This topic is outside of my knowledge on an experience level, obviously the facts are simple, but a purely factual post would be quite dull! However, I feel its an important topic to cover; especially considering its Veganuary – families with young children need to hear this kind of information. So i’ll pass you over to Amelia, mother to two girls and we’ll find out – can vegan children be healthy?

As we are part way through Veganuary, plant based diets and veganism seem to be on everyone’s minds. Hooray! The down side to this is that as soon as you mention being vegan everyone’s an expert on nutrition, from your hairdresser to your postman. You’re usually asked about protein and what on earth you can actually eat. What happens then when you choose to raise your children as vegans? Lots and lots of questions! As a parent to vegan children I’ve learnt that much of these questions surrounding your children comes from a place of love and genuine concern in a society that regards meat, eggs and dairy products as essential for health and growth.
Vegan children can be healthy, in fact there are many nutritionists and studies out there that successfully argue that a plant based diet is healthier and so by default vegan children can be healthier than their meat eating counterparts. But raising children on a plant based diet isn’t as simple as raising children on a ‘standard’ diet; you need to arm yourself with knowledge, the more the better and in doing that you’re definitely armed not only to answer questions from friends and relatives but also to give your kids the best and healthiest start in life.

Possibly the biggest benefit for infants of vegan parents is that most tend to be breastfed which brings with it added health benefits as apposed to formula feeding which relies heavily on the dairy industry. Once weaning vegan children need a lot of variety in their diet to make sure they get a mix of proteins and vitamins. If you’re a worrier like me, you can also find great quality vegan supplements for children to top up a varied diet, in fact I believe supplementing is advised for all children after 6 months by the NHS. My two vegan kiddos now aged 3 and 1 were born at 6lbs 6 and a sturdy 8lbs 6! They have both followed their weight and height percentiles perfectly, jump up through their age appropriate clothing sizes and have never had more than your average cold. They have more energy than I (or they!) know what to do with, and meet all their milestones on time. They are smart, healthy children who are certainly thriving.
My three year old is increasingly compassionate towards animals, and it’s obvious to me she views them as equal to people, with more to offer the world than simply being a source of food. We don’t talk about being different or why we choose to be a vegan family more than every so often so it surprises everyone just how perceptive she is to these issues.
At the minute their favourite meals include chickpea and coconut curry, vegan sausage rolls, and lentil and vegetable soup. Like all children they enjoy treats – biscuits, chocolate and cakes are firm favourites! We use Hemp Milk instead of cows milk for its omega 3 content and it’s sustainability. There are so many vegan foods available today that I’m hopeful as they grown up they will continue to make compassionate choices, but I am confident that either way an educated, varied vegan start was the best choice for us.
(Please note that I am not an expert, nor do I have any nutritional qualifications and I would urge you to talk to your own doctor before you make any changes to your own or your children’s diets.)

Amelia x

​I hope you found this article helpful, thank you to Amelia for offering to help me with this - I couldn’t have done it without her! Amelia also has a small vegan treats business (www.vegansnackssorted.co.uk). Are your children vegan? Or are they going vegan with you for Veganuary? Let me know in the comments below x

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