Raising baby vegan? Healthy eating habits?

VegMama

Newcomer
Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Reaction score
3
Age
31
Location
US
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Hi all 👋 I’m 31, have been a vegetarian most of my life and a vegan since 2013. I just had my first baby in January and he is a BIG (already a little over 21lbs!) healthy, happy boy with an ever increasing appetite for solids. He now comes crawling over whenever I’m making food/eating. He’s doing great with food and loves all kinds of fruits, veggies, greens (finely chopped or in smoothies), whole grains, beans.... you name it and he eats it. Hasn’t rejected a single food yet. I know this is an important age for instilling healthy eating habits for life and want to get this right.

I’m kind of a habitual “grazer” myself. I don’t really eat full meals very often, more nibble here and there throughout the day. A good portion of my diet is raw (I was on an all raw diet for several years until the cost got too much), though I don’t mind cooking. I don’t really know if nibbling all day long is a healthy way to feed a growing child or not. I’ve been breastfeeding on demand, but should I also be feeding solids on demand too? Or I should be striving to sit and eat 3 regular, complete meals a day with him and offer snacks if he wants them? Any insight how other parents are doing it would be helpful😊
 
T

thinman

Guest
Baked beans on toast is all a kid really needs


and for a change feed 'em spaghetti on toast
 

David3

Practitioner
Joined
May 19, 2016
Reaction score
1,135
Age
51
Location
California, USA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Baked beans on toast is all a kid really needs


and for a change feed 'em spaghetti on toast

Nutrition recommendations for vegan infants / toddlers are different than for older vegan kids.

Please see this article from the Vegetarian Resource Group, written by their in-house Registered Dietitian: Feeding Vegan Kids -- The Vegetarian Resource Group

Because infancy and young childhood are developmentally so important, it makes sense to plan your child's vegan diet with the help of a Registered Dietitian. In the United States, you can find a local RD through the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Eatright.org - Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics . Just click on the red "Find An Expert" button in the upper-right portion of the webpage. You can select from RD's whose expertise includes pediatric nutrition and vegetarian/vegan nutrition.
.
 

Lou

Master
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Reaction score
6,685
Age
65
Location
San Mateo, Ca
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I don't think you need an RD. And I'm not sure I would put much credence on random people's advice.

However, there are some really good blogs and even better books on the subject. I don't have time now to look some up for you but I'm sure you can look it up yourself. You found this forum.

Alicia Silverstone had a couple of books out and a blog. so maybe that could be your first stop.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VegMama
T

thinman

Guest
Obviously I was just being funny with the beans on toast although in England it was eaten a lot by everyone.
Are you breast feeding ? you can do that for years. Important is not having a fat kid, I think grazing is a bad habit. 2 meals a day is good, no need for snacks (another bad habit).
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: silva

David3

Practitioner
Joined
May 19, 2016
Reaction score
1,135
Age
51
Location
California, USA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
A big point emphasized by the Vegetarian Resource Group is that low-fat diets are not appropriate for infants and toddlers.

" Fat should not be limited for infants less than 2 years. It should be between 30 and 40% of calories for 1 to 3 year olds, and between 25 and 35% of calories for 2 to 3 year olds, and between 25 and 35% of calories for children and teens. If you are using a lower fat diet than this, check that the child's growth is normal and that the child is eating enough food to meet nutrient needs. For more information see Nutrition Hotline: www.vrg.org/journal/vj2016issue1/2016_issue1_nutrition_hotline.php."

This recommendation is not surprising, considering that human breast milk includes 55% of its calories from fat: Calories in Human Breast Milk | CalorieKing
.
 
  • Informative
  • Like
Reactions: Lou and VegMama

Lou

Master
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Reaction score
6,685
Age
65
Location
San Mateo, Ca
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
2 meals a day is good, no need for snacks (another bad habit).

I think that is debatable. Many health professionals recommend 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. One of the documented benefits is that it keeps your metabolism on a more even keel.

"...satisfying the appetite, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and providing nutrients to the body throughout the day. Smaller, more frequent meals in your daily eating patterns also can aid in a more efficient metabolism compared to a slower metabolism when meals are skipped. An efficient metabolism allows your body to use carbohydrates, protein and fat to fuel your body."

-https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-small-frequent-meals-can-help-athletes-keep-energy-high/

But like I said, its debatable. There are probably just as many studies that concluded that larger less frequent meals are better.

Also, remember that many nutrients have time limits on both absorption and utilization. For example, B12, iron, and protein have upper limits for either absorption or utilization or both. So by eating smaller amounts more frequently you may very well be able to absorb and utilize those nutrients more effectively.

It could just be six of one and half dozen of the other. Or maybe preference. But grazing is a valid approach to nutrition.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VegMama

VegMama

Newcomer
Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Reaction score
3
Age
31
Location
US
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
There is no way I can afford to take him to a dietician and am 99.9% certain that is not covered by insurance.

I don’t follow celebrities but I can look at the blog she writes. Though, I never really know how accurate blogs/books etc... are as they are mostly motivated by profit and there is so much conflicting info. Also, a lot of vegan cookbooks have a lot of random hard to find ingredients or rather time consuming prep that’s not feasible for everyday meals. I was hoping for advice from real people who’ve actually raised healthy vegan kids how they did it.

He is breastfed and in the 70/97th percentile for weight/height. He’s been hitting his milestones on the early side and is a healthy guy according to his doctor.

Re:FatI don’t eat a particularly low fat diet as I don’t feel good myself on low fat, and clearly my breastmilk is pretty fatty for him. I myself am not overweight despite never counting calories/eating plenty of healthy fats. I plan to continue breastfeeding until around 2 years. He’s already been introduced to avocados, a couple different nut butters, I cook and bake using coconut and olive oil (depending). I also add ground flax and hemp seeds to his oatmeal and he loves chia seed pudding made with coconut milk (which I now blend because I noticed the seeds came through whole in his diaper lol). I also take a vegan DHA/EPA supplement I started while pregnant. I know fat is important for brain development. I can be extra sure he’s getting something on the fattier side at every meal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: thinman and Lou
T

thinman

Guest
2 meals a day
I think that is debatable.

This is how it was before the internet and people getting fat. People ate moderate lunch and supper and didn't snack, snacks were a weekend treat not a daily habit. If anyone had breakfast it was maybe a bowl of cornflakes or toast.

I do weights and if I followed advice of online coaches they would tell me to have 300g of protein and 6000 calories a day, which is stupid. Some bodybuilders drink 36 raw eggs a day.
 

VegMama

Newcomer
Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Reaction score
3
Age
31
Location
US
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
2 meals a day


This is how it was before the internet and people getting fat. People ate moderate lunch and supper and didn't snack, snacks were a weekend treat not a daily habit. If anyone had breakfast it was maybe a bowl of cornflakes or toast.

I do weights and if I followed advice of online coaches they would tell me to have 300g of protein and 6000 calories a day, which is stupid. Some bodybuilders drink 36 raw eggs a day.

I suppose, like anything, a lot depends on a variety of factors. Grazing doesn’t necessarily mean eating processed junk all day. I don’t feel good when I eat big meals and I don’t feel good going too long between meals, so I eat 5 or 6 times a day and feel at my best. I still eat a lot of raw fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, with some sprouted grain bread, cooked grains/beans and very little processed foods. I tend to eat most of my daily calories before noon too. I don’t sleep well after eating a big evening meal.

I’m 5’7 and not super active. I’ll begrudgingly do a 10-15 minute home workout a couple days a week, but that’s about it. I’ve never weighed more than 130lbs, except while pregnant, and I only gained 30lbs. My son was 9lbs at birth, and all the rest of the weight (that wasn’t gone immediately after birth) was gone by 4 months postpartum without doing anything special and in fact eating more than I normally do for breastfeeding.

All that said, I’m a healthy adult who knows what works for me but I know kids have different needs regarding when/what they eat. Also, little boys are notorious for eating more than little girls too and he is a big boy already. No “feeding issues” with this kid. I’m thinking of doing a fuller breakfast and dinner for him and feeding when he wants to eat throughout the day (and continuing breastfeeding until he’s 2). It’s not like I’m going to be feeding him twinkies and chips as snacks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: thinman

VegMama

Newcomer
Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Reaction score
3
Age
31
Location
US
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan

silva

Master
Supporter
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
9,820
Location
USA
Wow, I have to address the idea of kids eating only twice a day--that's a horrible idea! If kids are getting a mostly wfpb diet there is no need to fear them being fat- kids weight and height often don't happen at once and a pudgy or skinny kid, within reason, is nothing to worry about!


Congratulations! :starshower:
 
  • Like
Reactions: David3 and Lou

shyvas

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Reaction score
25,678
Location
Somewhere in the South
Lifestyle
  1. Other
Obviously I was just being funny with the beans on toast although in England it was eaten a lot by everyone.
Are you breast feeding ? you can do that for years. Important is not having a fat kid, I think grazing is a bad habit. 2 meals a day is good, no need for snacks (another bad habit).

I grew up in the UK during the 50/60's and we definitely would have 3 meals a day ; breakfast ( either porridge, cereal or toast) a light lunch, large dinner and 1 to 2 snacks during the course of the day.
However, in those days snacks would either be an apple, a banana, cheese on toast, banana sandwiches or jam on toast. If we had crisps it would be a tiny, weeny bag. We also would go out a lot to the park, on walks and cycle everywhere. TV was only on at tea time and during evenings.

Chocolate bars (they weren't a daily thing) were tiny and not the huge 100 g ones that most people gobble up in one go. So, portion sizes and less excercise seems to be the culprit for so many children being overweight.

We were far more active and didn't sit in front of computer and TV screens all day long playing games.
 
  • Agree
  • Like
Reactions: Lou and thinman
T

thinman

Guest
I got 6 old pence a week for spends, no TV till Blue Peter. You couldn't have friends in the house, outside only. Sometimes we had an apple but most fruit was in a bowl and made of plastic. Sometimes we may get a penny if we mivered me mam and see what's in the penny tray.

When I came to Canada people thought I was anorexic at 125lb 5'9", went vegan and dropped to 115lb, or was it strict vegetarian, no eggs or dairy.
 

David3

Practitioner
Joined
May 19, 2016
Reaction score
1,135
Age
51
Location
California, USA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
With all affection to my fellow VFers, I think this thread illustrates why I steer people towards information from reputable sources (with links) and from Registered Dietitians. Some people here are throwing around unsubstantiated claims.
.
 

David3

Practitioner
Joined
May 19, 2016
Reaction score
1,135
Age
51
Location
California, USA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
2 meals a day

This is how it was before the internet and people getting fat. People ate moderate lunch and supper and didn't snack, snacks were a weekend treat not a daily habit. If anyone had breakfast it was maybe a bowl of cornflakes or toast.

I do weights and if I followed advice of online coaches they would tell me to have 300g of protein and 6000 calories a day, which is stupid. Some bodybuilders drink 36 raw eggs a day.
.
Online coaches don't necessarily have the education necessary to offer nutrition guidance. Registered Dietitians do have the necessary education.

All mainstream health organizations recommend that people eat breakfast. The American Academy of Pediatrics specifically emphasizes the importance of breakfast: https://services.aap.org/en/news-room/aap-voices/breakfast/ . Please don't discourage people from eating breakfast.

.
 
Last edited:

Forest Nymph

Senior
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Reaction score
2,181
Age
38
Location
Northern California
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I hate Unnatural Vegan as an activist with a purple passion, but I think she's a great vegan mom at least. I think she has a good handle on how to feed children a healthy vegan diet without hints of orthorexia or woo woo. You might want to search her videos on vegan babies and pregnancy on YouTube. She pays more attention to science, has two children, has been vegan for at least ten years, has a vegan partner and doesn't do things like oil-free or van living.