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The ULTIMATE GUIDE for Raising Vegan Kids
In this ultimate guide for raising vegan kids you will find a path to take to make raising vegan kids a bit easier, nutrients that you need to be aware of, ways to handle social situations that may eventually come up and frustrate you, how to deal with picky eaters, plenty of recipes and resources, and so much more! I hope you enjoy, find this useful, and I wish you good luck on your journey to raising vegan kids!
Let’s start at the beginning, just in case you are still in the stage of choosing to raise a vegan child…
First of all: What does it mean to be vegan?
To be vegan means to not use or consume any animal products.
This includes(but not limited to);
There are many reasons why you would choose being vegan for yourself, some of the most common reasons are:
- to improve your health
- for the animals
- for the environment/planet
I’m not saying those are the only reasons, but they are the main ones.
Basically, by choosing to be vegan yourself, you’re choosing to better yourself and the world around you.
Why wouldn’t you want the same for your kids?
If you need more convincing for whether or not to raise vegan kids, be sure to read: Should You Start Raising Vegan Kids?
If you or your child has already decided to be vegan, this next section is for you…
*Please note that I am not a doctor or registered dietitian and am not liable for what you do with the information I provide. The following is for informational purposes only. If you or you child has a medical condition or you have concerns about raising vegan kids, please consult your pediatrician or a registered dietitian familiar with a vegan diet.
Now, what topics will you find in this guide?
You will find all of the vegan topics below:
Choosing to Raise Vegan Kids
If your family is already vegan and you’re simply welcoming a child into your home to raise vegan; then this was probably the obvious decision to make.
However, that doesn’t necessarily make it an easy decision.
Having two vegan adults in a household; you probably don’t get questioned too often about your lifestyle or diet.
Well, you might, but people may just think it’s your life- your decision.
When you bring a child into the world and want to feed them a healthy vegan diet…all of a sudden it’ll seem like everyone tries to convince you not to, trying to guilt you into raising your child on a ‘normal’ diet.
(What they probably don’t realize is that a ‘normal’ diet is the reason childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing and the reason the medical field is warning that the generation being raised right now won’t outlive their parents.)
If you’re having your kids transition with you, or slightly after you (so you have time to test out ‘Vegan’ food and see how you can help them ease into a vegan diet easier) people will still question your parenting.
Don’t worry though, others will always try to butt in where they don’t belong as long as there are kids involved, vegan or not!
Luckily, you’re in the right as a healthy vegan diet will help your kids outlive you (and any nosy adult who wants to butt in).
Making the decision for your child to transition to a vegan diet can potentially be more difficult than simply having the confidence to tell others to bug off and to leave their opinions to themselves. Though, that can be tough as well, especially if it’s family criticizing your choices.
With choosing a vegan diet for a child, the best age is before they are born.
The next best age is anytime before they leave home. The younger the better!
Of course there are challenges with transitioning a child to a vegan diet at any age; just like there are challenges with getting them to clean their room, sit at the table while they eat, or listen to you at any age.
- Some kids go through a picky eating phase
- They may not be able to connect what they eat with where it came from
- Older kids may just want to eat what all their friends are eating
I’m not saying those are all the challenges you’ll face.
Honestly, that’s probably not even scratching the surface.
But, they’ll end up thanking you (maybe) when they’re older and don’t have to learn how to eat healthy all on their own!
Unfortunately, they may not thank you for providing them with healthy, non-disease causing food when they’re still growing up.
They’re not going to understand why it’s so important until you teach them, talk to them about it, or show them.
Because they 100% do not teach this in schools!
Therefore, best way to transition a child, who remembers eating non-vegan food at some point in their life, is to help them understand why being vegan is so important.
How you help them understand may differ depending on their age.
For little ones, there are vegan kids books, which you’ll find later in this guide.
For older kids, there are documentaries, tons of books, and other resources to point them to, especially if they’re going through a stage where they don’t want to listen to you. You’ll find these resources later in this guide as well.
There is also the option to sit down with them and teach them yourself, as well!
*Note- Some health documentaries available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other streaming services do show how animals are treated within the food industry. It may not be suitable for all kids, just be sure to watch them first to see if it’s something your child can handle watching all the way through or if you’ll have to tell them to cover their eyes at parts. That’s what I did with my oldest who started watching them with me at age 4 (she’s now 7 and proud to tell others she is vegan!).
If your child chooses to be vegan then that is awesome!!
You may still get remarks from others about how you shouldn’t let them, but don’t let that stray you away from supporting them on their new (healthier) eating habits.
Whether you are vegan or not, it’s a wonderful thing when a child wants to be vegan and eat healthier!
I still smile and feel a bit proud every time I tell my current four year old that her veggies are almost ready and she says ‘yay, veggies!!’ with the biggest smile on her face.
Some kids are fine with simply eating the healthy vegan food you make, whereas others will tell you it’s gross and they’re not eating it. Although, if left alone long enough with the food in front of them, they’ll probably eat it; it’s not like it’s rotting flesh of a dead animal. (Ask me how I know, lol.)
Don’t think this challenge is specific to your child, more parents than who would like to admit struggle with their kids eating healthy, vegan or not.
So, understanding who chose for your kids to be vegan (you or them) and when (when they are born or sometime later in their life when you or they realized that a vegan diet is best for them), is only one part of choosing to raise vegan kids.
The next part about choosing kids is the WHY
If you chose for them to be vegan then you probably understand why you want them to be, and no it’s not just because you are. There’s a deeper reasoning than that.
It could be that raising a child to treat all living beings with kindness and respect is what you would like to do.
Or, maybe it’s for health reasons; you want your child to be as healthy as possible and live as long as possible.
It could even be for an environmental reason; reducing animal product consumption helps reduce greenhouse gases from forming and killing our planet.
Whatever your reasoning, or your why for raising your child(ren) vegan, be sure to explain it to them when they are able to understand and in a way they can understand.
I’m sure you will, but know it’s important to them to understand these things.
Who knows, maybe by you explaining it to them, they’ll turn around and explain it to their friends and try to convince them to become vegan, too!
And, this really does happen!
Even as young as 5 years old.
I know my 7 year old was explaining to other kids in her kindergarten class two years ago that it’s not nice to eat meat and how gross cows milk is! Fortunately, her teacher at the time was vegan, too, so if she overheard, she would understand.
But, I understand not everyone is fortunate enough to have other vegans in their community like that.
Later in this guide we’ll go over more ways to explain to kids why we’re vegan and how to teach them to stand up for what is right, in case their teachers try to tell them otherwise! (Don’t be afraid to get on the phone with their teachers to defend your child trying correct them in class. Teachers aren’t always right!)
If your child chose to be vegan, then see if you can find out why…in the most un-nosy way possible.
Kids can have the strangest reasoning behind wanting to do something, so it’s nice to know what convinced them to do so.
Be careful not to nag them about it, as that may discourage them from wanting to stay vegan, depending on their age and stage of development they are in.
Whether you are vegan or not, it is important to respect their decision and to not accidentally give them anything containing animal products.
Doing so could break their trust in you.
And, unless your child is in high school and are old enough to do their own research when they choose to become vegan, you should consider researching a bit about the vegan diet and how to plan a proper vegan diet for your growing kids.
Luckily for you, I’ve already done loads of research and will be sharing a lot of it with you.
However, if you’d like to do your own research, you can find a resource section at the end of this guide to help you find out more about vegan nutrition for kids.
Next: Do Your Research!
…or simply continue to read this guide and if you feel you need more info, be sure to come back to check out the resources section once it’s up!
Need some inspiration for being or raising vegan? Check out the vegan quotes in Vegan Quotes: For Health, the Planet, & the Animals!