Resources for Raising Vegetarian and Vegan Children

piglet with girl in a vintage post cardAll parents need to pay attention to providing good nutrition for their children. Raising kids vegetarian can give them an advantage. According to the American Dietetic Association, a varied and balanced plant-based diet is not only healthy and nutritious for infants and children of all ages, but it may have health advantages in the prevention of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. This page is a resource to help in raising healthy and compassionate children. You will also find helpful, practical tips and lots of kid-friendly recipes!

Note: These resources are provided for informational purposes only. BVS does not endorse, and has no control over or responsibility for the resources or their contents. These books and websites are not intended as medical advice, and they do not take the place of individualized medical care or advice. People should make dietary decisions in consultation with their health professionals.

Part One: Online Nutrition Information for Pregnancy, Infants, Kids, and Teens; Kid-friendly Recipes and Other Resources
Part Two: Books on Raising Veg Children; Cookbooks and Books for Children 

Online Nutrition Information for Pregnancy, Infants, Kids, and Teens; Kid-friendly Recipes and Other Resources

American Dietetic Association’s Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets—Press Release
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.  Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, and for athletes.

American Dietetic Association’s Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets—Full Position Paper (PDF)
Here is the full position paper published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. To view the pages on Pregnant and Lactating Women, Infants, Children, and Adolescents, scroll down to pages 1270-1272.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Resources:

Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start
Includes an overview, nutrient needs, infants, children and teens, food groups, daily meal planning and sample menus for various age groups from one to nineteen, and recipes.

Vegetarian Diets: Advantages for Children
A panel of nutritionists addresses three main areas: the advantages of vegetarian and vegan diets, the safety of vegan diets, and planning meals for children. Includes tips for parents for planning school lunches and snacks, birthday parties, feeding a picky toddler, quick and easy meals, and what to tell grandparents and teachers.

Vegetarian Diets for Pregnancy
Offers a meal plan chart based on nutritious whole foods, nutrient needs to pay attention to during pregnancy, sample menu plan, and breastfeeding guidelines.

Healthy Snacks for Kids
Tips for making your child’s snacks be as healthful as the meals you serve. Quick and easy snack ideas that pack important nutrients and energy into each delicious bite.

Healthy School Lunch Campaign
PCRM’s campaign to improve school lunches by offering more nutrient and fiber rich plant foods rather than menus too high in saturated fat and cholesterol.  Includes resources and guidelines for working with your own school.

Kids Get Healthy: Nutrition for Kids
Contains tips for making the switch to a veg diet, the new four food groups, menu planning, sample menus, veggie versions of kids classics, some healthy snack ideas, helpful hints, and recipes.

Additional Nutrition and Guidance Resources:

Vegan Nutrition in Pregnancy and Childhood
Vegetarian Resource Group nutrition experts present the basic nutrition needs during breastfeeding, and for infants, toddlers, and school age kids. Includes info on choking risks, general tips, and meal plans during pregnancy and for babies, toddlers, and children.

Vegetarian Kids, Teens, and Family
Vegetarian Resource Group offers nutrition and other resources for kids, teens, and parents.  Includes info on joining their Yahoo group network for vegetarian parents to exchange ideas, questions, and helpful tips.

A Dietitian’s Guide for Healthy Vegetarian Children & Toddlers, Teens, and Babies
A registered dietitian and public health nutritionist developed this site to provide basic facts that make it easy to eat a more plant-based diet. Topics include babies, toddlers and children, teens, and eating disorders.

Pregnancy, Infants, and Children
VeganHealth offers information on soy formulas and other references.

Vegetarian and Vegan Kids and Teens
In a Vegetarian Kitchen presents kid- and teen-friendly recipes along with a wealth of articles by various authors on topics such as school lunches, healthy eating on road trips, picky eaters, and sneaking nutrition into kids’ meals.

Veg for Kids
Farm Sanctuary offers a list of veggie snacks for kids that can be ordered online, online shops for cruelty-free kids’ clothing, shoes and accessories, kid-friendly recipes, books, and other resources for parents and kids.

Humane Resources for Parents and Educators
Humane children characterized by kindness, mercy, and compassion can make this a better world for all. The Humane Society of the United States offers lesson plans and activities to educate, inspire, and engage kids at all grade levels to have respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals. Includes tips for parents and educators, and profiles of kids in action helping animals.