I am pretty sure that you have had your fair share of experiences as a Vegan. Being vegan is not a very easy lifestyle to choose especially when starting out. It however gets easier with time and you may at some point begin to enjoy it as your body adjusts to it.
Having chosen this eating pattern for a while now, you most likely have concluded that being vegan is the healthy way to go. I am sure you don’t just want to enjoy this healthy lifestyle alone but want to raise your toddler as a vegan. Who wouldn’t want the best for their children? As good as this desire for your toddler to be raised as a vegan is, it is not as easy as you think and there are several reasons for that. What makes raising a vegan child less easier than being a vegan?
You will find out shortly but first, what are some of the benefits of raising a vegan toddler?
- Raises your child’s consciousness to healthy eating: From an early stage, a vegan child is taught how to appreciate what he eats. So much research carried out over the years has shown that some kind of relationship exists between a child’s behavior and his diet. So the saying that you are what you eat is true in every sense. Training your child to be vegan at an early stage shields the child from being introduced to fast food at an early stage. These fast foods are rich in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates. Little wonder children who take a lot of fast food suffer weight and other health challenges. So you can rest assured that your vegan toddler will bypass some of these feeding challenges.
- Vegan children tend to appreciate their food more: This is true in every sense of it. Because vegan children are raised to be selective in the kind of food they eat, they tend to value what they eat based on its health benefits. But it doesn’t end at that. They are also able to value even the food they are not eating. Vegan children tend to think more deeply about what they are consuming and its implications on their bodies.
- Vegan kids have a variety of food to choose from: Vegan toddlers are exposed early enough to different kinds of food. This is because their foods include a different lineup of plant-base food that may be missing in a normal diet. So from this early stage, the child’s palate samples a wide range of nutrition-filled food, therefore, making it possible to eat a variety of food as adults.
What makes the vegan toddler feeding more difficult than that of an adult vegan?
There are many reasons why raising a vegan toddler isn’t as easy as being vegan. For the most part, you are the one making that decision for the child and this alone comes with its fair share of challenges. Let’s find out what these challenges are;
#1. Challenges from friends, family, and others who may hold a different view
So much controversy surrounds raising a vegan toddler than being vegan as an adult. In some parts of the world like Belgium, a vegan diet is seen as denying a child access to healthy food and can lead to jail term when caught. Others have experienced a concern that the vegan toddler may not be getting enough nutrients from the plant-based meal they are consuming. Vegan parents, therefore, go through a lot of criticism.
Some of your friends can make comments about how you chose to raise your child. So you may be put in a situation where you have to defend your decision all the time. Also, if you leave your child with your family or friends, you cannot guarantee that they are not feeding your vegan toddler non-vegan diet without your knowledge. This can frustrate the efforts you have made seeing that the child is not old enough to object to being lured into eating non-vegan foods.
#2. Maneuvering through school lunches
Most of the lunches served in school make little or no provision for a vegan toddler. What this means is that the parent may have to go the extra mile to pack lunch boxes for the toddler every day. As an adult, you can walk into any place and order what you prefer but this is not so for a toddler. Specific instructions will have to be left with the school on the child’s feeding and providing vegan options for their toddler.
Another challenge that may come up here is from your child’s playmates. Children generally like to share. Therefore, if your child has non-vegan friends, there is a possibility that they would offer their food to your child. It is now left for the child to either accept or reject. You may have to work on communicating effectively with your ward to avoid this.
#3. Deciding on what to eat
Deciding on what to eat as a vegan and bringing in variety while at it can be a tough one for an adult and more for a toddler. Children unlike adults need specific nutrients for proper body formation. So deciding on what food to give to a vegan toddler daily to ensure they get the right serving of nutrients is a challenge parents will have to surmount. You may also have to research further to know the specific nutrients needed for balanced growth and possible ways of supplementing when the child can’t get enough of it.
#4. Managing school trips
Many times, schools organize trips to zoos where animals are kept under a cage. Because most vegan toddlers have been informed about agriculture and caging of animals, there may be outbursts during such trips. In such a situation, you may have to speak with the school staff for the child to be exempted from such trips. This may give the child the feeling of being left out which may not be the same for an adult.
Raising a vegan child may be slightly less easy than being vegan but it is not an impossible task. It may just require you to pay more attention to things that would ordinarily not have been an issue. Sure minor challenges may arise from family, school, and friends alike but if properly handled, wouldn’t affect the health and well-being of the child. All you have to do is stand your ground and insist on the best for your child.