There is much speculation around protein and its benefits. Protein is simply a macronutrient that is essential in the formation of muscle mass. It is found in various nuts, legumes and animal produce. Most children will have a balanced diet that supports the required protein intake. There are however exceptions, which warrant the need for additional protein within their diet.
When it comes to protein, there are many questions you may have. Let us explore how to incorporate protein into your kid’s diet and what it does.
How to incorporate protein
As previously mentioned, protein is commonly found in various foods within a healthy diet. Generally, the most protein-dense foods tend to be within meat, fish, cheese and nuts. You may have also considered protein shakes for kids, which are also a way to incorporate the macronutrient within a diet. Let us explore some way in which you can support your child with healthy habits which include their protein intake.
Depending on a child’s age and weight, they may need anywhere from 19 grams to 52 grams per day. This is comprised of only 10% to 20% of calorie intake within a day. For children, though it may be difficult, there are certain foods that they may be less reluctant to eat. Here is a list of some of the foods that are protein-dense and children tend to enjoy:
- Peanut butter
- Nuts and seeds
- Cereals (which are protein-fortified)
Though this is by no means a comprehensive list, it is a good place to start. The key to children’s nutrition is to expose them to a variety of foods and let them choose the ones they enjoy. Starting young is ideal but if your child is reluctant, there are always ways to supplement on the way to incorporating these foods into their diet.
What does protein do?
Protein is key in the body’s cell renewal process and growth. Most notably, it is known for helping to build muscle, which is what half of your protein intake is used for. This muscle growth is key in helping children develop and be healthy as they grow. It also supports in repairing injuries, which children will inevitably sustain.
Protein is made up of amino acids, which the body uses for muscle mass. Protein compromises 15% of a person’s body weight. Consuming complete proteins is ideal. Complete proteins are made up of the nine amino acids that humans cannot produce, which must come from food consumption. Most plant-based proteins are not complete and so must be had in accompaniment. For example, legumes to be consumed with rice or peanut butter with bread.
With kids, it is important to consult with their doctor before supplementing and ensure that you are supplementing in the correct way. They will be able to advise you on the best ways to incorporate protein into your child’s diet to ensure their health.