When adding protein into your child’s diet, you don’t have to fight or succumb to the daily chicken nugget diet.
Every parent wants their children to eat a healthy diet, and eating enough protein is an integral part of that. That can be challenging with fussy eaters. But it doesn’t have to be impossible!
Here are some facts regarding protein that you may not be aware of and some suggestions for making mealtimes easier.
Why is protein essential in your child’s diet?
Protein is commonly associated with muscles, but it also serves as a building block for many other body elements, including hair, bones, enzymes, skin, and blood. Our bodies are excellent at recycling and reusing proteins as they degrade, but we still require some from our diet.
Children ages 4 to 9 need 19 grams of protein each day. Those between ages 9 and 13 need 34 grams. For teens, ages 14 to 18, it varies by gender: Boys need 52 grams, and girls need 46 grams.
Does cow’s milk contain protein?
The short answer is yes! Many children can consume the recommended amount of protein through cow’s milk. Cow’s milk has 3,4 g of protein per 100mls (soy milk has nearly as much, though not all soy and plant-based milks do).
Compared to the necessary protein quantities above, milk alone might meet a child’s protein needs until the age of 9! Hopefully, this alleviates some of the concerns of parents. After the age of nine, your child should be able to negotiate healthy food choices.
It’s true that some youngsters dislike milk and that consuming more than the recommended amount might cause poor eating habits when children want milk instead of food).
Foods surprisingly rich in protein
The good news is that – other than meat and cow’s milk – there are several ways to gain protein and mix it up at mealtime. Here are some more foods surprisingly rich in protein.
- Fish sticks or nuggets
- Mozzarella string cheese
- Nut butter
- Whole wheat pasta