Vegan refers to a vegetarian who does not consume foods of animal origin including eggs, dairy products and processed foods. Parents who want to raise their children on a vegan diet should consult a paediatrician/dietician first as there may be concerns about the nutritional status of the child.
Children should get enough calories, protein, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamins. Sufficient sources of protein such as legumes, tofu and soymilk must be present in the diet for proper growth and development. Calcium is another important nutrient for healthy bones and teeth. Green leafy vegetables and fortified soy milk are some of the sources of calcium. However, the best sources are still animal products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. The daily requirement of calcium for a 4-year-old child is about 600mg/day and it is hard to get this amount from a vegan diet. Although these essential nutrients can be obtained from plant sources, it is still best to give your child a variety of foods including meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. A healthy, varied diet will provide a sound nutritional base which is critical in the formative years.
It will be beneficial to incorporate organic spirulina in your childís diet. Organic spirulina is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Apart from that, supplementation with probiotics specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 combined with prebiotic, chicory inulin help improve gut health and immune system. A healthy gut will promote better absorption of nutrients and ultimately better growth and protection against infections.