Q My eight-year-old daughter has said that she’s interested in being vegan like me – is there anything I need to make sure she does/eats more of to have a balanced diet? What should I do about school lunches and when she goes to her friend’s house?
Brilliant news! Well, firstly rest assured that a well-planned, balanced vegan diet contains all the essential nutrients for optimal health at any age, including childhood.
- Turn mealtimes into a fun activity. Involve your daughter in the prep and cooking, especially if she’s a fussy eater. Try ‘hiding’ healthy foods in sauces or smoothies.
- School vegan offerings can vary considerably. Contact the caterers, ask what they are currently providing. Find out if any other children at school are vegan, then join with their parents to make a stronger case for more, improved vegan options. And you can always pack her off with lots of healthy vegan snacks each morning!
- Speak to the friends’ parents ahead of visits. Explain you are both vegan, the reasons why, and let them know which foods are suitable and which aren’t. Perhaps make it easy for them by bringing some food round, enough for everyone to try?
- Take a look at this post on how to get all the nutrients you need from a vegan diet.
- Everybody needs a regular source of vitamin B12, so make sure you’re both consuming enough foods that contain and are fortified with this vitamin.
Jimmy Pierce is Media Manager for The Vegan Society, the oldest vegan organisation in the world whose founders coined the word ‘vegan’ back in 1944. An educational charity, The Vegan Society seeks to inform the public about all aspects of veganism, and also campaigns for change at a policy level. Jimmy acts as its media spokesperson, regularly liaising with the press and appearing on radio to spread a positive vegan message as far as possible. www.vegansociety.com
Do you need help with your vegan cooking, or do you have a nutritional query? Email your question to [email protected]