Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The littlest vegans

A friend recently asked about issues involved in raising a vegan family - an area where I have no personal experience. In such cases, I turn to the ever-reliable Vegetarian Resource Group. VRG offers extensive resources on most aspects of vegetarianism, and as I expected, it has a wealth of information on this subject as well.

An entire section of the VRG Web site, at http://www.vrg.org/family, focuses on raising a vegetarian family. The article "Vegan Nutrition in Pregnancy and Childhood" is a good place to start. It reassuringly states, "A well-planned vegan diet can easily be used during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childhood." It goes on to explain how to create such a diet, offers a sample meal plan that shows how simple it can be, and more.

But the VRG site recognizes that nutrition isn't the only issue involved. It offers suggestions on how to help vegetarian families navigate a nonvegetarian world, from suggestions on how to hold a birthday party that nonvegetarian friends will consider "cool" in "Let’s Party" to tips on "Traveling With Vegan Children."

Judging by these resources, it appears that raising a vegan family is similar to living as a vegan. You just need to educate yourself and do a little planning to keep your diet on an even keel.

It also appears that vegan parents can have as much fun with food as anyone. A great site for parents looking for ideas to fill their child’s lunchbox (or adults looking for ideas for their own lunches is the Vegan Lunchbox blog, which features photos and recipes for incredibly creative packed lunches.

Readers, can you share personal experiences, or recommend other helpful resources or strategies to make raising a vegan family easier?

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