More and more people are joining this healthy lifestyle, but when choosing it for the little ones we have many doubts.
In recent years, there has been a significant growth in society in the percentage of people and families who decide to follow a way of life according to personal, ethical or environmental criteria that affect the way in which we feed. Thus, the choice of vegetarianism or veganism leads us to two lifestyles that increasingly involve more people and, then, the controversy appears about whether this decision made by adults can be extended to children who, after all, They are part of these families, without posing a risk to their health.
Nutritionally speaking, a vegetarian person is the one who decides to refrain from eating meat, fish, seafood and all its derivatives, and may include or not in their diet animal derivatives such as dairy and / or eggs. Vegan people, meanwhile, do not include any food of animal origin (not even derivatives, without exception). Knowing which food groups these people are limited to, one of the discussions that can be presented at the social level and, even for healthcare professionals, is whether these diets guarantee a healthy diet for children in all stages of growth.
What do doctors say?
The American Academy of Nutrition – the most important in the world, which brings together more than one hundred thousand professionals – already pointed out in 2003 that “properly planned vegetarian diets, including strict diets, are healthy and nutritionally adequate, being able to provide benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. A statement that was ratified in 2009 and to which many associations of dietitians and nutritionists of the British Health System, Canada, Australia and some Nordic countries joined. In Spain, on the other hand, the Spanish Association of Dietitians-Nutritionists published a year later, in its official magazine, the document translated from English for its importance.
It is true that being vegetarian or vegan, at first, is not synonymous with health and may have the same problems as those that are not, such as an excess of sugar, highly processed foods or poor quality fats, but we eliminate These factors and we talk about well-planned diets, always attending to personal needs, can reduce some existing risks in the general population. Therefore, why not choose it for our children
What do I have to keep in mind if I decide to start my child in vegetarianism or veganism
The guidelines for a generally healthy diet should be very similar in all diets, whether vegetarian, vegan or any other type: give preference on the plate to vegetables, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins (of animal origin or vegetable, as in this case) and encourage the consumption of good fats.
In short, the important thing is to plan the diet well, without missing protein, calcium, iron or any of the essential nutrients. Therefore, it is essential to supplement vitamin B12 in the case of vegetarians (even those who consume eggs and dairy) and vegans, since it is not found in plant food sources. This deficiency is solved in a very simple way with a supplement of this vitamin, so that any vegan or vegetarian child, with a well planned diet, will not have food deficiencies and will enjoy a healthy diet.
Always remember that if there is any doubt about how to provide all the nutrients or there is a special condition in any person (be it a pregnancy, the lactation period or those sports people, for example), a more specific planning will be required, it is advisable to consult To the professionals.