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Vegan Children

Nataly Shemesh

Nataly Shemesh

Registered Dietitian
Vegan Children
Vegan Children

Can Children be Vegan? Absolutely!

According to the American Dietetic Association, “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.”

Let's Try Vegan, together.

Let's Try Vegan, together.

Sign up & join over 250k who've already taken the 22 day vegan experience
Sign up & join over 250k who've already taken the 22 day vegan experience
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Health/nutritional condition

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn's disease or Colitis
Sadly, the Challenge is not suited for people with Crohn’s/Colitis, since people who have those diseases require a personal dietary consult when transitioning to veganism. Veganism can be suitable for most people with those diseases (and in some cases even help prolong remission), but the transition is usually best done gradually and carefully.

The Challenge 22 program cannot serve as a replacement for a personal consult with a dietitian who specializes in this field. You can use the group and the program for recipe ideas and useful tips related to the vegan lifestyle, but do it while being mindful of your digestive system’s symptoms. For example, if legumes such as beans and chickpeas cause you unpleasant symptoms, it’s best not to eat them before your personal consult. In any case, we recommend contacting a dietitian specializing in gastro and veganism, and receive personal guidance.

In order for us to approve your participation in the group, we need your approval on the following text:
I
understand that transitioning to veganism using the Challenge 22 program by Animals Now is not a replacement for a personal consult by a dietitian specializing in gastro diseases and veganism. I also understand that for most people with digestive system issues such as Crohn’s or Colitis it is best to transition to veganism gradually and with guidance from a professional. I understand that the Challenge’s program can aid in gradually changing to a plant-based diet in terms of recipe ideas and various cooking and lifestyle tips, but it is not the program’s main goal.
Bariatric surgery
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Less than a year ago
Sadly, Challenge 22 is not suited for people who recently went through bariatric surgery, since those people need personal guidance by a clinical dietitian who specializes in bariatrics as they transition to veganism. This is because the transition is usually best done gradually and carefully in order to avoid intestinal blockage or any nutritional deficiencies.

The Challenge 22 program cannot serve as a replacement for a personal consult with a dietitian who specializes in this field. You can use the group and the program for recipe ideas and useful tips related to the vegan lifestyle, but do it while being mindful of your digestive system’s symptoms. For example, if legumes such as beans and chickpeas cause you unpleasant symptoms, it’s best not to eat them before your personal consult. In an case, we recommend contacting a dietitian specializing in gastro and veganism, and receive personal guidance.

In order for us to approve your participation in the group, we need your approval on the following text:

I
understand that transitioning to veganism using the Challenge 22 program by Animals Now is not a replacement for personal consult by a dietitian specializing in gastro diseases and veganism. I also understand that for most people who recently went through bariatric surgery it is best to transition to veganism gradually and with guidance from a professional. I understand that the Challenge’s program can aid in gradually changing to a plant-based diet in terms of recipe ideas and various cooking and lifestyle tips, but it is not the program’s main goal.
Over a year ago (with no special complications)
Usually, transitioning to veganism is not a problem when you’ve had bariatric surgery in the past. However, we do recommend consulting a dietitian who specializes in veganism and bariatrics alongside the program.

Irritable bowel syndrome, bloating or other digestion sensitivity
Veganism can sometimes aid in cases of digestive system discomfort. However, a drastic/fast change in your diet can sometimes actually worsen your symptoms. Usually, for people with digestive system issues it’s best to transition to veganism gradually and with personal guidance from a professional who specializes in veganism and digestive issues.

The Challenge 22 program cannot serve as a replacement for a personal consult with a dietitian who specializes in this field. You can use the group and the program for recipe ideas and useful tips related to the vegan lifestyle, but do it while being mindful of your digestive system’s symptoms. For example, if legumes such as beans and chickpeas cause unpleasant symptoms, it’s best not to eat them before your personal consult.
Eating disorder - anorexia or bulimia (past or present)
Sadly, anorexia and bulimia are medical conditions that we can not take responsibility for in Challenge 22. A present eating disorder, but also a past one, is a condition that requires close personal guidance by a professional while going through dietary changes, and the Challenge program cannot supply this kind of guidance.

It’s important for us to make it clear that the reason that the Challenge cannot take responsibility for your condition is out of concern for your health. Transitioning to veganism while having an eating disorder is possible, but requires the help, approval and personal guidance of professionals who know your situation well (dietitian, psychiatrist and/or other physician).
Eating disorder - other type
Sadly, Challenge 22 is not suitable for people with eating disorders, since they require personal guidance by a clinical dietitian while transitioning to veganism, and it’s usually recommended that they do the transition gradually. The Challenge program is supported by dietitians, but it cannot replace personal consult by a dietitian. The group and program can aid in recipe ideas and tips related to the vegan lifestyle, but it has to be done with great care and while setting an appointment with a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders.

In order for us to approve your participation in the group, we need your approval on the following text:
I
understand that transitioning to veganism using the Challenge 22 program by Animals Now is not a replacement for a personal consult by a dietitian specializing in eating disorders. I also understand that for most people with eating disorders it’s best to transition to veganism gradually and with guidance from a professional. I understand that the Challenge’s program can aid in gradually changing to a plant-based diet in terms of recipe ideas and various cooking and lifestyle tips, but it is not the program’s main goal.
Other medical condition that may affect your diet (for example, cancer, diabetes, high blood fat, etc.)
Veganism can be healthy in almost every medical condition, and in some cases may even be an advantage. However, if you have a medical issue that affects your diet, it’s important to make your transition to veganism with guidance from a dietitian who specializes in veganism, and, even better, one who also specializes in your specific medical condition.

In order for us to approve your participation in the group, we need your approval on the following text:
I
understand that The Challenge program is supported by dietitians, but it cannot replace personal consult by a dietitian who specializes in veganism.
Join The Challenge!
Use Terms

Challenge 22 : Terms of Use

I am hereby informed and aware that my participation in the Challenge 22 group, including all content published in the group, i.e. questions and answers, explanations and tips - is not a substitute for professional counseling (nutritional, medical or other), and that the responsibility to eat a healthy, balanced diet rests exclusively with me, the participant.

Animals Now and the Challenge 22 team will not be held accountable for any health problem or other issue which can occur as a result of bad nutrition or conduct during my participation in the Challenge 22 program. Additionally, I am aware that the medical and nutritional information given in the program is general and cannot take into account specific conditions or personal requirements of each participant.

The Challenge 22 program, in itself, cannot be an exclusive framework for people with diseases or with special health/nutritional/mental conditions, such as eating disorders, gastrointestinal or digestive diseases, bariatric surgery and pregnancy. In these cases, it is highly recommended to get additional personal counseling with an appropriate healthcare professional, in place of or in addition to participation in the Challenge 22 program.

*If you have any special requirements and are in need of personal support, you may consult with one of the program mentors regarding the appropriate professional to reach out to.

* Challenge 22 was created and is run by Animals Now, an NGO based in Israel.


Online guidance by mentors & registered dietitians

Friendly & supportive environment   

Plenty of fabulous recipes

Free!

Free!

Online guidance by mentors & registered dietitians

Friendly & supportive environment

Plenty of fabulous recipes

Over 250,000 already participated

When we refer to an “appropriately planned” vegan diet, we are speaking of a diet that includes all the vegan food groups: vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. Since not all children typically consume the entire variety the vegan diet has to offer, it’s important to make a smart transition. Instead of just eliminating animal products from the daily menu, first add new foods, then remove the problematic ones. It may get frustrating from time to time, and it’s important to be patient and keep offering your kids new foods, even if they’ve declared in the past that they don’t like them.

It’s good to know that the more accustomed children are to eating healthy from a young age, the better the chances they will grow to be adults who enjoy healthy food. Not only that, but in our experience, children who are vegan from infancy are usually more open to trying new flavors and food textures.

Legumes are a key ingredient for children as well as adults. They are an important source of protein, iron and zinc, all vital for growth. If your children aren’t used to eating legumes, it’s important to allow them to get used to them before eliminating meat and other animal products from their daily menu, so as not to let an unbalanced diet affect their growth process. It’s a good idea to start with legumes that are easier to digest, such as lentils, tofu, peas and mung beans, and then move on to more complex legumes. To make things even easier on small digestive systems, we recommend sprouting, or at least soaking legumes before cooking.

It’s important to incorporate healthy sources of calcium into a child’s daily menu: tofu, soy milk, white beans, broccoli, tahini, green beans and oranges are all good examples. Speaking of soy milk, it’s way more nutritious than other types of plant-based milk, which usually contain only a small amount of protein (check the box at the supermarket and see for yourself).

We recommend incorporating healthy fats into your child’s daily diet, such as olive oil, avocados, tahini and nut butters. This is particularly important for young children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, and so on, particularly if the child is not a big eater in general.

What about supplements? All vegans should take a B12 supplement, kids included – it’s recommended to give them one every 2-3 days starting at 6 months. In addition, vitamin D supplement is recommended for all babies (regardless of their diet) from birth for at least 1 year, and in some countries, it is also recommended to supplement iron, vitamin A and vitamin C. For specifics to your child and your country, we recommend consulting a dietitian or pediatrician.

For small children who are not big eaters, it’s a good idea to let them fill up on foods that are rich in protein, minerals and calories. Save fresh vegetables for snacks or for after large meals.

And what about picky eaters? There are many ways to incorporate legumes, nut butters and tofu into dishes for particularly suspecting children. Try lentil burgers or breaded tofu sticks, use lentil or chickpea flour in different baked goods, or even try mashing some white beans in with your mashed potatoes. You can find more ideas here: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/vegan-recipes-your-kids-will-love/

You can also ask here in the group, of course, and our mentors will be happy to give you more tips and ideas.

We also recommend, as many parents prefer, to consult with a vegan dietitian to help children transition to veganism in a smooth, healthy way. We definitely encourage seeking professional help.

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