It's January, and most of us are trying to get back to life as we know it after the festive season. You've probably noticed that the world at large uses the first month of the year to take stock of their habits, replacing bad ones with shiny new health fads that will probably last a couple of weeks at best. Although #Veganuary is a thing, veganism, on the whole, is proving to be more than just a throwaway trend. Advocates of the plant-based diet believe that sticking to a meal-plan free of animal products can have incredible benefits to your health, from increased energy to a lesser chance of developing cancer later in life - but can children get everything they need from such a strict diet?
It's true that vegan meals tend to hold less energy than their non-veggie counterparts, which can mean that kids need to eat considerably bigger portions in order to get the juice they need. According to BBC Good Food, this doesn't mean that it's not possible altogether. By adding healthy oils such as soya bean or rapeseed into meals, you're boosting the number of calories that they contain. Regardless of whether you're preparing to embark on a vegan switch for yourself or your children, then focusing on the key nutrients is essential to maintain the health of your family.
Protein is an important staple, especially for children, as it helps with growth and development. Luckily for us, we live in a modern world where there are tons of protein-rich food substitutes that are both vegan and packed full of goodness. Items like pulses, beans and lentils all contain buckets of the stuff, as well as vital amino acids. Experts suggest including three portions of vegetable protein a day to replace those that would usually come from meat...but what about calcium?
A huge emphasis is put on milk products when it comes to raising children, making it one of the key drawbacks for parents looking to do a diet overhaul. 45 percent of our bone mass has already accrued by the time we reach 8, so it's easy to understand the concerns - but cow's milk isn't the only source of calcium. Soya milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D is readily available in stores, as are yogurts. Almonds, tofu, beans and green leafy vegetables like spinach are also calcium treasure troves, so be sure to include these in the mix.
All in all, veganism can be a perfectly healthy choice for children, as long as it's done correctly.