Resources for Raising Vegetarian and Vegan Children

children smiling with a globe behind them and vegetables floating in the skyAll parents need to pay attention to providing good nutrition for their children. Raising kids vegetarian can give them an advantage. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 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 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 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.

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

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – Position Statement on Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage.”

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – Full Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets (PDF)
Here is the Academy’s most recent full position paper, published in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. To view the sections on Pregnant and Lactating Women, and Infants, Children, and Adolescents, scroll down to page 1975.

Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
This website provides nutrition guidance from Registered Dietitians for children of all age categories, along with nutritious recipes that appeal to kids. There are also detailed fact sheets on nutrition for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, school-aged children, and teenagers.

booklet, Nutrition for Kids, a dietary approach to lifelong health, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Resources

Nutrition for Kids: Plant-Based Diets for Infants, Children, and Teens
A comprehensive guide covering nutrient needs, making the switch, classic kids’ meals, sample menus, meal planning for various age groups, school lunches, popular kids recipes, and a glossary. 

A Vegan Diet During Pregnancy
An overview of nutrition needs and related articles.

Healthy School Food: Improving School Food with Plant-Based Meals
Offer more nutrient and fiber rich plant foods rather than menus too high in saturated fat and cholesterol. 

piglet with girl in a vintage post card

Additional Nutrition and Guidance Resources

Vegan Pregnancy: Nutrition Advice & Key Supplements
Optimal nutrition both prior to and during pregnancy is critically important as mother’s diet is supporting herself and the development of a new life. This article discusses key nutrients to pay attention to, and their roles in fetal development. It also discusses foods and beverages to avoid during pregnancy, multiple births, cravings, nausea, and simple guidelines for a healthy vegan pregnancy. More detail is in the author’s book.

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. 

T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies: Family & Kids
This authoritative source of nutrition information offers a library of topics to browse.

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

Forks Over Knives Family: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Kids on a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet
Filled with more than 125 quick-and-easy recipes, helpful tips, and the latest in scientific findings, this book authored by two MDs specializing in nutrition and lifestyle medicine aims to keep your family well-nourished through the years. It provides an in-depth look at the role of nutrition at every stage of a child’s development, and is bolstered by easy-to-understand tips and tricks.

Cooking with Kids
Chef Chad Sarno, who co-created the Rouxbe’s Professional Certification Course, has created a series of online classes where even the youngest of kids can participate. Classes demonstrate simple, super delicious recipes for snacks, dips, breakfasts, packed lunches, meals, sweets & treats, and more, made from healthy whole plant food ingredients. They aim to help create healthy lifelong habits in the kitchen.

Humane Education Resources

This website provides 800+ reviews of children’s books, movies, and other media from a veg perspective. It is a resource for parents and teachers to find books and movies that affirm vegetarian and vegan values.

Humane Education Resources for Parents and Educators
Humane children characterized by kindness, mercy, and compassion can make this a better world for all. Farm Sanctuary offers free online classes to educate, inspire, and engage kids at all grade levels to have respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals. They also offer Free Downloadable Curriculums, and Tips & Tools for Youth Advocacy.

Humane Education Teaching Resources
Free teaching guides on Humane Education, Kindness for All, and Justice for All, with lessons and activities for pre-K to grade 12 students developed by HEART, a NY-based nonprofit dedicated to humane education. They also offer a climate literacy toolkit designed for K-12 teachers. HEART also offers digital classroom tools which feature interactive lessons on a variety of animal protection, social justice, and environmental conservation themes.

Institute for Humane Education
IHE’s mission is to educate people to create a world in which all humans, animals, and nature can thrive. They offer online Master’s and Doctoral Programs in Humane Education delivered in partnership with Antioch University and designed to prepare teachers and changemakers to educate about the interconnected issues of human rights, environmental ethics, and animal protection. They offer professional development workshops, books, activity/lesson plans, global issues guides, a one-week humane education immersion course on their oceanfront campus near Acadia National Park in Maine, as well as other resources aimed at teaching the practice of doing the most good and least harm to people, animals, and the environment.

Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp
YEA Camp brings together youth from 12-17 years old who are interested in having fun while learning ways to make positive changes in the world in areas of human rights, environmental sustainability, and animal protection. The food served at this week-long summer camp is vegan, mostly organic, fair-trade, with local produce where possible. People come from all over the country to participate in YEA Camp – and it is held right here in Massachusetts!

rabbit hopping back and forth