Vegan living is defined as the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet and lifestyle. While we hear of many adults who choose this lifestyle we tend to forget about their children. Should kids go vegan? Is it healthy? Is it safe? There are definitely two sides to this debate. So while that question will cause all this uproar with others, how do you feel about it? Would you consider having or encouraging your child to adopt a vegan lifestyle?
Let’s look at pros and cons of your child becoming a vegetarian.
Pro: They increase their chances of becoming a healthy adult
The main reason people are adopting a vegan lifestyle for their kid (and themselves) is to live a healthier life. Research studies have shown that an adolescent eating habits will likely stay with them into adulthood. With that said, it makes logical sense for kids to go vegan if becoming a healthy adult is the objective.
At an early age, they learn to value fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other non-meat products that will benefit their heart long-term. In addition, a kid who has gone vegan will rarely (never in some cases) eat junk food. So instead of Twinkies and potato chips, he or she will crave apples and carrot sticks!
Con: They miss out on important nutrients meat products provide
Living the vegan lifestyle isn’t 100% healthy for the human body. It is essential that an adolescent get all their vitamins and minerals while their developing. Without meat products, a kid who is vegan misses out on the following nutrients:
- Protein (not getting an adequate amount per day)
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D3 (better source of this vitamin than in plant form)
- DHA (Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids)
Other than Vitamin D3, a vegetarian kid is not getting any of those vitamins and minerals on a regular basis. This will leave them deficient in those nutrients. Here are several health issues that a vegan kid could face later in life if continuously deficient in those nutrients:
- Dementia (in particular, Alzheimer’s disease)
- Poor memory
- Lack of energy
- Lack of muscular strength
- Increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer
- Age faster
- Affects brain development (kids in particular)
Final Verdict: Let the kids decide
It is understandable that you want your kids to become veganin order to live a healthy lifestyle. Nonetheless, you should NEVER pressure your kid into eating a certain way. Besides, as you just read, being a vegetarian doesn’t grant complete immunity from health issues. Instead, you should let your kids try out a variety of foods. Let them figure out what they like and don’t like. While eating hamburgers everyday isn’t ideal, a diet rich with Brussels sprouts isn’t for everybody either. A quality diet incorporates a variety of food in order to get all the necessary nutrients. So instead of making your child eat their vegetables, put it on their plate, and see what they do.