Provided they follow a balanced diet with the correct amounts of vitamins, protein, fats, and calories for their ages and recommended growth rates, vegan kids can easily get adequate nutrition. The main difference with vegan nutrition is the absence of dairy and animal-based products. These types of foods are most often replaced with soy-based milk products and alternative protein-rich foods that do not include meats or eggs. The most challenging part of vegan parenting can often be selecting enough calorie-dense foods that will provide vegan children enough nutrients even when eaten in smaller amounts.
Raising vegan kids can begin right after birth with breast-feeding as one of the more common sources of nutrition for the first year of life. Since breast milk generally does not have adequate daily amounts of vitamin D, many vegan infants need supplements of this nutrient through soy-based formulas designed for vegan diets. Additional supplemental formulas are available with added vitamin B12 and iron. Since the choices for vegan baby food can sometimes be more limited, many parents make their own from fresh fruits and vegetables. Once vegan kids move into the toddler stage, they can often get their needed vitamins from their first solid foods paired with soy or rice milk.
Cereals that have been fortified with iron are common choices for vegan kids. Once they are old enough to eat solid foods, many of them have diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes. A common concern for vegan parents is that their children can easily exceed their daily recommended fiber intake while not getting enough calories from fat needed for growth and proper brain development. Since young children have smaller stomachs, many of them tend to eat smaller servings. Foods such as avocados and nuts have higher amounts of mono-saturated fats and are often recommended to prevent this kind of possible nutrient deficiency.
Adequate protein is another area that can be a concern when raising vegan kids. Luckily, there is a wide range of meat- and egg-free foods that easily cover the daily recommended protein. Favorite foods among some vegan children include meatless burgers, bean tacos, and soy hot dogs. Nutritionists generally recommend that vegan children between the ages of four and nine have five daily servings of these types of proteins. Once their vegan kids enter the teen years, many parents equip them with several small protein-rich snacks to be eaten throughout the day.