At what age can kids go vegan?

At what age can kids go vegan?

The health and environmental benefits of plant based diets are undeniable, and going vegan has positively impacted many people’s lives. But, as veganism grows in popularity, many new parents will have to decide whether or not a plant based diet is right for their children. There have been incidents of children living in a vegan household developing vitamin deficiencies from improper nutrition, but this doesn’t necessarily mean kids can’t go vegan. 

While it is unwise to implement a vegan diet before a child is done breastfeeding, there is no set age for your child to go vegan. Once a baby is old enough to eat solid foods, then it is safe to remove animal products from their diet.[1] However, age is not the only factor to consider when introducing a vegan diet to your child. 

Be flexible at first

For those wondering at what age kids can go vegan, the answer is simple: as soon as they are able to eat solid foods. New mothers are encouraged to give their babies breast milk for at least the first six months. After that point, parents may begin to replace meat and other animal products with tofu, beans, and soy products.

Although a plant based diet is not necessarily unsafe for young children, it is recommended that you start by easing into veganism. Many milk substitutes should not be given to children less than one year old because they don’t have the proper nutrients that a growing baby needs.

Ensuring that your child is getting enough protein and calcium is crucial to their growth, and parents following a plant based diet must take extra care to incorporate the appropriate nutrients into their child’s diet.[2]

Make it their choice

When considering veganism for kids, it is important that your child doesn’t feel like the diet is being forced on them. It may be easy to determine and monitor what an infant eats, but, as your child grows and develops their own tastes, they may want a more involved role in their nutrition. 

For older children and teenagers in particular, allowing them to do their own research and help with the meal preparation process makes going vegan a conscious decision. Rather than feeling that a plant based diet is something that has been inflicted upon them, your child should be an active participant in their own health. 

Whether you’re raising a vegan infant or teenager, making sure your child receives the nutrients they need is especially important. It’s easy for children to develop vitamin deficiencies when following a plant based diet, and vitamin supplements may be a necessity.

Because many vegans have to supplement their vitamin B12 content to maintain a healthy nervous system, vitamin B12 chewable tablets are recommended for children following a plant based diet.[3] With the proper care and attention, your child can experience all the benefits of a vegan diet. 

[1] Is Veganism Appropriate for Kids?, U.S. News
[2] Is a Vegan Diet Healthy for Kids?, BBC Good Food
[3] Going Vegan: Is it a Good Choice for Kids?, WebMD