Mainstream health organizations differ in their recommendations for vegan diets for children.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the world's largest association of Registered Dietitians) makes this statement regarding vegetarian diets:
"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is more cautious in its recommendation:
"Following are the common categories of vegetarians. Although none eat meat, poultry, or fish, there are other areas in which they vary:
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarians consume eggs, dairy products, and plant foods.
- Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products and plant foods but not eggs.
- Vegans eat only plant foods, no eggs or dairy products.
Children can be well nourished on all three types of vegetarian diet, but nutritional balance is very difficult to achieve if dairy products and eggs are completely eliminated. Vegetarians sometimes consume insufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D if they remove milk products from their diet."
In the event that you and your husband do introduce your kids to a vegan diet, please be aware that vegan nutrition recommendations for kids are different than those for adults. A low-fat
vegan diet is not appropriate for children. Vegan Outreach has online resources for vegan children's nutrition: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/preginfchil
You might find it useful to make an appointment with a local Registered Dietitian (RD) who specializes in pediatric nutrition and in vegetarian nutrition. A Registered Dietitian is a licensed professional with a university degree, national qualification, and compulsory ongoing education in human nutrition. About 40% of Registered Dietitians have a master's or doctoral degree as well. In the United States, you can find a local Registered Dietitian through the website of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics: http://www.eatright.org
. Just click on the red "Find An Expert" button in the upper right-hand part of the page.
Do not seek nutrition information from a "nutritionist". The title "nutritionist" has no legal meaning, and has no educational requirements. Literally anyone can do business as a "nutritionist": http://eatrightdc.org/dietitian-vs-nutritionist/