More and more people are choosing a vegan diet for the benefit of animals, our environment and their own health. Studies show that a vegan diet is also possible for children and babies of all ages. [1] However, as with any diet, it is important to consider certain aspects.

We at PETA Germany have compiled all the important information about vegan nutrition for children for you.

Is it healthy to feed children a vegan diet?

More and more professional societies around the world are now taking the position that a well-planned vegan diet that meets needs is suitable for adults, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants, children, adolescents and the elderly. [1]

It is important that the vegan diet fully covers the calorie and nutrient requirements. This applies to any type of diet, of course. Even a mixed diet that does not cover the nutrient requirements is inadequate and can lead to malnutrition and damage. Parents should always be concerned about their child’s diet. Regular blood tests for children are also useful for any type of diet.

A small child stands in front of a kitchen counter and smiles.
In this country, children fed a vegan diet can meet their nutritional needs.

According to the VeChi Youth Study of the German Nutrition Society (DGE), published in the 14th DGE Nutrition Report in 2020, Children with a vegan diet have no disadvantages and consume more healthy foods than children who were fed a mixed diet. The supply of vitamin B12, a critical nutrient in a vegan diet, was also good in vegan children, even better than in vegetarian children. This shows that the use of a B12 supplement and the consumption of B12-enriched foods such as plant-based drinks works very well.

According to the study, children who eat a vegan diet eat more fruit and vegetables. They consume 4 to 10 times the amount of healthy nuts, 3 to 7 times the amount of legumes, significantly more healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids and about twice as much fiber compared to omnivores. All of these nutrients are essential for a healthy diet and belong to the so-called preventive food groups that can protect against disease.

Vegan children also ate fewer sweets and convenience foods, and their diets contained fewer unhealthy saturated fats and less fat in general than those of children on a mixed diet. [2]

Eating habits are established in early childhood. Adults who like to eat healthily often did so as children. So if you introduce your children to healthy eating habits at an early age, you are shaping them for life.

Vegan supplementary food: Babies can be fed a vegan diet from birth

Complementary feeding is the gradual transition from liquid breast milk to a porridge-like diet and then to solid food. The water content of the food decreases and the proportion of complex carbohydrates and fiber increases. Breastfeeding is the optimal form of nutrition for an infant for at least the first six months of life and fully covers the nutritional needs of a healthy baby. [3]

From around the fifth month of life, supplementary food supplements breast milk, but does not replace it. The child still gets its fill mainly from milk, which continues to provide all the important nutrients if the mother eats a balanced diet.

The gradual introduction to solid food should be joyful, relaxed and without pressure. Soft plant-based foods such as pureed fruit, well-cooked vegetables and ground, cooked grains are particularly suitable for this at the beginning. A balanced vegan diet is suitable from birth. [4]

You can find out what you should pay attention to in the section “Important nutrients in a vegan diet” below.

A woman gives her baby porridge with a spoon.
Even small children can be fed a balanced vegan diet with well-planned supplementary food.

Vegan diet provides growing children with all nutrients

Children are curious and want to know where their food comes from. If they are included in the daily diet, they usually have a lot of fun going shopping and helping with the cooking. This is a fun way to introduce children to healthy eating in everyday life, which will have a positive impact on their future. A vegan diet is ideal for this.

Growing children have an increased need for nutrients – proteins are particularly important. However, they do not need any animal products for this. Many people are not aware that there are enough proteins in plants and that a balanced vegan diet consisting of whole grains, pulses, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds provides large amounts of protein. [5]

Plant-based protein sources also contain many other health-promoting nutrients such as vitamins, secondary plant substances, unsaturated fatty acids and fiber. The complex carbohydrates from natural, plant-based foods are the ideal source of energy for an active child.

You can find out how you can ensure that your child gets all of the important nutrients from a vegan diet in the section “Important nutrients in a vegan diet” below.

A woman and a child are putting various types of bread and vegetables on the kitchen counter.
A sufficient supply of dietary energy and essential nutrients is important for children.

Vegan diet is also suitable during puberty

Young people need a lot of energy. Complex carbohydrates from natural, plant-based foods are ideal for keeping energy levels as constant as possible. The body absorbs complex carbohydrates more slowly, which ensures that blood sugar levels rise more slowly. This keeps you full for a long time and prevents cravings.

If children grow up with a healthy diet from an early age and are involved in food preparation, it will be much easier for them to develop healthy eating habits as teenagers.

You can find out what you should pay attention to in a vegan diet in the next section “Important nutrients in a vegan diet”.

Which nutrients are considered critical in a vegan child’s diet?

In every diet there are nutrients that should be given special attention – so-called critical nutrients. The following explains in more detail the nutrients that the German Nutrition Society (DGE) classifies as critical in a vegan diet:

  • Protein,
  • Omega-3 fatty acids,
  • Vitamin B12,
  • Vitamin D,
  • Calcium,
  • Iron,
  • iodine
  • and zinc.

Your needs can be easily met with a vegan diet.

Get important tips on vegan nutrition now

Do you want more background information on vegan nutrition and lifestyle? In our free Veganstart app you will find an extensive recipe database, our shopping guide and many useful tips and tricks for your transition to a vegan life.

  • Sources

    [1] Vegan Society (March 14, 2023): Vegan diet: Officially recommended, (accessed January 22, 2024)

    [2] German Nutrition Society (2020): 14th DGE Nutrition Report, 4 Vegetarian and vegan nutrition among children and adolescents in Germany – VeChi Youth Study (pp. 289 – 354)

    [3] Stuebe, A. (2009): The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants. Rev Obstet Gynecol,, (accessed 22.09.20)

    [4] Dr. Markus Keller, Edith Gätjen (2017): Vegan nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding and supplementary feeding – mother and child well cared for. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart

    [5] Niko Rittenau (2019, 5th edition): Goodbye vegan cliché! Scientific answers to critical questions about vegan nutrition. Ventil Verlag UG & Co. KG, Mainz