Nutrition for Children

A well-balanced plant diet is nutritious for children. Plant food contains all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that young ones need to grow and thrive - together with joyful play outdoors (with the exception of vitamin B12. ) By moving their bodies, like running and jumping, children will build healthy and strong bones. Being out in the sun also provides them with vitamin D that assists the absorption of calcium. (Vitamin D is produced by sunlight on the skin.)

The three micro-nutrients that are easiest for children to fall short on are calcium, vitamin D and iron. Below you can read about foods that contain these minerals and vitamins. In addition, you can read about healthy omega-3, which are a valuable essential fatty acids. (Essential means that the body cannot make the fatty acid so we must add it through our food.)


Since active B12 not is found in plant food, children need daily supplementation (usually about 3 micrograms or more per day is recommended). If your child already takes a multivitamin a day, just check the label to make sure it contains adequate B12. As well replace soy and rice milks and cereals with B12 fortified versions.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium and plays an important role in building healthy bones. Through the sun, children absorb vitamin D. It is also recommended to give children a vitamin D supplement. For families living in the northern hemisphere, vitamin D is especially important in the winter when there is little sun.

Green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, collard greens), whole grain cereals and almonds 
contain calcium. It is also a good idea to add products like soy and rice milks that are fortified with the same level of calcium available in milk.

To make your children´s bones happy and to continue busily growing, let your children play daily and have fun outdoors, so they can soak up vitamin D from the sun. As well, make sure they get plenty of calcium from fresh vegetables and fortified food.

Among many other things, iron is needed for growth of a child´s organs. As well, too little iron can also make a child tired and sleepy. By eating whole grain, fortified breads and cereals, beets, dark green vegetables, nuts & seeds, your children will get iron. Iron from plant sources is best absorbed with vitamin C, so try serving the bread together with a few slices of red bell pepper (which surprisingly contains much more vitamin C than oranges!)
Supplementation is recommended if a child has low iron stores but iron supplementation should only be started after advice from a doctor.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for children´s brain development.
Some rich sources of fatty acids are chia, flax and hemp seeds. Chia seeds make wonderful puddings when served with colourful berries. Chia seeds can also be served in a glass of water to older kids, and flax seeds can be sprinkled over salads or added to salad dressings, trail mixes or eaten as a snack. Like seeds, oil hemp and canola oil can be added to salads and shakes. 
Supplementation is also recommended: Happy Delight (from Pure Planet), Udo´s Choice and some other oils are good sources of omega-3, in addition to flax and chia seeds. Happy Delight has a delicious fresh and light taste of citrus that some children enjoy. (Just make sure you select a high-quality oil.)

Here you can read more about nutrition for children living on plant food.
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