Many people are now switching to a plant-based diet owing to various reasons. Some of them make the switch for the health benefits and as per many experts, it can be a healthy move for both children and adults. Opting for a plant-based diet does not mean that you stop eating all dairy and meat products, rather, it means that the majority of the items on your plate comes from plants. It can include nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits, etc.
Plant-Based Food For Children
How can a plant-based diet be beneficial for children? A plant-based diet that entails dairy and egg items can cinch that your child gets all the nutritives required for decorous growth. A vegan diet that does not include any animal-based food items can also offer the necessary nutrition if the sources like iron, zinc, vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D are included in the diet. Some of the most common sources of these nutrients are:
- Iron: kidney beans, kale, lentils, cabbage, chickpeas, tofu, bread, and cereals fortified with iron.
- Vitamin D: mushrooms, fortified cereals, and milk substitutes.
- Calcium: Dried beans, kale, soymilk that is fortified with calcium, and dried beans, etc.
- Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, hummus, nuts, dried beans, potatoes, and fortified cereals, etc.
- Vitamin B12: Soy milk, fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, and bread, etc.
Following A Plant-Based Diet
You may follow the below guidelines while following a plant-based food schedule for your child.
Ensure That At Least Half The Plate Is Vegetables
Make sure to select vegetables of varying colors for dinner and lunch. This will help guarantee the required nutrients and minerals. Likewise, try to subsume greens – leafy vegetables in the diet.
Go For Healthy Fats
You can add olives, nuts, avocado, and olive oil to the diet to ensure the availability of healthy fats.
Avoid Meat Or Eat Very Small Amounts
You can avoid meat altogether or from one or two meals for your family. Adding nuts, beans, lentils, and tofu to the meals can be filling and ensure proper protein intake. You can also make plant-based snacks that are rich in nuts for children. These snacks will help fulfill the protein requirements easily.
Now it must be clear to you that a plant diet is a healthy option for children. You can seek advice from your pediatrician if you have any concerns or doubts about diet for children.