Will your teenager no longer eat your meatloaf, baked chicken, or fish?
Do you want to support your teenager’s pursuit of a healthy vegetarian/vegan diet?
Then check out the resource Vegetarian Teens (PDF). This guide provides the tools teenagers (and their families) need to choose healthy foods that insure their diet supplies the nutrients needed to continue growing well.
Zinc can be found all organs, tissues and fluids in the body. Zinc provides many functions including:
Optimal growth and development
Proper function of the immune system.
Zinc is widely available from many types of foods, so deficiency is rare in North Americans including vegetarians. The problem arises from phytate, a compound found in grains, nuts, and legumes that reduce our body’s ability to absorb zinc from these foods.
Download our FREE full-color Zinc in Vegetarian Diets resource and discover how to maximize the absorption of zinc from plant foods, choose foods high in zinc, and get menu ideas.
For little kids – They love to open small containers. I bought some 2 ounce containers with lids and used them for a few slices of cucumbers, nut butter or tofu spread for dipping baby carrots, 2 small ginger snaps, a couple of grape tomatoes, grapes and a couple of walnuts. Every one was like a small present.
For children 6 to 10 – School lunch is short. Some schools have a snack time or a snack that can be eaten while in class. Sandwiches are great, but everyone wants hot food in the cold weather. Heat up a thermos with hot water. Heat up a soup or stew at the last minute. Drain the thermos. The soup or stew will stay hotter in the heated thermos. Put a napkin between the thermos and any cold items. Don’t forget something crunchy to go with it – crackers or celery work fine. For the snack – a small container of apple sauce with cinnamon, snack bar or celery with nut butter and raisins work great.
For children 11-13 – Have them make lunch with you. They are beginning to need their independence. It will also get them in the kitchen and learning how to feed themselves. Set some guidelines – protein source, grain, fruit and drink. With the fall weather, you can alternating soy milk with local cider. If they have after school activities pack a snack and include water to drink.
For Teenagers – getting them to eat lunch at all is a good trick. However, either make it at home with guidelines or ask what’s available at school. Most schools have a card to swipe for purchased lunch. You set the cash amount for the card. Many food service directors will allow for specifics on purchases, such as “school lunch items only.” This means they can purchase any items designated as lunch for the school and not a la carte items such as french fries. Have your teen make their lunch. They can shop with you or make their own list of foods for lunch. Again, you are teaching them ready to feed themselves. If they have after school activities pack a snack that includes a beverage so they stay hydrated.
Hungry kids are grumpy kids. At every age, packing or purchasing enough food and drinks is the key. When you including your children in the process the food packed will more likely be eaten.
As a teenager you are probably not thinking about breast cancer, but research suggests that women who ate the most soy before and during their teen years have a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who eat little soy.
Being a vegan teen athlete is not complicated. It is easy for teens to receive proper nutrition for sporting events by eating a variety of foods. In general, teen athletes should receive the majority of their calories from complex carbohydrates, a moderate amount from protein, and a moderate to low amount from fat. The bulk of these calories should be nutritionally dense, meaning they provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals. For example, nutritionally dense carbohydrates include whole grain breads and pastas, brown rice, quinoa, and whole grain flour. Most fruits and vegetables are nutritionally dense as are vegetarian proteins.
Protein is a key macro- nutrient that many athletes focus on. Athletes should receive 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound. It is easy to meet these requirements on a vegan diet. A good tip is to include a protein food with every meal. This can be as simple as putting peanut butter on your morning bagel, adding nuts to your salad, cooking with beans, and drinking a high-protein milk alternative, like soymilk. Vegetable proteins like tofu, tempeh, seitan, and meat analogs are protein packed. Read labels to find the meat analogs also fortified with vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12 and iron, are two nutrients that vegans need to monitor. Vitamin B12 can be found in fortified foods, including soymilk, cereals, and nutritional yeast. Check the label to verify that the choice you make contains B12. Foods high in iron include dark green leafy vegetables, soybeans, tofu, lentils and other dried beans, quinoa, fortified cereal, and raisins. To maximize absorption include a food high in vitamin C—such as orange juice, tomato sauce, or broccoli—when consuming foods high in iron.
Increased exercise means increased calorie needs to maintain body weight. Because a lot of vegan foods are low in calories, it may be important to increase calorie intake especially if you are participating in a strenuous sport. One way to add calories is to eat extra snacks throughout the day and increase the calories in your meals. The table below provides a list of quick and easy 200-400 calorie snacks to add to your diet.
1 crunchy granola bar
½ cup guacamole dip with 1 cup corn chips
1 banana with 1 TB peanut butter
8 whole wheat crackers with ¼ cup hummus
6 ounces soy yogurt with fruit
1 bagel and 2 TB peanut butter
¼ cup mixed nuts
½ cup trail mix
1 ounce hard pretzels with ½ cup fruit juice
2 cups calcium-fortified orange juice and a granola bar
Add calories to your meals using these easy ideas!
Use oils or margarine on vegetables, rice, and pasta, add vegan cheese.
Add a commercial vegan sandwich spread like Veganaise® to your sandwiches.
Put slices of avocado on your salad.
Bulk up your breakfast-cereal with fruit, nuts, and raisins.
In conclusion, receiving proper nutrition for the vegan athlete is easy. Eating a variety of foods and taking in more calories during times of increased exercise are important. Teen athletes are able to receive everything they need from a vegan diet to perform at their maximum potential.