For picnics with the kiddos, be sure to pack vegan foods. According to a recent study published in Preventing Chronic Disease, plant-based foods have been associated with decreased body mass index (BMI) in children. So for National Picnic Month (July), let’s load up our baskets with plants.
Vegan foods offer more than enough nutrients for optimal health in children. Most vegan foods lack harmful fats that can clog arteries while providing essential nutrients such as protein, iron, and calcium. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asserts that well-planned vegan meals are suitable for all stages of life—including pregnancy, nursing, infancy, youth, and adolescence. Encouraging children to consume animal-free foods not only benefits their physical well-being but also supports their innate compassion.
Life on a factory farm is no picnic. In the U.S. today, 99 percent of animals used for food live in cramped, filthy conditions on industrial farms. They are confined to wire cages, metal crates, or other restrictive enclosures and rarely experience sunlight or fresh air until they are transported to slaughterhouses. By nurturing our children’s innate rejection of speciesism—the outdated notion that humans are superior to other animals—we facilitate their growth into compassionate, conscientious adults.
Need some kid-approved picnic basket ideas? Pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit salad, crunchy carrot sticks with hummus, popcorn, lemonade, and vegan ice cream. Whether it’s National Picnic Month or any other month, let’s pack our plates with plants.
Climate Research Specialist