. Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits — rather than fruit juice.
Vegetables. Serve a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried vegetables. Aim to provide a variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, beans and peas
Grains. Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice.
Dairy. Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese
Limit your child’s calories from:
Added sugar. Limit added sugars. Naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit and milk, are not added sugars.