Raising A Vegan or Vegeterian Child: Do You Have The Time To Do It Right?

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While the poor effects of a meat and dairy heavy diet keep on coming, parents are still stigmatized for choosing meat-free diets for their children. The mainstream media seems to be the culprit for the societal reaction to a vegetarian or vegan children, as anytime one falls ill — despite the unique circumstances — the entire diet is to blame. Yet often times what’s not said is that planning a healthful vegan or vegetarian diet for kids, or anyone really, requires a lot of forethought and time which many contemporary parents seem to have less and less of.

While the diets that the media does zero in on do happen to fall into what can be considered vegan or vegetarian by default, the parents are often ill-informed and don’t enforce the diet healthfully. While meatless diets do have many health benefits, most mainstream praises or critiques don’t include the asterisk that alludes to proper research and supplementation before making this dietary choice.

The Guardian proves to be the exception who highlighted well how misinformation and a lack of education can impact a child’s experience with meatlessness:

Amanda Baker at the Vegan Society says the real issue isn’t whether a child’s diet is vegan or not, or restricted or not – the important thing is whether it’s healthy. “There are plenty of children who are eating a bad diet, and they’re not vegan,” she says. “Vegan parents have to plan their child’s food carefully. Of course there are pitfalls, but there are pitfalls for all parents and for any diet.

Getting information however as a parent is usually a lonely endeavor, as parents who are vegans can attest, “…that many people, from doctors and health workers to social workers and other parents, are badly informed.” Alone in front of Google for hours on end can explain why so many vegan parents can find themselves on the receiving end of false information about nutrition. At the same time, these same professionals that are judging vegan and vegetarian parents for informed and well-executed decisions on diet may not know much about nutrition themselves and so the circle is perpetuated.

And since parents are increasingly on the go anyhow, with faster lives, tighter schedules, more demanding work hours, without the time to cook anything — let alone count out vitamin b12 consumption, it’s not surprising that for many American families, proper veganism is just not an option for the kiddies. Picky children can also be a considerable opposition, as anyone who has tried to talk a six-year-old into eating tofu (like me) can attest. With many children refusing to even eat bread with seeds in it, a vegan or vegetarian diet that covers all vitamins is just not practical.

But if you and your little one can pull it off, hats off to you.