Many people, while eager to adopt a vegetarian diet themselves, may hesitate to feed their children a diet devoid of animal products. As it turns out, there are pros and cons to an exclusive plant based diet for children.
By and large, a plant based diet is absolutely perfect for children and adults. It is contains the nutrition and fiber that your body requires without the cruelty and health problems associated with an animal based diet.
Children do have unique dietary needs however, and many experts strongly advise against a strict vegan diet for children. There are many nutrients, such as A, D and the B vitamins, that are essential to proper growth and development, that are difficult if not impossible to get from a plant based diet alone.
That said, children can eat a cruelty free diet of organic eggs and organic, raw dairy and still receive the majority of necessary fatty acids and nutrition their bodies require. If you add on cod liver oil and let your kids get plenty of sunshine, they are on the road to excellent health.
A recent article found on www.PCRM.org states that:
“Children raised on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes grow up to be slimmer and healthier and even live longer than their meat-eating friends. It is much easier to build a nutritious diet from plant foods than from animal products, which contain saturated fat, cholesterol, and other substances that growing children can do without. As for essential nutrients, plant foods are the preferred source because they provide sufficient energy and protein packaged with other health-promoting nutrients such as fiber, antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.”
This is a great article which explains how children can receive all the necessary nutrition they need from a vegetarian diet but they are also learning healthy tastes and habits at a critical stage that sets the stage for the healthiest life possible.
The article also includes menu suggestions and dietary recommendations by age. Its a great read.
Additional resources: vrg.org
Image Souurce: http://flickr.com/photos/guccibear2005/1970572578/