Veganism has boomed over the years with more and more people taking on the lifestyle. The plant-based diet that some say is a 'trend' is even being pursued by children, but there is some speculation on whether the diet is safe for them.
We caught up with Katie Ormerod – an MAHAAH Clinic Nutritionist and registered healthcare care professional with ten years' experience working in the NHS and the private healthcare sector as a paramedic and advanced practitioner – to find out whether vegan diets are appropriate for kids.
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As a nutritionist, Katie says that being plant-based as a child encourages them to adopt a natural wholefood diet that avoids processed and fatty foods. She said: "Children are able to eat a wide range of vegetables, pulses, fruits and seeds which will set them up with good habits throughout life."
The vegan diet is becoming increasingly popular amongst children after parents have seen the benefits, Katie notes. "We are finding that as more health information supports plant-based diets to prevent chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes, parents are choosing to go plant-based so in turn their children are," she said. "Additionally, people are becoming more are of the damages of the meat and fish industry and the negative impact they have on the planet."
A vegan diet will set children up with "good habits throughout life," nutritionist Katie Ormerod said
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Despite the increase in children following a vegan diet, many parents may have concerns surrounding whether they are consuming a wide range of amino acids, as protein is needed for optimum health. "They may worry about how to ensure enough protein intake for adequate growth," said Katie, noting: "It can also be tricky to get enough vitamin b12, folate and omega 3 fatty acids in the vegan diet, however, guidance from a nutritionist can help people learn how to best meet their nutritional needs on a plant-based diet."
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Marina Koseleva is the director and founder of FIT (Food I Trust) and the mother of three boys who are all vegans. Marina started FIT, a healthy meal delivery company as she "wanted to provide a service that [she] couldn't find anywhere to help people eat healthy".
Marina and her youngest son
She decided to raise her children as vegan as she believes it will be beneficial in the long-term. Speaking to HELLO!, she explained: "I wanted my kids to be exposed to a much wider variety of foods right from the start as well as for them to grow up to be strong and healthy."
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She added that she didn't face many difficulties in her decision other than educating loved ones around her on the importance of being vegan. "It is the same with school lunches and school friends," she said. "They were often offering non-vegan options and I had to explain to our boys why they eat different meals and why it's important for them."
Marina is raising her three boys on a vegan diet
Her three boys enjoy attempting new vegan cuisines as their meals are full of colour and therefore pleasing to the eye. "I also explained to my kids that by eating vegan they are making a huge difference to the world and it makes them very proud," she said.
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