The Benefits Of A Plant-Based Diet For Kids
We know you want the best diet for your bub! Our trusted Nutritionist Karena Tonkin discusses the benefits of a plant based diet for kids.
What Is a Plant Based Diet?
A Plant-Based Diet for Kids can be a beneficial choice for their growth and development. A plant-based diet doesn’t mean all animal-based foods, such as meat and dairy, are avoided. It just means that most foods served come from plant-based sources such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes.
What are the Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet?
Building Blocks for Growth and Development
Plant-based foods contain the essential building blocks for health, including protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fibre, minerals and vitamins. These nutritional components provide your little one with what they need every day for optimal growth and development.
Healthy Digestive System - Fibre
Fibre, found only in plant-based foods, is an essential part of your little one’s diet. Fibre assists in maintaining the health of the digestive tract by helping sustain the integrity of the gut wall, providing a food source for good gut bacteria and creating stool bulk, which can prevent constipation.
The immune system is the body’s protector, quickly eliminating problems and fixing damage before we even know anything is wrong. While sugary foods are acidifying and weaken the immune system, nutrient-dense plant-based foods alkalise the body and keep the immune system strong. Also, 70% of our immune system is in the gut1, so maintaining a healthy gut with plant-based foods significantly boosts the immune system.
Healthy Brain Function and Balanced Mood
A healthy digestive system and balanced gut bacteria are important factors in promoting healthy mood, behaviour and cognition; this is called the gut-brain connection2. A fibre-rich diet provided by plants helps maintain a strong gut wall and promotes beneficial gut bacteria. This, in turn, helps to balance mood and cognition.
We know how much little ones love to run, play and explore. Complex carbohydrates from plant-based foods provide a sustained release of energy, and fibre slows down the movement of sugars into the bloodstream, helping to avoid energy slumps and grumpy moods.
Promoting a Varied Taste Palate and Avoiding Fussy-Eating
Vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and legumes provide a wonderfully wide array of colours, tastes and textures. This diversity promotes a more adventurous palate in young ones and reduces fussiness as they grow. In addition, increasing variety in your child’s diet with plant-based foods ensures a good range of nutrients are eaten and decreases the chance of intolerances forming from consuming the same foods too regularly.
What Should Be Included in a Healthy Plant-Based Diet for Kids?
Choose a wide variety of different coloured vegetables and fruits to include in your little one’s diet every day. It’s also good to vary the types of whole grains, a bit of wheat is fine for some, but not too much. Instead, offer a variety of grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, whole oats and millet. Legumes and seeds (and nuts once they’re old enough) add protein and healthy fats for optimal growth and development. The best thing about these plant-based foods is that they are natural, additive-free and safe for your young one.
What Shouldn’t Be Included in a Healthy Plant-Based Diet for Kids?
Many packaged foods come from plants but, after heavy processing, are not healthy for your child. Ready-prepared snack foods are quick and easy but are usually laden with salt, sugar and additives, all of which are addictive and reduce overall health. These foods can lead to fussy eating, imbalances in energy and mood and nutrient deficiencies.
Unlike many plant-based and vegan kids snacks on the market, Bubs snacks, including our Smiley Squares and Little Rollies, are manufactured without added sugar. Our certified organic snack range is also free of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
Vegan vs. Plant-based Diets
Although the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘plant-based’ are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences when looking at vegan vs. plant-based diets. Choosing to follow a vegan diet means that all animal products are avoided. Along with meat, fish and poultry, this also includes eggs, honey and dairy. Plant-based diets, on the other hand, have a focus on eating foods from plant origins, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, but do allow for the occasional consumption of meat and other animal products.
Whether you decide to be a plant-based family or opt for a vegan diet for your children, the choice is up to you. There are now plenty of great recipes available online and in cookbooks for plant-based and vegan kids meals, helping to make incorporating fresh and nutritious food into your little one’s diet easier than ever.
How Do Bubs Plant Burst Purees and Pouches Make a Healthy Plant-Based Diet for Kids Easy?
Organic Vegetables and Fruits
Organic plant-based foods generally contain much higher levels of nutrients than non-organic foods. They are also free from pesticides and other chemicals that can be detrimental to your child’s health and wellbeing.
Not all grains are made equal. Bubs Plant Burst includes gluten-free super-grains such as:
- Millet – Often called the “Queen of Grains”, millet is rich in protein and high in fibre, magnesium and antioxidants. It also contains good amounts of silica which is vital for healthy bones, skin, nails and hair.
- Quinoa – A protein-rich South American grain that contains all nine amino acids. It is high in fibre and especially rich in calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, antioxidants and iron, which are all vital for your young one’s development and vitality.
- Amaranth – An ancient Aztec grain, amaranth is high in protein and fibre and contains more iron than any other grain. It is an excellent food for growing children.
Nutritious-Dense, Fibre-Rich Seeds
- Chia Seeds are small, soft-eating seeds native to South America. They are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are also high in minerals and antioxidants. In addition, the soluble fibre in chia seeds helps to regulate the action of the bowels and avoid constipation.
- Flaxseeds provide another good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and fibre. They also provide protein, phosphorus, calcium, iron and other micronutrients.
Diets containing an abundant variety of plant-based foods contain high levels of macronutrients, fibre, vitamins and minerals for ready energy and optimal growth, development and vitality. Bubs Organic Purees and Pouches are the perfect option for healthy food on the run. They are perfect for fussy eaters or children who do not consume the recommended amounts of nutrient and fibre dense, healthy foods.
As explored above, a plant-based diet offers a variety of benefits to growing children, from aiding digestion to boosting immunity. Whether you decide to switch to a plant-based diet or simply look to boost your child’s intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other nutritious foods, there are plenty of great reasons to embrace delicious plant-based foods.2 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1535370221995785?journalCode=ebmb