minerals for vegan kids

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Minerals for Vegan Kids: Raising Healthy Vegan Kids

 In this article you will learn about minerals in a vegan diet; how and where to get certain minerals from, how much of each, and which ones you should pay a little closer attention to while raising vegan kids.

minerals for vegan kids

This article is a continuation of Dietary Guidelines For Kids: How Vegan Kids Get The Nutrients They Need! If you find yourself wanting to continue reading this guide for Raising Vegan Kids but don’t have the time now, you can sign up to receive the PDF version in your inbox HERE, or at the bottom of any page in this guide!

*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.

When you think of minerals in a vegan diet, or any diet for that matter, which ones do you usually think of?

Or, do you not really think about minerals all that much; don’t worry, I don’t think many people do.

But, maybe you’ve seen things in the news (or google suggested articles) about certain minerals that a vegan diet (or a poorly planned vegan diet) was lacking in.

The ones that would probably be brought up are calcium and iron.

I have some thoughts on why these are the two most common minerals to be brought up…

It’s because us vegans don’t drink milk or eat meat and those food industries are trying to make everyone believe that they need meat for iron and need dairy for calcium.

Remember in school when you were taught about nutrition; you were probably brainwashed to believe that the only way to get enough calcium is through cows milk, or something made with cow’s milk. And that the only way to get enough iron is by eating meat.

But we’re adults now, we don’t have to believe what we were brainwashed to think as kids. (Be sure to help your child understand the truth and teach them the truth about the food industry and where they can get nutrients from!)

Read: How To Teach Kids About Being Vegan

Luckily, for everyones and the planet’s sake, there are vegan sources of minerals that our children need to grow and thrive!

However, some minerals we should pay attention to and make sure our children are getting enough of. The most important ones to pay attention to are:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Iodine

This isn’t to say that these minerals are hard to get on a vegan diet. But, this is your reminder to make sure you include foods high in those minerals in your child’s diet everyday!

The best way to raise a healthy vegan child is by planning proper meals for them, to make sure you include a variety of foods with a variety of nutrients in them.

I know, most vegan parents already know that, and that’s one thing that makes us different than non-vegan parents; we’re a bit more wary of what our kids eat and put more effort into it!

This makes it ever more frustrating when non-vegans judge what we give our vegan kids to eat. (I won’t get any further into that frustration here, if you’d like to read more on that, go here.)

For now, let’s take a look at the minerals we find in our diets.

What are the Minerals, and How Much Do Our Kids Need?

All kids need the same minerals to come from their food, vegan and non-vegan alike.

Some foods are better at providing certain minerals than others, and there are even different types of the same mineral depending on the source.

How much a child needs will depend on their age. 

(Resources I am using for the chart can also be found in the resources at the end of this article.)

Mineral0-6 months7-12 months1-3 years4-8 years9-13 male9-13 female14-18 male14-18 female
Calcium (mg)20026070010001300130013001300
Chromium (mcg)0.25.5111525213524
Copper (mcg)200220340440700700890890
Fluoride (mg)0.010.50.712233
Iodine (mcg)1101309090120120150150
Iron (mg)0.2711710881115
Magnesium (mg)307580130240240410360
Manganese (mg)0.0030.61.21.51.91.62.21.6
Molybdenum (mcg)23172234344343
Phosphorus (mg)1002754605001250125012501250
Selenium (mcg)1520203040405555
Zinc (mg)233588119
Potassium (g)0.40.73.03.84.54.54.74.7
Sodium (g)0.120.371.01.21.51.51.51.5

If you’re looking at all of those vitamins and haven’t even heard of them before, or remember/recognize them, you’re not alone!

Before I started doing my research into child nutrition, or nutrition in general, I would’ve barely been able to name half of the minerals above!

Quick Overview of Where to Find These Vitamins in Food for Kids

So, now you know which vitamins and approximately how much of each your kids need.

But, where do you find them?

As vegans, we find them in plants! (And water!)

The food sources below are meant to be a brief overview, it won’t include every source of the mineral; but enough to give you an idea of where you can find them. I’ll be going over some, if not all, of the minerals more in depth, with more specific food sources, in this series of articles.

We can find Calcium in tofu, greens, and legumes.

We can get Chromium in our child’s diet through unrefined grains (aka- not sugar or flour).

Learn more about carbohydrates HERE.

Copper can be included through whole grains, nuts, seeds, and drinking water.

Fluoride is sometimes added to our drinking water. (Learn more about that here.)

Iodized salt contains Iodine, so be sure to grab that kind when you buy it next, if you don’t already. It can also be found in bread.

Iron can be found in dried fruit and legumes.

Chocolate contains Magnesium, as does nuts, legumes, grains and leafy green veggies.

Manganese can be found in nuts, whole grains, and leafy green veggies.

Legumes and cereals contain Molybdenum.

Phosphorus can be found in nuts, beans, lentils, and yeast (such as in bread).

Selenium can be found in whole grains and veggies.

Foods such as seeds, nuts, legumes, tofu, and whole grains contain Zinc.

Potassium (one of the easiest minerals to find in a vegan/plant based diet) can be found in fruits, veggies, grains, and legumes.

You can find Sodium in salt, soy sauce, and processed foods. (So, even unhealthy kids will get plenty of this mineral.)

Can Kids get all their minerals from a plant based diet?

Absolutely!!

Some minerals are so easy to get even kids who eat mostly junk can get them, such as with sodium and fluoride.

As you may have noticed, the only sources of the minerals I mentioned above are vegan sources; it wouldn’t have made much sense for me to put non-vegan sources as options, as you’ll be raising your kids to eat a healthy vegan/ plant based diet.

Just know that the sources above are not the only sources.

In the articles that come after this one, I’ll go deeper into some minerals to help you get a better understanding of them. Explaining why our kids need them, what happens if they don’t get them, and more specific sources with meal and snack ideas.

 If you have any other specific questions regarding minerals and your child specifically, I’d recommend you speak with their pediatrician or a dietitian who can look over their medical/food history.

Didn’t start from the beginning? Start Here!

Need some inspiration for being or raising vegan? Check out the vegan quotes in Vegan Quotes: For Health, the Planet, & the Animals!

¹Dietary Guidelines of 2015-2020 

²Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition (Comprehensive Edition), by Branda Davis, RD & Vesanto Melina, MS, RD

minerals for vegan kids

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