Eating a plant-based diet is beneficial for health, and hence it is a good choice for families. But many parents are concerned whether their children are going to get an adequate amount of nutrients. This is mainly because there is a common misconception that plant-based food is low in proteins which is essential for children as they are in the growing phase of their life. A plant-based diet does not necessarily mean eliminating all animal-based foods but reducing its consumption and increasing the consumption of plant-based food. Read on to know whether plant-based eating is good for kids.
Why Should You Choose A Plant-Based Diet?
The main reason for choosing a plant-based diet is health benefits. Studies have shown that it lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Apart from this, it helps with better weight management because plant-based food has lower calorie density.
There are different types of plant-based diets depending on the type of animal-based food included in the diet. Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet is excellent for health. It has a plant-based foundation but also includes fish, cheese, eggs, and poultry a few times a week.
Apart from the health benefits, the other major reason people choose a plant-based diet is to reduce their environmental impact. You must know that the meat and dairy industries have a significant impact on climate change. They use excess land and water along with being the major contributor to methane gas which is a powerful greenhouse gas.
How To Follow A Plant-Based Diet?
Listed below are the general guidelines for following a plant-based diet:
- Eliminate or reduce the consumption of meat to 1 to 2 meals per week. You can replace it with plant-based alternatives like tofu, tempeh, nuts, beans, and lentils.
- When eating a plant-based meal for lunch and dinner, make sure to consume moe vegetables.
- Consume fruits instead of desserts whenever possible.
- Choose plant-based food that are good sources of healthy fats like nuts, seeds, olives, and avocado.
Plant-Based Diet For Kids
You must know that plant-based food is low on certain nutrients. This is because they are either difficult to be absorbed by the body, or they are absent. So, when choosing a plant-based diet for children, you must ensure that the following nutrients are included in their diet:
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, soy milk, bread, or supplements.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D fortified milk substitute, cereals, mushrooms, or supplements.
- Calcium: Calcium fortified soy milk, dried beans, kale, and broccoli.
- Iron: Tofu, kidney beans, soybean, dried fruits, whole grains, chickpeas, lentils, fortified cereals, and bread.
- Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, potatoes, fortified cereal, hummus, and nuts.
On a final note, before choosing a plant-based diet for children, you must talk with the pediatrician to clear your doubts about the diet.