As soon as babies hit the toddler age, things become very challenging for parents. One thing that probably causes them the most stress is whether their child is eating right and receiving all important nutrients to grow and develop properly. Here we will discuss the Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition for Toddlers.
While a well-balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, meat, whole grains, and dairy is the typically recommended nutrition for toddlers, there may be occasions where another type of diet is a better solution.
For example, plant-based nutrition has become widely accepted for both adults and children of all ages. Despite its name which indicates that a majority of the foods come from plant-based sources such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes, individuals who follow this diet can also eat meat and dairy products.
Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition for Toddlers
Therefore, if you want to switch up your toddler’s diet, here are some reasons why plant-based nutrition is an excellent alternative.
Contains lots of nutrients
Although a plant-based diet lacks the typical nutrients found in meat and dairy products, toddlers can still receive the same and other necessary vitamins and minerals from plant-based foods.
For example, calcium is a mineral usually found in dairy products, but it is also present in dark leafy green veggies like broccoli and fortified nut or soy milk.
If you think that your child needs a nutritious booster, you can also consider implementing a plant-based formula into their diet. You can add the formula to smoothies, oatmeal, and other tasty foods and reach the recommended intake of nutrients for your child.
Another great benefit of choosing plant-based nutrition for your toddler is that it can help protect them from severe health conditions. If your child’s diet consists of lots of meat and dairy, there is a great chance that they may have problems with high cholesterol levels, heart diseases, and even obesity.
Therefore, to prevent the occurrence of such diseases, you should implement more vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains into your diet. All of these foods contain the essential nutrients that are necessary for proper growth and development without the risk of suffering from a severe health issue.
Stomach aches are very common in young children and can easily disrupt the daily functioning of their digestive system. This can lead to loss of appetite or underweight problems which won’t be a good thing for the overall health of your little one. An effective way of dealing with such issues is to switch to a plant-based diet.
In general, plant foods contain dietary fiber which is extremely helpful in improving gut health. Their biggest benefit is that they maintain bowel health by normalizing bowel movements, which is something many children suffer from when they are young.
Another common issue parents struggle with their toddlers is allergies. For example, dairy products such as cow’s milk contain proteins that may cause irritation in children as well as congestion of the sinuses and nasal passages. This makes breathing much harder which can also have an impact on their daily food intake.
Therefore, opting for a plant-based diet is an excellent solution to provide your little one with allergy relief. This is due to the presence of fiber which helps with gut bacteria and lowers the risk of allergic reactions to food.
Free of added sugar
There is no secret that toddlers love sugar and if they can, they will eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, consuming too much of it can disrupt their digestive system and lead to severe health conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
So, with a plant-based diet, you will be keeping sugar levels low as you will be feeding your child fresh fruits and whole grains that have natural sugar in them. Whenever your toddler is craving something sweet, you can make lots of fruity smoothies and snacks so they can fight their sugar urges.
Helpful Tips: How to Feed Your Vegan Baby
- Breast milk or formula should be your main source of nutrition for at least a year, but solid foods can start at six months of age. If you have any doubts about formula or breastfeeding, consult your dietitian.
- Home-made porridge should not be too liquid in consistency. Adding vegetable oil to the porridge will help increase calories, make the porridge tastier, and reduce the sticky texture when cold.
- Try to use soybean or canola oil instead of sunflower or corn oil. This stimulates the production of fatty acids, which are important for the development of the brain and vision.
- Do not allow babies to drink a lot before eating.
- Brush the bread with avocado or peanut butter for more calories.
- Use a low salt yeast extract – it will serve as a good source of B vitamins (check for B12 before buying).
- Well-cooked mashed beans (such as lentils) provide energy and protein. For better digestion, it is important to pass the beans through a sieve to help remove the skin from them.
- Choose tofu fortified with calcium and protein.
- Make sure your child spends enough time in the sun; otherwise, provide vitamin D. Vitamins D2 and D3 (eg from Vitashine) are suitable for a vegan diet.
- Use non-animal milk, such as soy milk, fortified with calcium, vitamins D2 and B12.
- Green vegetables are a great source of iron, calcium, and antioxidants. If your child doesn’t like vegetables, try cooking them as a tomato paste, or suggest trying sweet vegetables like carrots with juice.
Without a doubt, a plant-based diet can be affordable, nutritious, and delicious, which is necessary to raise a happy and healthy child.
Despite contrary belief, plant-based nutrition is just as healthy as the traditional well-balanced diet. The foods that make up the majority of it such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains contain all essential nutrients that are necessary for proper growth and development in children. This means that you can make tons of nutritious recipes that will be just as tasty as animal-based ones.
For more information about plant-based nutrition, keep our post nearby to learn how this diet can be beneficial for your children.