Teenagers need to eat healthy. Teens who eat a Vegan diet are getting the best nutrition possible. But due to specific demands a young growing body needs teens need to make extra sure to get these 5 nutrients. This is important for parents of teen vegans and for teens going it alone.
Let’s be honest, handling a vegan diet is nearly as complex as being a biochemist. If you mess up you are not going to blow up the world. But over time, certain nutritional deficiencies can cause some health problems. It’s important to address this for any vegan, but especially for teens.
One challenge that teen vegans may face is that of an unsupportive family. In many cases the family makes it impossible for the teen to be vegan. In other cases they just make it very difficult. Not getting support from the family can make going vegan hard. And if the teen does go vegan anyway, getting a balanced diet can be nearly impossible.
Even of they do get support from the family, how many moms really know the nutrition involved in a healthy vegan diet? I know 10 year adult vegans who are still getting it wrong. It’s important to make sure this is something healthy and sustainable for these kids who are trying.
There are a few things to remember when feeding a growing teen. Their bodies are growing and doing so very quickly. Getting the nutritional support to make that happen is very important at this stage of life. There are a few simple things to remember to make sure we are getting it right.
If you are a teenager that is going vegan, or the parent of one, get lot’s of legumes. You want to get at least 5 servings per day. This includes things like beans, soy milk, peanuts or peanut butter, tempeh, and tofu. There are so many different ways to eat those things so keep it interesting.
You want to get plenty of iron as a growing teen too. Basically you want to eat plenty of food rich in vitamin C combined with Iron rich foods. This includes meals like pasta and tomato based sauces, a bean soup with plenty of tomatoes and peppers, a broccoli dish with a peanut sauce, or something like oatmeal and strawberries for breakfast.
Don’t forget about those growing bones. Almost half of your skeleton is formed when you are a teenager. For the vegan teen this means getting lots of high quality calcium. You want to get around 5 servings of calcium per day to support growing bone health. Tofu, fortified plant milks, almonds, bok choy, kale, and dried figs are just a few great sources of calcium.
The final two nutrients are something all vegans need but it’s especially important for teens. Make sure to supplement with at least 25 micrograms of cyanocobalamin B12 every day or 150 micrograms once per week. And get plenty of Vegan Vitamin D3. Generally between 600 IU’s and 1000 IU’s per day is recommended. Photo Source: Vancouver Public Library