World Vegan Day 2018: Are you getting enough nutrients from your food? Express Parenting got in touch with an expert to get tips on how to do a vegan diet right.
Veganism is being increasingly adopted by a lot of people worldwide, for health, environmental and ethical reasons. For the uninitiated, veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in the diet. While a vegan diet is hailed by many, if not done right, it can deprive one of certain essential nutrients. If your family follows a vegan diet, here are tips on doing it right to ensure your child is healthy:
Eat raw fruits and vegetables
As part of a vegan diet, your child should be encouraged to eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, since with cooked food some of the vitamins might be lost. “Ideally, there are only a few instances where we would recommend a vegan diet for a child. Having said that, there are families that follow a vegan diet, as part of their custom. In such cases, if the child is above five years, it is advisable to feed the child raw foods, which would provide them the essential vitamins and zinc. One of the major meals should be a raw meal, be it a salad or just raw fruits and vegetables,” paediatrician and nutritionist Dr Charu Kalra told Express Parenting.
Eat fortified foods
Some essential nutrients that your child’s vegan meal should include are vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium, said Dr Kalra. With no dairy products and any form of meat included in the diet, how does one compensate for the lack of nutrients? “Fortified foods (which have extra nutrients added in them) are rich in calcium and vitamin D. For breakfast, a child can be given a bowl of cereal fortified with vitamins, which make up for the absence of milk and cheese,” she advised.
Eat dry fruits
Again, the child should eat dry fruits to take care of the omega 3 fatty acid deficiency, suggested Dr Kalra. “A child, who is above four or five years old, can have his handful of walnuts and almonds every day,” she said.
Say no to processed foods
Children tend to consume a lot of processed vegan foods like vegan pastries or muffins. All of these highly processed foods, however, contain a good amount of preservatives and starch or self-freezing flours, which may lead to obesity, warned Dr Kalra and should be completely avoided.