The popularity of plant-based diets has skyrocketed over the past 15 years from just 290,000 to now 9.6 million! Even more consumers have begun to experiment with plant-based alternatives, with sales of plant-based meat, cheese, milk, and eggs growing 17 percent in 2018.
There is no shortage of reasons to consume a vegan diet. A recent study of 48,000 people found that people who eat vegan and vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease. This research found that those who didn’t eat meat had ten fewer cases of heart disease per 1,000 people compared with meat-eaters in the study.
People who lower their intake of animal products tend to score better on health markers with benefits like better cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, which are both major risk factors for heart disease.
With all these clear benefits, transitioning to a plant-based, vegan diet is a no-brainer for many adults. But what about children?
Children and Vegan Products
Children can also benefit from a plant-based diet. And you can help them transition into this lifestyle with a vegan nutrition shake or smoothie. These healthy beverages are one of the best ways to deliver essential nutrients to your child while helping them expand their palate and even discover the joys of a plant-based lifestyle.
Brightly colored vegan nutrition shakes and smoothies with fun themes can help your child fall in love with a plant-based diet. A spinach packed Hulk-smoothie or a whimsical unicorn shake topped with vegan coconut whip cream will definitely win you some parenting points with your kids—and some nutrition points with their little tummies.
Below, we’ll break down our top three reasons to offer your child a vegan nutrition shake for their next breakfast or midday snack.
#1 More Control Over Allergies
Unfortunately, allergies are a growing problem for children. Nearly 5 percent of children under the age of five have food allergies.
Notably, almost 90 percent of all food allergies are caused by only eight foods. These foods are:
- Tree nuts
Egg, milk, and peanuts are the most common food allergies in children, while peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish often cause the most severe reactions. Interestingly enough, half of these common allergens, including two of three most common allergens, can be eliminated with a vegan diet (milk, eggs, fish, and shellfish).
Food allergies have widespread nutritional implications including the loss of essential foods from the diet and, subsequently, the loss of micro and macronutrients. Additionally, undiagnosed or poorly managed allergies could result in decreased nutritional intake which, in turn, negatively affects health.
To turn this narrative on its head, a vegan nutrition shake can both offer your child the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive, while giving parents full control over their child’s food allergies.
Note on Potentially Preventing Food Allergies in Kids
A study by NCBI suggests that parents can potentially prevent their child from developing food allergies by exposing them early on to common food allergies such as: cow’s milk, wheat, eggs, peanut, and fish during the first year of their child’s life.
#2 Soothe Sensitive Stomachs
Even children without allergies can experience food intolerances like lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is one of the most prevalent food intolerances in the world. In fact, experts suggest that 68% of the world’s population suffers from lactose malabsorption (a prerequisite of lactose intolerance). In the U.S., that number is around 36%.
Lactose intolerance involves a long list of symptoms that can leave your child feeling miserable. These unpleasant side effects tend to worsen if your child consumes a higher frequency of lactose. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Watery diarrhea
It’s important that lactose intolerant children still receive enough of the essential nutrients like calcium. This is where a vegan nutrition shake can be a tummy-saver for parents. Plant-based alternative shakes made from healthy base ingredients, like almond, rice, hemp, and oat milk, offer kids who are lactose intolerant the ability to ingest the nutrients they need to play all day long, upset-stomach-free.
For an Added Boost of Calcium
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and kale are also a great addition to your child’s vegan nutrition shake. These green treats are packed with bone-enhancing calcium. And for a little extra sweetness? Add a small cup of calcium-fortified orange juice to the base of the shake.
#3 Benefit the Environment From a Young Age
In addition to its numerous health benefits, a vegan diet can also benefit the earth!
Some studies have shown that vegan diets usually have significantly lower carbon, water, and ecological footprints than non plant-based diets. Introducing plant-based alternatives like vegan nutrition shakes can help your children learn about their ability to positively impact the world.
Children look to their parents to learn about the world and their place in it. If animal advocacy and environmental protections are important to you, you can use these personal values to teach your children about empathy, personal responsibility, and more—all through delicious, nutritious shakes.
After all, who needs cow’s milk when you have a yummy shake with some vegan whip cream and sugar-free sprinkles.
Reimagining Your Child’s Nutrition with Something Else
From food allergies to sensitive stomachs to environmental ethics, there are many reasons you might want your child to have a plant-based diet.
If you’ve yet to make the transition, vegan shakes are a great place to start.
Make them a shake disguised as a tasty chocolate “milkshake” with almond milk, cacao powder, spinach, peanut butter, and a little honey. With tasty chocolate treats like these, they’ll soon fall in love with a plant-based diet too.
Else, cares deeply about your child’s nutrition. That’s why they’ve created alternatives to dairy-based nutrition for babies and toddlers. Else products are organic and free of dairy, soy, gluten, corn syrup, and GMOs because they are reimagining a better world for parents and children.
Additionally, Else Nutrition ensures that vegan nutritional shakes include the needed nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B-12. For those who want a vegan meal replacement shake, that is low in sugar, gluten-free, and corn-syrup-free, Else is a delicious option!
Only the best for your little ones. Only something Else.
Forgrieve, J. (2018, November 2). The Growing Acceptance Of Veganism. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetforgrieve/2018/11/02/picturing-a-kindler-gentler-world-vegan-month/?sh=52a33ed02f2b
Brown, J. (2020, January 23). Are there health benefits to going vegan? BBC Future. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200122-are-there-health-benefits-to-going-vegan
Early exposure to food and food allergy in children https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046529/
Vegan Trends in the U.S https://www.ipsos-retailperformance.com/en/vegan-trends/
Steinman (2010) Nutritional implications of food allergies, South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 23:sup1, 37-41, DOI: 10.1080/16070658.2010.11734268
Guandalini, S. (2020, April 27). Pediatric Lactose Intolerance. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/930971-overview#showall
Porto, A. (2016, September 29). Lactose Intolerance in Infants & Children: Parent FAQs. HealthyChildren.org. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Lactose-Intolerance-in-Children.aspx
Allen, P. (0AD). Is a vegan diet better for the environment? BBC Good Food. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/vegan-diet-better-environment
Shrier, C. (2021, March 17). Young children learn by copying you! MSU Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/young_children_learn_by_copying_you#:~:text=This%20research%20is%20clear%20that,are%20learning%20by%20copying%20you!
The content and advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment, advice for specific medical conditions. Always consult a pediatrician to understand the individual needs of your child.