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The importance of chalking out a well-balanced diet for your kid is very important. Today, food habits are dominated by fried, oily, junk and fast food, often depriving kids of essential nutrition which is key to their growth and development. Protein is one of the most important nutrients, especially during the growth years of the child. Parents should, thereby keep a tab on the protein intake of the kid and ensure that necessary amount of protein is received by the child daily.
Benefits of Protein for Kids
Following are the benefits of protein for kids:
1. Build Muscles
Protein helps in building, maintaining and replacing tissues in the body. Protein is the building block of life and the most important nutrient for building muscles.
2. Aids Growth of Cells
Protein is necessary for the generation and regeneration of cells in the body. It aids in blood replenishment, heals wounds and also regulates the growth of hair and nails.
3. Boosts Metabolism
Protein, in the form of enzymes and hormones, ensures that the metabolism of the body remains in a healthy shape.
4. Strengthens the Immune System
Protein helps to keep your immune system strong and fight off disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Protein works as antibodies that provide assistance to the immune system.
5. Helps in the Production of Haemoglobin
Protein helps in the production of haemoglobin which is an important component of the blood as it helps to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
6. Protein is a Calorie Mine
The body needs carbohydrates to produce energy. When there is a shortage of carbohydrates, the body can also use proteins to get calories and produce energy.
How Much Protein Do Children Need
As children grow in age, the ideal quantity of protein required by the body also increases. Since protein is an important nutrient for your child, it is necessary to ensure that the ideal protein requirements for children are fulfilled on a daily basis.
Listed below is the protein required for kids of different age groups
- 0 to 12 months of age: 9.1 grams of protein every day
- 1 to 3 years of age: 13 grams of protein every day
- 4 to 8 years of age: 19 grams of protein every day
- 9 to 13 years of age: 34 grams of protein every day
Which Are the High Protein Foods for Kids
In order to make a high protein diet for kids, you can consider including the following food items which are high in protein content, to your child’s daily diet.
1. Dairy Food
Milk and milk products such as cheese, curd, yoghurt and cottage cheese are very rich in proteins. Ensure that your child has sufficient amounts of dairy products daily.
Eggs are a rich source of protein and perfect for your little one. A hard-boiled egg or omelette in breakfast is sure to give a power packed start to your kid’s day.
Lean meat items such as skinless chicken have protein in abundance. A tasty chicken curry or a chicken starter will provide ample protein nourishment and good taste to your child.
4. Plant-Based Sources of Protein
For those of you who are strictly vegetarian, you can give plant-based food items such as peanut butter, soymilk, tofu, nuts, legumes, soy yoghurt and seeds to your kid. They are not only healthy and filled with protein, but also taste good.
Tips to Make Your Child Eat More Protein
Making sure that your kid eats nutritious food can be difficult. Children tend to be inclined towards junk food (which excites their taste buds) and avoid good food. The best way to make your child eat nutritious food is by mixing up regular food items with food that is tasty, yet healthy in order to draw a balance between taste and nutrition.
Here are tips to make tasty yet high protein snacks for kids which they will relish and also get nourished.
1. Start your Little One’s Day with Waffles
Waffles for breakfast is always a hit with kids. All you need to do is replace the sugar or maple syrup with a layer of crunchy peanut butter. Your kids will love the taste and at the same time get a good dose of protein. You can also sprinkle the waffle with flax seed to make it more nutritious.
2. Make Chicken a Little More Exciting
The best way to get your child to eat some veggies and a protein is by making a patty out of chicken it and stuffing it between two pieces of buns and make a burger. Flavour it with a tangy sauce and your kid will relish it.
3. Evening Snacks Filled with Proteins
Edamame dip is a good source of protein and is tasty. Serve the dip with colourful bell peppers, nuts, and cherry tomatoes after your kid is back from the school.
4. Make a Protein Dessert
Greek yoghurt is a good source of protein, and when mixed with sweet berry sauce, it becomes equally yummy. Greek yoghurt will not only add protein to your child’s diet, it will also provide calcium to the body.
5. Bring in a Surprise Element
Quinoa is fast becoming a famous snack, thanks to the nutrient mine that it is. It is one of the very few plants which has complete protein along with potassium, zinc, and iron. A power food, when mixed with apricots, and pistachios is going to be a sure shot hit with your kid.
It is very important to provide sufficient protein to a growing child. It is a key element in muscle building and cannot be ignored. With a little bit of innovation in your child’s daily diet, it is possible to fulfil the body’s protein requirement.