Many members of The Vegetarian Resource Group are glowing testimony to the fact that vegan children can be healthy, grow normally, be extremely active, and (we think) smarter than average. Of course it takes time and thought to feed vegan children. (Shouldn’t feeding of any child require time and thought?) After all, the years from birth to adolescence are the years when eating habits are set, when growth rate is high, and to a large extent, when the sizes of stores of essential nutrients such as calcium and iron are determined.
Whether your child is vegan or not it can be a great idea to have a variety of protein sources including vegetarian and vegan. A well-rounded diet often equals a healthy diet. Always check with your nutritionist or pediatrician, but here are some alternative protein options for you if you child is avoiding meat or diary for various reasons…
You likely think of these as a fat, but they have protein too!
These little gems are loaded with fat, calories and nutrients. Add them to salads, puddings, dips, spreads and toppings. ~NAVS
Beans And Lentils
Beans and lentils are the cheapest source of protein out there. So whether you prefer kidney, garbanzo, white, black, or pinto beans, “Buy lots of cans of beans, rinse and drain them to remove 40 percent of the sodium, and use them in everything,” suggests Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life. “White beans taste delicious in pasta: garbanzo or edamame in stir-fries; black beans and pinto in burritos, tacos, and quesadillas; and lentils or kidney are great in salads and whole grain pita lunches.” ~ABC News
Most grains contain a small amount of protein, but quinoa—technically a seed—is unique in that it contains more than 8 grams per cup, including all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and repair, but cannot produce on its own. (Because of that, it’s often referred to as a “perfect protein.”) Plus, it’s amazingly versatile: Quinoa can be added to soup or vegetarian chili during winter months, served with brown sugar and fruit as a hot breakfast cereal, or tossed with vegetables and a vinaigrette to make a refreshing summer salad. ~Health.com
Chia, chia, chia … what can’t this super seed do? Chia has 5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons and is also a complete protein source. Try it all kinds of ways besides just chia pudding in our chia recipes! ~One Green Planet
You can make chia pudding and add some berries for a protein and antioxidant rich treat that your little ones will adore!
Eat up your peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter. A couple of tablespoons of any one of these will get you 8 grams of protein. ~Mind Body Green
Also, check out: Is it safe for kids to be vegan? via Mother Nature Network