February 01, 2017 · Written by Foodtolive Team
Healthy Raw Vegan Baby Diet and Lifestyle Tips for a Modern Family
Keeping your baby healthy and helping them grow into a strong and happy adult is every parent’s goal. Unfortunately, not everyone understands how important the diet is to the little ones and how much of an impact it has on the future well-being of a person. Introducing a raw vegan baby diet from the first months of your precious treasure’s life can go a long way in ensuring the child stays healthy and strong throughout its life.
Is Raw Vegan Baby Diet Dangerous
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the subject of raw and vegan diets, especially in relation to babies. Therefore, you are sure to encounter people who will try to persuade you that these choices are wrong and potentially harmful to the child. In order to withstand such an onslaught of prejudice, you must have conviction that comes from understanding the real health effects of a raw vegan diet.
Eating only raw foods can be healthy, and fulfill all of you and your baby’s daily nutritional needs. The most important benefit of this particular type of meal plan is that you get to enjoy the maximum benefits that produce has to offer.
In terms of the baby’s vegan diet, in particular, choosing to go raw is the most natural decision, as the first meals that a child should have are all comprised of fruits and veggies. These specific foods will lose most of their important nutrients when cooked, so eating them raw is actually the best of the possible choices.
Another essential thing you must understand is that NO diet is healthy if it doesn’t satisfy your nutritional needs. This means that you need to know exactly how much of every vitamin and mineral your precious growing baby needs and plan their meals accordingly. Food planning is a major part of healthy eating, so you must learn to not only count your calories but also watch out for deficiencies that often plague vegans, such as low levels of calcium, vitamin B12, and iron.
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Your pediatrician must be on your side when it comes to planning a healthy raw vegan baby diet. They can help you create a well-balanced meal plan by determining your child’s real nutritional needs. Don’t forget that generalized articles on the subject offer only average dietary requirements. However, every person is unique and their personal needs may vary. You also must take into account seasonal differences in the raw produce that is available. Unfortunately, it may be impossible to sustain a 100% raw vegan diet for a baby if you live in the Northern regions, as your access to fresh fruits and vegetables is limited.
Even if you don’t require your baby doctor’s input in designing the meal plan, you must inform them about the child’s diet. This information is necessary for a medical professional in order to know what types of tests to perform, and how often. For example, a vegan baby must be closely monitored for the level of iron to prevent anemia.
A vegan diet is perfectly safe for kids, but there are some valid concerns regarding raw foods. Most important of these is the risk of contamination. It’s a very important matter, regardless of whether you choose to cook your baby’s foods or not. Products that are filled with pesticides and nitrates are really dangerous for a growing child. They also have a lower nutritional value.
Therefore, for a raw vegan baby diet to be truly safe, it must be organic. Even if you don’t buy specially certified products, you should do your food shopping at farmer’s markets and buy only from the people you trust. You should research the ways to cut the costs of organic foods in order to make this kind of diet more affordable for vegans.
As long as you make sure that the product your little one ingests is contaminant-free and their daily meal plan includes all the necessary nutrients, a raw vegan diet would be completely safe for your baby.
Preparing Healthy Raw Vegan Baby Foods
No matter what kind of baby food you make, there are some specific rules that you must follow:
- Don’t introduce any potential allergens until your baby is at least three years old. This means excluding nuts and wheat. Be careful with citrus fruits.
- Mash the foods thoroughly to prevent choking.
- Try every new food by itself for a few days to see the baby’s reaction to it.
- Clean your hands, produce, and all utensils thoroughly before you start making baby foods.
- Start introducing your baby to raw foods starting with sweet fruits.
- Never add sugar to baby foods.
A blender or a food processor is the most essential kitchen appliance for making raw vegan foods for babies. In essence, all recipes for these dishes are similar. You just mix various ingredients and process them into a smooth mass for the precious little one to eat. This allows you a lot of room for experimentation as you can make any combinations based on the fresh produce you have.
Avocados, bananas, and apples should be always present in your home as they make the best ‘basis’ for vegan baby foods. Avocados, in particular, can be introduced starting at 3 months of age. As your baby gets older, you can get them into the habit of munching on fresh avocado slices.
Some of our favorite recipes for raw vegan baby foods are:
- ½ fresh avocado
- 2 florets broccoli
- 1 handful baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup fresh green peas
- 100 ml water (filtered)
Mix the ingredients together and serve right away. Bear in mind that raw baby foods don’t keep well. You should always make them fresh to stay on the safe side.
Orange Monkey Food
- ½ apple
- ½ carrot
- ½ banana
- ½ slice pineapple (optional)
You’ll need to process this one longer to ensure that carrots and apples are properly mashed.
Calcium Baby Juice
- 2 handfuls watercress
- 2 handfuls parsley
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 pineapple
- Coconut water (as much as needed)
The coconut water and pineapple juice make the concoction delicious so your little ones will enjoy it, despite the ‘bitter greens’. A single cup of this recipe provides a baby with a sufficient amount of calcium for a day and would be perfect as a breast milk replacement for little vegans. Note that after the child is one year old, their need of calcium will increase, so you’ll have to add other sources.
Raw Vegan Baby Lifestyle Tips: How to Form Healthy Habits
One of the challenges of maintaining a vegan diet that parents rarely anticipate is peer pressure. Small children may not understand the ecological and general health benefits of being a vegan. This issue can be exacerbated by other kids who lash out at anything different, and in a nursery school setting, eating a meat-free lunch can be a good enough reason for this.
Such incidents are unfortunate, but they happen, and you must know how to combat these problems on a level a little child would be able to understand. The easiest way is to take kids out on a farm where they can see animals and explain how meat-free lifestyle helps protect them. However, these topics can sometimes be too stressful for small children, so you have to be more subtle.
The best way to go is to monitor the child’s social circles to ensure they don’t face any undue pressure until they are actually old enough to support their dietary choices. Your own position is also very important in this case. You must lead by example and starting your baby on a raw vegan diet from the first months of their life would be a good choice. This way, they would grow naturally accustomed to these eating patterns.
You should also emphasize the importance of a vegan lifestyle in every aspect of your life, starting with vegan clothing to using cosmetic products and detergents that don’t harm the environment. Regular talks with your child regarding the importance of caring for the planet would help make them more aware of the benefits this lifestyle has. This should be a sufficient support for any arguments they might get into with other kids when they get older.
Whatever you do, never forget that your child is a tiny individual whose freedom of will you must respect. If they want to experiment with cooked foods or meat when they get older, you have to let them. At this point, it’s your ability to guide your child to make healthy dietary decisions that would determine whether they would stick to the raw vegan diet of their early days.