Protein Sources for Kids Who Do Not Like Meat
Protein is one of the most important nutrients for the human body. From growth and maintenance of tissues, biochemical reactions, providing structure to cells, maintaining proper pH, to enabling communication between cells and organs, protein plays a number of crucial roles. This is the reason why it is necessary for every individual to meet their daily recommended intake of protein.
But apart from adults, protein is very much necessary for kids too. As their body is still growing and developing, the early years of life are important for laying the right foundation of the body. While adults can understand the importance of protein and consuming a protein-rich diet, the same cannot be said for kids.
Meat is one of the best sources of protein. However, no matter how hard you try, most of the kids are picky when it comes to food and might not like consuming meat. Fortunately, meat is not the only excellent source of protein. There are many other great sources that you can consider if your child does not like eating meat. Some of the best options are as follows.
Eggs are highly versatile and can be prepared in many different ways. Apart from the versatility, eggs are also one of the best sources of protein. One medium-sized egg contains 3-5 grams of protein. Apart from high-quality protein, eggs also contain as many as 13 essential minerals and vitamins.
You can consider hard-boiled, poached, or scrambled eggs for your kids. Moreover, they can also be added to all of their favorite dishes such as sandwiches, soups, and more.
Nuts like almond, cashew, pistachio, and peanut are also excellent sources of protein. If your little one does not like eating nuts directly, then you can also consider nut butter such as peanut butter which is both delicious and nutritious.
Nuts are also great sources of dietary fiber and many different types of essential nutrients, like vitamin E, vitamin B, zinc, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. One bowl of mixed nuts (100 grams) can contain up to 20 grams of protein.
While green vegetables are most popular for their vitamins and iron, they are also loaded with protein. One cup of cooked collard or spinach contains up to 5 grams of protein. Green peas are also an ideal choice if you are looking for protein-rich foods.
However, a large number of kids also try to avoid eating green vegetables. You can try to be more innovative with the recipes in order to make something that your child might like.
Even seeds such as sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds are full of protein. One cup of sunflower seeds with hulls can contain as much as 10 grams of protein.
Most of the protein-rich seeds also contain healthy amounts of zinc, calcium, copper, vitamins, and fiber. While they generally do not have an overwhelming taste, you can consider adding them to smoothies, muffins, spreads, dips, salads, and more.
While quinoa is not very popular in India, it is one of the best sources of protein. One cup serving of quinoa can contain up to 8 grams of protein. It is also a great source of vitamin B, magnesium, fiber, potassium, iron, and a host of beneficial antioxidants.
You can now also find quinoa powder which can be added to many different favorite dishes of your child. Similarly, there is also quinoa pasta now available to make it more palatable for the kids.
From milk, curd, cheese, greek yogurt, to cottage cheese, there are many different types of dairy products that are full of good-quality protein. One cup of milk alone has up to 8 grams of protein along with healthy amounts of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, vitamins B12 and B2.
You can also consider fortified milk as they contain added vitamin D and calcium to offer improved health benefits. Apart from plain milk, you can also consider fruit shakes and smoothies, flavored yogurt, and more to keep things delicious and nutritious for your kids.
How Much Protein Does a Child Need?
A child between the age of 4-8 years should consume at least 20-30 grams of protein per day. The same for kids between the age of 9-14 years is 35-40 grams in a day. Between the age of 15-18 years, a boy should consume at least 50 grams of protein and girls should consume a minimum of 45 grams of protein in a day.
With so many great alternatives, it shouldn’t be difficult for the parents to ensure that their child receives the recommended daily intake of protein even if he/she doesn’t like meat. Use the options listed above to create a healthy meal plan for your kids and help them enjoy not just a healthier present but future too.