Not only is it essential for adults, but protein for kids is also equally or even more important. A lack of protein in children leads to poor academic performance and also negatively affects social and emotional development. It also leads children to be lethargic, withdrawn, and passive. That’s why protein is one of the essential nutrients our children need for healthy growth and development.
Protein for Child Growth
Protein for kids plays a vital part in the proper development of children. Though most kids obtain enough of it from the foods they eat, there may be times when supplements are beneficial.
Below are a few tips to help your child meet their protein intake needs.
Let’s explore in detail:
- Focus on Whole Foods & Nutrition
There’s no evidence protein powder for kids is unsafe at any age, but a well-rounded diet that includes healthy protein sources should be a priority.
- Blend with Fruit, Oats, or Healthy Fats
Veggies, vegetarians, picky eaters, and kids who lack protein can benefit from the extra protein in smoothies if they are not getting adequate protein in their diets.
- Mix protein Powder for kids in Recipes
There is no harm in high-protein recipes so long as children have a balanced diet; it is safe and convenient for busy kids.
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Protein Basics for Children
- Protein provides amino acids and enzymes to help your child’s body perform basic life functions – i.e. digestion, brain waves, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.
- It is a great source of calories that doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike (keep kids calm!)
- It also helps to keep your child full longer (happy, satisfied child!)
- It helps promotes lean muscle and growth
High-Quality, High-Protein Meals for Kids
Protein is a vital macronutrient for kids that helps in the proper functioning of the biological process in the body. The primary factor for kids is to consume quality protein than quantity. Amino acid is the building block of protein that helps to improve the immune system, support neurological development, and develop muscle synthesis in kids.
Today, we have compiled a list of high-protein meals for kids:
High-Protein Breakfast Ideas
- Shakes and Smoothies
- Protein Porridge
- Protein Pancakes
- Greek Yogurt & Fruit
High-Protein Lunch Ideas
- Chicken Wrap
- Planted-Based Lunch
- Snacks for Lunch
High-Protein Dinner Ideas
- Tofu Stir Fry
- Grilled Chicken
- Baked Salmon
5 Nutritious High Protein Foods for your Kids
The growing years are very crucial for a child. Protein plays a leading role in the growth and development of your children. Protein is needed for the DNA, enzymes, haemoglobin, bones, hormones, antibodies, and strong growth of hair and nails.
Cow’s milk contains calcium that is good for your child’s bones and teeth. Milk is essential for muscle building. It is a rich source of high-quality protein. It contains all the essential amino acids.
It increases good cholesterol levels, decreases heart diseases, and has antioxidants that promote eye health.
Fish contains nutrients that fight depression and makes your child a happier person, especially during terrible teens.
Beans are the greatest sources of protein and they are a powerhouse of nutrients. Fiber helps to prevent constipation in kids. A healthy bowel movement is good for your growing child.
Cheese boosts energy levels and is good for kids who want to shine in athletics. It also helps in building strong bone health. Health experts advise that cheese should be eaten in moderation. Therefore, healthy bones play an important role in the growth and development of kids.
5 Plant-Based Protein Sources
Toddlers and growing children require adequate protein for their growth and development.
It is a myth that only animal foods are rich in protein. Here are 5 foods that are plant-based and also rich in proteins.
Let’s explore in detail:
Soybean contains the highest amount of protein amongst all plant sources – a whopping 14.3 grams. Soybean can be consumed in many forms, including soy milk, soya chunks, and soy flour.
Tofu contains 8-12 grams of protein, depending upon the texture. It can be consumed in different forms to make it both tasty and delicious for toddlers and growing children.
Kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and lentils when cooked are full of proteins. These beans contain at least 7-8 grams of protein.
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high-source of protein for kid’s healthy growth and development. Nuts and seeds can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, milk, etc to enhance their protein diet.
Quinoa is a gluten-free, mineral-rich seed that’s high in protein and easy to cook for children in a several ways to make it both healthy and tasty.
How Much Protein Your Child Should Get Every Day?
|1-3 Years||4-8 Years||9-13 Years|
|1/2 cup milk = 4 grams 1/2 cup yogurt = 4 grams 1/2 cup oatmeal = 5 grams||1/2 cup corn = 5 grams 1/2 cup milk = 4 grams 2 ounces chicken = 12 grams||Mozzarella cheese stick = 7 grams 1 sweet potato = 3 grams 4 ounces chicken = 24 grams|
Benefits of Protein for Your Child
- Builds Muscle
Proteins help in building, maintaining, and replacing tissues in the body.
- Promote the Growth of Cells
It aids in blood replenishment, heals wounds, and regulates hair and nails growth.
- Boosts Metabolism
Protein, in the form of enzymes and hormones, ensures that the body’s metabolism remains in a healthy shape.
Protein Snacks for Kids
- Start the day with protein-rich breakfasts like jumbo chickpea pancake, banana protein smoothie, quinoa with eggs, egg and cheese sandwiches, Oatmeal, etc.
- When your child asks for evening snacks, let him have protein-rich snacks like milkshakes, yogurt, cheese, nuts, or hummus.
- Make protein-rich desserts, like milk pudding, quinoa pancake, lentil pancake, etc.
With a little bit of innovation in protein snacks for kids, it is possible to fulfil the body’s protein requirement.
What Does Protein Provide Children?
Protein helps children grow and stay healthy. Remember that a healthy eating plan for children should have different types of food. That’s why protein intake for children should come from both vegetable and animal sources.
Consuming plant-based foods provide us with other nutrients like Vitamins and minerals also. While animal-based foods provide children with some minerals and fats too.
Let’s see which food children need to put protein in their diet.
Protein-Rich Dishes like legumes salad or chickpea hummus are vegetable protein dishes. While animal-based foods like roast meat or eggs also contain protein. Remember these protein-rich foods keep children healthy and strong in every way.
Does Protein Help Children to Grow Taller?
As we have already said protein is essential for the healthy growth and development of a child. Studies have shown that adding protein to children’s diet supports height growth at a young age. There is a positive relationship between protein and height that works pretty well together for growing children.
Though height generally depends on the genetic feature but providing good nutrition during childhood can certainly have a major impact on how tall a person becomes.
How Do You Know Your Kids Need More Protein?
Signs that show that your kids are not getting enough protein in their daily diet.
- Poor Communication
- Lower Immunity
- Decreased Muscle Development
- Sluggish Feeling or Fatigue
- Slow Wound Healing
- Delayed Growth Rate
- Bone or Joint Pain
Protein provides those essential amino acids that can only be found in the food that we eat. Not consuming enough protein can have a mental and physical impact on growing kids. A fulfilled protein diet provides the strength that your children need to be healthy and enjoy their life to the fullest.
Protein Powder for Children
- Children with high-protein diets have quicker responses to stimuli compared to children with low-protein diets
- Children with a high-protein diet – having dal, sprouts, egg, or chicken 4 or more times a week had greater evoke related potential (ERP) at 300 milliseconds, which signifies greater brain electrical activation.
- Children having protein food twice a week or less had an ERP that was 80-100 milliseconds slower.
Experts suggest vegetarian families include sprouts, beans, pulses, chickpea, soya, and paneer in children’s diet. Non-vegetarians must add at least two eggs a day in their children’s diet.
Protein Shake for Kids
First of all, we must remember that protein shakes for kids should be supplemental, and they should not replace meals for kids. Avoid using citrus fruits in any protein shake with dairy products. Avoid adding raw eggs to any shakes. It’s possible to have too much protein, know the limits for your child based on weight.
Let’s look at some of the coolest protein shakes for kids:
- Soy Delicious Banana Shakes
Blend 1 cup of chocolate or vanilla soy milk with a full banana and 1/4 cup cottage cheese. The result is a thick, creamy burst of protein to start your child’s day.
- Banana Nut Shake
Using milk as the base, add a frozen banana and 1 tbsp peanut butter. This creates a banana milkshake with a hint of peanut taste. If your child prefers, you can add a bit of chocolate syrup to make it a chocolate shake.
- Perfect Little Parfait
Top ½ cup non-fat Greek yoghurt with a handful of fruit (fresh or frozen) and a drizzle of honey. Add 2 tablespoons of toasted oats for a protein-packed crunch.
- Chocolate Milk
Low-fat chocolate milk is actually a great source of high-quality protein, just try to find one that’s also low in sugar.
Whey Protein for Kids
- Children with nutritional deficiencies
- Children who don’t eat well
- Children of vegetarian parents
- Children who are very active
- Promote growth
- Conducive to hormone production
- Aid in weight loss
- Boost immune system
Pro Tips for Protein for Kids
- Choose lean meats
- Include fish 1-2 times per week, try canned tuna or salmon on sandwiches or crackers, or in salad
- Add legumes like chickpeas or lentils to dishes like curries or bolognaise sauce for added protein 1-2 times per week
Now, you can understand the importance of protein consumption in kids. Adding adequate protein to your child’s diet will help them build new cells in the body. So, don’t miss out on your child’s growth and development by removing protein from their diet.
Try to talk to your child’s doctor for a better understanding of protein in their diet.
Anil delights in assisting others in enhancing their health and fitness. Anil, a runner and blogger, has spent the past twenty-four years motivating others to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Join Anil in his efforts to better the world.