Some people believe that a vegan diet can have a negative impact on the health of some vegans.
In fact, vegetarians are not malnourished. But if they can’t get good dietary advice, or don’t follow them, malnutrition can happen.
After reading an article about ‘Warnings for Feeding Vegan baby,’ a reader of my blog (a vegetarian mom) said to me: “When it comes to kids, all these issues are magnified 10 times. “
Vegan kids have some clear advantages; their diet is low in saturated fat, cholesterol-free, rich in fiber, and a variety of phytochemicals that promote health.
As a cost, additional attention needs to be paid to some nutrients.
For a family, whether it’s vegan or not, the principles mentioned below for breastfed babies are exactly the same.
First, if sun exposure is insufficient, infants, especially those with dark skin, are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
Regardless of the mother’s diet, breast milk is low in vitamin D.
Unless you are sure that your child can get enough sunlight to make vitamin D, (this also depends on where you live, the season and the color of your baby’s skin) vitamin D supplements are absolutely necessary.
For breast-fed infants, failure to supplement vitamin D is a clear precursor to vitamin D deficiency.
In addition, whether it is vegan or not, breast-fed babies reach 4 to 6 months of age, at which time the iron storage in the baby begins to decline, and a supplemental source of iron is needed.
At this stage babies have started eating solid foods, and iron-fortified baby cereal is a good choice.
Also, if you plan to prepare oatmeal yourself, iron supplements in the form of drops are suitable.
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For vegetarian babies, the only nutritional issue is vitamin B12.
But as long as a mother’s diet is properly supplemented with B12, her milk will have enough B12.
Most babies start eating solid food at 4 to 6 months. The exact time depends on the baby’s development, not the age.
A good sign that your baby is ready to switch to new food is that he (or she) can sit up without support.
Babies can expand from cereals to fruits and vegetables, then more protein, and iron-rich foods like mashed beans and tofu.
After their first birthday, they can eat cookies coated with a thin layer of nut butter.
Once your child is weaned, it is necessary to focus on calcium and vitamin B12.
Check out this article : Calcium Source and Importance in a Vegan Diet
Toddlers need 500 mg of calcium per day, and children 4 to 8 years old need 800 mg per day.
This requirement is certainly achievable.
There are so many foods that are naturally rich in calcium, but many children still need fortified foods to meet their needs.
Simply eating a variety of whole plant foods for children (or adults) does not ensure adequate calcium.
Fortified plant milk is a good choice, or you can drink a small amount of fortified fruit juice (although fruit juice can only be used as a secondary ingredient in the diet of young children).
Toddlers should get a small chewable tablet of B12, which will replenish about 10 micrograms of B12 per day, and preschool / school age children should get about 15 to 20 micrograms per day.
Milk is very low in iron.
For iron, vegan toddlers have an advantage, because omnivorous children often replace iron-rich foods with milk.
” Meaning that after eating milk, due to satiety, intake of other foods with high iron content is reduced”.
However, although plant foods are rich in iron, children with low appetite may still lack iron, especially when high-fiber foods quickly fill those children’s stomachs.
At this time, iron-fortified refined grains and grains can help some children meet their iron needs.
Importantly, including a large amount of foods rich in vitamin C in the recipe can help vegan baby absorb iron.
High-fat foods such as nuts, seeds and beans can help vegan baby meet their nutritional needs.
Unless your child is allergic, never remove these foods from their diet.
Make sure your child consumes a small amount of ground flax seed, walnuts, or about 1 teaspoon of rapeseed or walnut oil daily to ensure that they consume enough omega-3 essential fatty acids.
For vegan babies, dietary recommendations that are not healthy can put them at risk.
However, there is no question about the fact that vegan children thrive when they eat a healthy diet.