These days increasing numbers of children are vegan from birth. However, many older children take the decision to become vegan, often against their family's wishes. There are several ways of making a transition to a vegan diet. Some gradually cut out meat, dairy, egg, etc. Others eliminate all animal products overnight.
Teenage vegans have nutritional needs that are the same as any other teenager. The years between the ages of 13 and 19 are times of rapid growth and change. Nutritional needs are high during this period. The teenage vegan should follow the same recommendations for all vegans and that is to eat a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, wholegrain products, nuts, seeds, peas, beans and lentils. Nutrients that teenagers should be especially careful to include are protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B12.
Many teenagers are concerned with losing or gaining weight. To lose weight, look at the diet if it contains lots of sweet and fatty foods, then replace them with fruits, vegetable, wholegrains and cereals, peas, beans and lentils. If a diet is already healthy, then increased exercise e.g. walking, running, swimming, etc. can help. To gain weight more calories are required. Try to eat at least 3-4 meals per day. Eat foods higher in fat.
For further information for young vegans, have a look at the Young Vegans section of our site.