So you've decided to raise your kids vegetarian, or your older child has chose that vegetarian is the way of life for him. What are some things to consider?

So you’ve decided to raise your kids vegetarian, or your older child has chose that vegetarian is the way of life for him. What are some things to consider? Kelli and I don’t claim to be vegetarian and we aren’t convinced that it’s the best way to go. We do believe, however, that plants should be the main focus on your dinner plate, and meat, if served at all, is clean, lean, and healthy, fish being our preferred choice because it typically wins in those three categories.

But nutritionally, it’s not your vegetarian children that you’ll have to worry about.

First of all, know he’s taken a huge step to avoiding a lot of the health issues facing children today. Many children are at risk for weight problems- and the related concerns like diabetes – and things only get worse as they reach adulthood. One in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes at some point in his or her life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease and diet-related cancers are epidemics. But children raised as vegetarians or choose to eat vegetarian isolate themselves from a lot of these concerns.

According to a statement from the American Dietetic Association in 2009, “Vegetarian diets are often associated with a number of health advantages, including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels, and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Vegetarians tend to have lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates.”

What about proper nutrition for growing children? According to the ADA, vegetarian children grow just fine. In fact, in a study of 1,765 children and adolescents in Southern California, vegetarians actually average about an inch taller than their meat-eating counterparts.

You should know that plants are a premier source of protein, calcium, and iron. A diet rich in variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains will provide almost all of the nutrients any body needs to develop strong and healthy. The main concern will be providing enough vitamin B12, which is not found in plants naturally. However, there are many breakfast cereals, soymilk, and multivitamins fortified with B12. Most nutritionists for vegetarians and meat-eaters recommend a daily multivitamin to make sure you’re getting enough B12 in your diet. If you’ll seek out a convenient source of B12 and make sure it’s taken daily, you’ve got all your based covered.

So when it comes to growth and overall health, don’t worry about your vegetarians kids. Your vegetarian children are going to be just fine. It’s the meat eaters in your house you’ll have to make sure are saving enough room in their stomachs for an adequate amount of produce.

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