FamilyVegetarian foods, which are rich in healthy plant proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, are the best foods for children. They form the foundation of dietary habits that support a lifetime of good health. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.”

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic within the Latino community. The Office of Minority Health reports, “In 2009-2010 Mexican-American children, between the ages 6 and 17, were 60% more likely to be overweight as non-Hispanic white children.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Diabetes tends to strike Hispanics at younger ages than the non-Hispanic white population.”

Fortunately, feeding children balanced vegetarian meals can prevent childhood diabetes and help kids maintain a healthy weight and feel and look their best.

The saturated fat and relative lack of fiber in meat-based foods can make your child overweight and lethargic in the short term and can contribute to the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer in the long term.

Doctors and researchers have found that children who follow meat-free diets grow up to be healthy and strong. A study of 4,746 Minnesota adolescents published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that vegetarian kids were more likely than nonvegetarian kids to meet government standards for several of the most important dietary recommendations.

According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Children who are raised on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes will have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and many obesity-related illnesses compared to their counterparts raised on the average American diet.”

A healthy vegetarian diet gives children all the protein, calcium, fiber, and vitamins that they need to be strong and healthy. Plus, vegetarian kids are free from the cholesterol and chemical toxins that are found in fish, chicken, pork, and other meat.

Make a difference today and try a vegan diet for yourself and your family!