Raising a child on a vegan diet is simple, and here’s a recipe to help

When we were pregnant, people who knew we were vegan would ask: “Will your child be on a vegan diet?”

We would reply: “Yes, ideally he will be breastfed, which is vegan.”

Undeterred by our sarcasm, they would follow up with: “But what will he eat when he is older?”

Our response was: “He’ll eat what we eat.” That is, an informed, balanced diet.

A balanced vegan diet is, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.” 

In addition to the health benefits, being vegan is part of our moral values, so it was clear to us we would raise our child vegan.

Our son is now 18 months old, and our experience has been great. He has followed his growth charts, and he is an active, happy, thriving kid.

When he was an infant, feeding him was simple because we were able to breastfeed. We supplemented that with vitamin D and iron, as instructed by our pediatrician.

When he started solid food, we gave him a variety of fruits, vegetables, and rice cereal. As a weaned toddler, here is a typical day:

Breakfast: ½ peanut butter sandwich, and a sippy cup with a mixture of unsweetened soy milk, unsweetened coconut milk, and a liquid multivitamin that includes D3, B12 and iron. The soy/coconut mixture provides calories, fat and protein.

Lunch: ½ avocado and four vegan chicken nuggets

Snacks: bananas, apples, rice cakes, LÄRABARs, toddler crackers, and “toddler pouches” containing pureed fruits and vegetables

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