Raising a More Compassionate Generation
Vegan Parenting: Raising a More Compassionate Generation
By Crystal Kozlak
Animal Place interviewed vegan parents to gain insight into what it is like raising vegan children. The advantages include saving animals’ lives, health benefits, and encouraging compassion. We hope that their personal experiences will inspire others to do the same for their family.
Preparing for this Lifestyle
Most of the parents interviewed researched the subject of veganism before having or adopting children. There are online resources for vegan parents like vegan websites that compose personal stories and tips and there are vegan parenting support groups such as Generation Veggie on Facebook.
In addition to personal research, parents contacted their general pediatricians, and more often than not, their doctors were supportive and gave them valuable advice. Their children are on a vitamin B12 supplement, but some children take iron and liquid multivitamin supplements in addition to B12. Not only was researching informative for these vegan parents, but it allowed them to feel safer in their decision to raise their children vegan.
Cooking Vegan for Children
There are many children-friendly vegan meals that are simple to prepare. Baby food can be made from boiling various veggies, like peas and sweet potatoes, and then blending them together into a puree. Older children tend to enjoy garden burgers, tacos or burritos, PB&J sandwiches, smoothies, tofu stir fry, and pastas. Vegan meals naturally encourage children to eat more veggies—which is always a bonus!
Making meals at home is no trouble for the vegan parents we interviewed. However, it is more challenging when the children are away from home. Parents told us that their children often want food that their friends are eating because it looks like their vegan food. They found that packing extra vegan snacks is a must, especially if they are at places with few vegan options. Parents suggested simple vegan recipes to other parents and babysitters who watch their children. That way it puts less stress on the other parents or babysitters while also showing them how easy and fun it is to cook vegan!
When it comes to school and vegan kids, parents said it was vital to stay in touch with their child’s teacher. If an upcoming event had food, parents would make special vegan treats for their kid and their classmates.
Their classmates were often envious of the delicious vegan treats, giving their children an opportunity to be proud of being vegan.
Explaining Veganism to Children
Younger children might have difficulties understanding the concept of veganism. Most parents started with an argument similar to, “The reason we don’t eat meat is because we love animals and we don’t want to hurt them”. One vegan parent recommended the book, “V for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind”, because it explains the concept of veganism in simple ideas for younger children to understand. However, when their children got older, these vegan parents started to incorporate more and more facts about animal agriculture.
Books for Younger Children:
- V for Vegan: The ABC’s of Being Kind by Ruby Roth
- Dave Loves Chickens by Carlos Patino
- We’re Vegan! By Anna Bean
- Sausage Patty by Diane Allevato (For older children)
As children grow older, they’ll have more freedom regarding their food choices. The worry with this is that children could begin eating animal products. In spite of this, the vegan parents we interviewed are confident that their children will have the same values about animals as they do because they raised them to be ethically consistent. Since all these vegan parents articulated that they would not change anything about their experience, that’s more of a reason to raise our future generation vegan!
Crystal Kozlak interned May-June 2015 in the Education Department at Animal Place. She spent two months learning how a non-profit works, crafting her own advocacy projects, assisting with tours and events, as well as generating content for social media.