Should kids eat a vegan diet?

We all want our children to eat healthfully, and many parents have asked whether children should follow a vegan diet, excluding eggs, dairy and meat? 

From a nutrition standpoint? No. Children obtain many important nutrients from non-vegan foods, including iron for oxygen transport and iodine for brain development, from foods such as eggs and yoghurt. Children need an exceptionally nutrient-rich diet to develop properly, so restricting their diet can be problematic and vegan diets are frequently linked to nutritional problems in young children.  

Yet the full answer is not so clear-cut. 

For parents who avoid animal products for ethical reasons and wish for their children to follow suit, it is possible to provide children with foods within a vegan diet that promote optimal growth and development. However, it is strongly advised that this be implemented only under the guidance of a qualified nutrition professional such as an accredited practising dietitian (APD).  
If you have a question about children’s nutrition, our experts would love to help. Just leave your question in comments with #askthedietitian

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Dual passions for food and health led Soaring Health dietitian Liz to study dietetics, but what really drives her is seeing the tangible differences dietary changes can make to a person’s health and wellbeing – from managing disease symptoms to sustainable weight loss. With a professional goal to “allow my patients to become the best they can be” by translating nutrition science into practical, realistic food recommendations, Liz has a refreshingly human approach.

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