Resources for Raising Vegetarian and Vegan Children

All parents need to pay attention to providing good nutrition for their children.  Raising kids vegetarian can give them an advantage.  According to the American Dietetic Association, a varied and balanced plant-based diet is not only healthy and nutritious for infants and children of all ages, but it may have health advantages in the prevention of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. This page is a resource to help in raising healthy and compassionate children.  You will also find helpful, practical tips and lots of kid-friendly recipes!

Note: These resources are provided for informational purposes only. BVS does not endorse, and has no control over or responsibility for the resources or their contents. These books and websites are not intended as medical advice, and they do not take the place of individualized medical care or advice. People should make dietary decisions in consultation with their health professionals.

Part One: Online Nutrition Information for Pregnancy, Infants, Kids, and Teens; Kid-friendly Recipes and Other Resources
Part Two: Books on Raising Veg Children; Cookbooks and Books for Children 

Online Nutrition Information for Pregnancy, Infants, Kids, and Teens;
Kid-friendly Recipes and Other Resources

American Dietetic Association’s Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets—Press Release
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.  Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, and for athletes.

American Dietetic Association’s Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets—Full Position Paper (PDF)
Here is the full position paper published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. To view the pages on Pregnant and Lactating Women, Infants, Children, and Adolescents, scroll down to pages 1270-1272.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Resources:

Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start
Includes an overview, nutrient needs, infants, children and teens, food groups, daily meal planning and sample menus for various age groups from one to nineteen, and recipes.

Vegetarian Diets: Advantages for Children
A panel of nutritionists addresses three main areas: the advantages of vegetarian and vegan diets, the safety of vegan diets, and planning meals for children. Includes tips for parents for planning school lunches and snacks, birthday parties, feeding a picky toddler, quick and easy meals, and what to tell grandparents and teachers.

Vegetarian Diets for Pregnancy
Offers a meal plan chart based on nutritious whole foods, nutrient needs to pay attention to during pregnancy, sample menu plan, and breastfeeding guidelines.

Healthy Snacks for Kids
Tips for making your child’s snacks be as healthful as the meals you serve. Quick and easy snack ideas that pack important nutrients and energy into each delicious bite.

Healthy School Lunch Campaign
PCRM’s campaign to improve school lunches by offering more nutrient and fiber rich plant foods rather than menus too high in saturated fat and cholesterol.  Includes resources and guidelines for working with your own school.

Kids Get Healthy: Nutrition for Kids
Contains tips for making the switch to a veg diet, the new four food groups, menu planning, sample menus, veggie versions of kids classics, some healthy snack ideas, helpful hints, and recipes.

Additional Nutrition and Guidance Resources:

Vegan Nutrition in Pregnancy and Childhood
Vegetarian Resource Group nutrition experts present the basic nutrition needs during breastfeeding, and for infants, toddlers, and school age kids. Includes info on choking risks, general tips, and meal plans during pregnancy and for babies, toddlers, and children.

Vegetarian Kids, Teens, and Family
Vegetarian Resource Group offers nutrition and other resources for kids, teens, and parents.  Includes info on joining their Yahoo group network for vegetarian parents to exchange ideas, questions, and helpful tips.

A Dietitian's Guide for Healthy Vegetarian Children & Toddlers, Teens, and Babies
A registered dietitian and public health nutritionist developed this site to provide basic facts that make it easy to eat a more plant-based diet. Topics include babies, toddlers and children, teens, and eating disorders.

Pregnancy, Infants, and Children
VeganHealth offers information on soy formulas and other references.

Vegetarian and Vegan Kids and Teens
In a Vegetarian Kitchen presents kid- and teen-friendly recipes along with a wealth of articles by various authors on topics such as school lunches, healthy eating on road trips, picky eaters, and sneaking nutrition into kids’ meals.

Veg for Kids
Farm Sanctuary offers a list of veggie snacks for kids that can be ordered online, online shops for cruelty-free kids’ clothing, shoes and accessories, kid-friendly recipes, books, and other resources for parents and kids.

Humane Resources for Parents and Educators
Humane children characterized by kindness, mercy, and compassion can make this a better world for all. The Humane Society of the United States offers lesson plans and activities to educate, inspire, and engage kids at all grade levels to have respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals. Includes tips for parents and educators, and profiles of kids in action helping animals.

Books on Raising Vegetarian Children; Cookbooks and Books for Children

Vegbooks is a resource to assist parents, teachers, and friends to support the vegan and vegetarian kids in their lives. With over 800 original reviews, it is a treasure trove of delightful and insightful commentaries that help in finding books and movies for children that affirm vegetarian and vegan values.

Raising Vegetarian Children: A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony
By Jo Stepaniak, M.S. Ed. and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.
Read about the book at
This classic is a comprehensive guide to help foster happy and healthy families. It explores key topics from parent-child communications, relationship building, interactions with extended family, alternative family systems, to food safety and optimal plant-based nutrition from infancy through adolescence. Also included are over 100 child-friendly recipes, complete with nutritional analyses.

The Everything Vegan pregnancy Book

The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book: All You Need to Know for a Healthy Pregnancy That Fits Your Lifestyle
by Reed Mangels
View at Goodreads
With this easy-to-read yet comprehensive guide, you will learn about all aspects of vegan pregnancy from conception to bringing home baby and infant feeding. Packed with information for both moms and dads, including 150 nutritious and healthy recipes for the whole family, this book is the ultimate resource for parents who want the best for their baby--without sacrificing the vegan life. The author, a registered dietitian who also holds a doctorate in nutrition, is a leading expert in plant-based nutrition and has raised two vegan daughters.

Raising Vegan Children in a Non-Vegan World: A Complete Guide for Parents
By Erin Pavlina
View at Amazon
Raising vegan children in today’s society is easier when you can draw from the experiences of other parents. Filled with advice gleaned through interviews with hundreds of vegan families, this book offers parent-tested answers to your most pressing questions. Topics covered include: Transitioning children to a vegan diet, school and daycare dilemmas, nutrition and health, social situations, mixed marriages, traveling, instilling compassion in children.

Disease–Proof Your Child:  Feeding Kids Right
By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
View at Amazon
Dr. Fuhrman presents the fascinating science that demonstrates how the current epidemic of adult cancers and other diseases is most closely linked to what we eat in the first quarter of life. He explains how a nutrient–rich diet increases a child’s resistance to common childhood illnesses like asthma, ear infections, and allergies. Additionally, Dr. Fuhrman illustrates how eating his nutrient–rich diet during childhood is the most powerful weapon against developing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders in the future. Disease–Proof Your Child, provides nutrient–rich dietary recommendations for children, and offers guidelines and recipes that get even the pickiest eaters to enjoy healthy food.

Help! My Child Stopped Eating Meat: The A-Z Guide to Surviving a Conflict in Diets
By Carol J. Adams
View at Amazon
A comprehensive parental guide, it is sympathetic both to parental dilemmas and the child’s keen interests. Drawing on her own parenting experience, her expertise on vegetarianism, as well as on her background in pastoral care, Adams addresses the difficult issues that may arise when a child stops eating meat. Its five chapters, with topics arranged alphabetically for easy reference, cover family and emotional issues, philosophy and peer relationships, and practical issues. In a chapter devoted to nutrition, it offers a “Vegetarian Food Guide For Ages 9-18” that answers the concerns of parents about calcium, protein, iron and other nutritional issues.  The final chapter consists of scrumptious recipes.

That’s Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things
By Ruby Roth
View at Amazon
A candid, compassionate look at the plight of animals on factory farms, using gorgeous artwork and lively text to introduce vegetarianism and veganism to early readers. An endearing cast of animals is shown both in their natural state—rooting around, bonding, nuzzling, cuddling, grooming one another, and charming each other with their family instincts and rituals—and in the sad conditions of the factory farm. The book also addresses the effect eating animals has on our environment, rainforests, and endangered species, and suggests ways kids can learn more about veg living. 

Vegan is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action

Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action
By Ruby Roth
Beautifully illustrated by the author, this book introduces young readers to veganism as a lifestyle of compassion and action. It shows how our daily choices ripple out locally and globally, conveying what children can do today to protect animals, the environment, and people across the world. From the food we eat to the clothing we buy, from the use of animals in entertainment to the benefits of organic farming, Roth explores the many opportunities we have each day to act with kindness.

Vegan Lunchbox: 130 Amazing Animal-Free Lunches that Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love
By Jennifer McCann
Vegan lunchtime does not mean peanut butter and jelly day after day! Here are irresistible meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free lunches that range from the simple to the sublime. Learn quick lunches that are ready in a flash, and well-balanced, nutritious lunches to pack for your kids. Includes tips for feeding finicky kids, as well as handy allergen-free indexes. Her second cookbook offers 125 international lunch recipes with great kid appeal. Read her very popular lunch blog and recipe web pages for more great ideas.

Kids Can Cook: Vegetarian Recipes
By Dorothy R. Bates and Suzanne Havala R.D. (Foreword)
For kids who want to try their hand at creating their own tasty meatless dishes (non-dairy options given), and for parents who want recipes that are nutritious and easy to prepare. Drawn from children's cooking classes given by the author, these recipes are kitchen tested by kids for kids. Also contains a section for parents on how to be sure their child's vegetarian diet is healthy. 

A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian and A Teen's Vegetarian Cookbook
By Judy Krizmanic
The Guide (1994) and Cookbook (1999) are still helping teens after all these years. Using an upbeat, conversational style, the book presents the reasons for eliminating meat, followed by the how-to's of living with family, friends, and others in a primarily meat-eating world.  It concludes with practical info on nutrition, recipes, and meal-planning suggestions. The Cookbook offers recipes that are perfect for the new veg teen cook—clear, creative, easy, tasty, healthy, and delicious. Many vegan recipes and non-dairy options are given in all recipes mentioning dairy.

Munchie Madness: Vegetarian Meals for Teens
By Dorothy Bates, Bobbie Hinman, Robert Oser, Suzanne Havala R.D.
Munchie Madness is designed not only to help teenagers prepare the foods they love to eat, but to educate and support them in their decision to be a vegetarian. Over 120 quick and easy, mouthwatering recipes (most are vegan) provide a delicious and nutritious outlet for the munchies in the form of smoothies, shakes, breakfast foods, salads, spreads & dips, soups, main dishes and desserts. Includes a chapter on “Vegetarian Nutrition: A Primer for Teens.”

Books on Humane Education for Parents, Educators, and Children
Books that help parents and other adults nurture the next generation to become more aware, compassionate and empowered to do the most good and least harm for all people, animals and the earth.

IHE’s Book List for Children
Institute for Humane Education's book list for children, categorized by Character Education/Citizen Activism, Environmental Preservation, Animal Protection, Food and Diet, Media, Culture & Consumerism, and Human Rights.

UNN’s Suggested Reading List for Children
United Animal Nation's suggested book list, categorized by age appropriateness, that can show children the important bond between humans and animals.

VRG’s Booklist of Vegetarian-Friendly Books for Children and Parents (PDF)
The Vegetarian Resource Group offers titles separated by age groups: Teens, 8-12, 4-8, and Under 4 in the categories of Story Books, Nonfiction, Cooking, Animal Advocacy, Gardening/Nature, Pregnancy, Babies and Toddlers, and General Parenting.

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