Children are known for being picky eaters who tend to crave sugary foods that will satisfy their taste buds and give them energy — so it can be difficult to get them to eat healthy foods. For this reason, parents often look for ways to make fruits and veggies more appealing to kids, to ensure they’re eating a balanced diet. Vegan diets can seem restrictive to those who don’t like vegetables, but once you start exploring all the tasty ways there are to turn plant-based foods into healthy meals, it’s easy to find tons of options that will set children on a path of health eating that they’ll love.
Benefits of a Vegan Diet Vegan diets have been proven to have many benefits, such as lowering your risk of cancer and heart disease. People who dispute the benefits of a plant-based diet often suggest they cause deficiencies, which can be true of any unbalanced diet, but is not inherently true for vegan diets. Most of the nutrients we get from animal products can be gained easily through natural options, such as vegetables and legumes. The few that are not easily found in vegetables exist in supplements that are found at most grocery stores. However, as far as deficiencies go, according to the CDC, 87 percent of adults do not get their recommended daily intake of vegetables.
Finding the vitamins and minerals a person needs through plant-based foods means that you’re getting the nutrients your body needs without the consequences that come with making our bodies digest foods that we are not built to eat regularly. This is why eating large amounts of these foods can lead to chronic health illnesses like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and hypertension. Raising children with plant-based options has the potential to influence them with healthy eating habits from a young age and decrease their chances of developing illnesses that come from eating animals.
Children and Veganism Children are easily malleable. If you introduce them to the advantages of a vegan diet, such as the reduced risk for heart disease, saving resources that would otherwise go to raising livestock, and decreasing pollution, the chances of them being open to it are pretty high. They suck up information like tiny sponges, so this information could get them to eat their vegetables. If they decide they don’t want to eat plant-based, that can be their decision. However, introducing them to plant-based foods early on and teaching them about the benefits they stand to gain from eating vegan is a lesson that can stay with them as they get older, and one that can reduce their risk of childhood obesity.
Giving children the tools they need to learn about the effects of consuming animal products on the body and teaching them to value plant-based foods could have an incredible effect on childhood obesity levels. In a faculty interview with Bradley University, Director Family Nurse Practitioner Rachel Borton said, “Preventing childhood obesity and educating families about healthy choices will help prevent obesity in adulthood.” Information about food is an invaluable resource that is not available to everyone who needs it.
A balanced vegan diet offers tons of health benefits for children, including reducing the risk of childhood obesity. Plant-based diets give kids, as well as adults, the opportunity to learn more about different kinds of foods. This is a good way to get them to eat their vegetables growing up, which can be a more difficult habit to acquire later in life, and can give them the keys to a healthful life.