Many teenagers have become vegan. If you are a Vegan teen (or are planning to become one), there are some things to consider. Since adolescents eat lots of meals as snacks and while they are on the go, it’s important to focus on foods that don’t require a lot of preparation. Teenagers can build a pretty healthy diet around veggie burgers and other non-flesh meats, peanut butter, hummus, calcium-fortified soymilk, instant soups, trail mix, protein bars, instant oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereals, fruits, salads and vegetables.
Other basic nutrition rules are teens should make sure they take vitamins and dietary supplements on a regular basis, like taking a regular vitamin B12 supplement and using calcium and vitamin D-fortified foods or taking supplements for these nutrients.
But it’s possible to get plenty of calcium from foods alone, like drinking one cup of soymilk fortified with vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D each day can go a long way towards giving you the nutrition you need. Drinking two cups of soymilk would be even better. Other good nutritional vegan foods to eat regularly for calcium are rice and almond "milks". You can use soy, almond or rice milks to make smoothies and shakes as well. Tofu and orange juice are also good as well as yellow and dark green leafy vegetables daily make excellent calcium rich vegan foods.
Still, taking supplements, like a good quality multi-vitamin for teens is great insurance during the growing years.
Teens should get some omega-3s in their daily diet too. A teaspoon of flaxseed oil on some bread is a good way, and walnuts are also a good source.
Legumes are great for protein, zinc, and folate. Other excellent protein sources are tofu, beans and nuts.
Getting enough iron is extremely important too. Iron deficiency is most common in teenage girls and younger women. A vegan diet that includes a good variety and amount of fruits, vegetables and grains should be enough iron. To improve the body's ability to absorb the iron from foods, nutritionists recommend cooking food in cast-iron skillets, adding beans and legumes to the meal.
Some quick and easy menu ideas:
Bean burritos with vegan sour cream and soy cheese
Tacos with a meatless ground beef substitute
Pasta with marinara sauce
Homemade or bought vegan pizza with lots of vegetables on top and vegan sausage
And for summer menus/picnics, families can put veggie burgers on the grill and make their own potato salad with a vegan mayonnaise for example.