Kids and their Protein Needs
If you’ve clicked on this link, you’re probably looking for some information to clear up any confusion about your kids’ nutritional needs. Let’s get straight to the questions that most people have about this topic. Do kids seriously need protein? Isn’t Protein just for people who’re into bodybuilding? Can Protein Consumption harm the health of young children? The simple answers to these questions are Yes, No and No! Let’s try and figure out why!
Protein - The Basics
In simple terms, Protein is an essential nutrient. It is found in almost all parts of the human body, right from bone and muscle to hair and skin. It is crucial for all the functions that our organs perform and is made from more than twenty basic building blocks called amino acids. Out of these 20, 9 are considered to be essential, i.e. the essential amino acids. Also, it can be found in 2 sources which are either Plant-Based or Animal-Based.
Now that we’ve gotten a basic understanding of Protein, let us link this with the answers that we gave for the most common questions around protein and kids.
Protein and your Kids
So, do kids seriously even need protein?
Yes. Since Protein is an essential nutrient that helps in literally every function of our body, it is essential, especially for kids since it is in their early years when they see the most physical and mental development, and when it becomes crucial that they get wholesome, healthy nutrition!
Isn’t protein just for people who body build?
No, it is not. This would have been true, had protein only been responsible for the strengthening of one’s muscles. However, as mentioned earlier, protein has many additional roles in the functioning of our bodies and hence is not something that only bodybuilders should take. However, bodybuilders do indeed require protein in higher quantities than non-bodybuilders, since muscle building is an important attribute of protein, in addition to all of its other attributes!
Can Protein consumption harm your kids’ health?
No, it can not. However, as is the case with everything else in life, excess consumption of protein can lead to a myriad of issues. Hence it is recommended that consumption of all nutrients be done as per the numbers suggested by organizations such as the RDA, CDC e.t.c.
As kids grow, their protein and other nutritional requirements increase. This has been highlighted in the table below.
We have also linked RDA’s 2022 nutritional guidelines at the end for you to go through if you so desire!
As discussed above, protein comes from 2 main sources which can be categorized as plant-based and animal-based sources. We’ve compared both of these sources in extensive detail in our blog - Vegan Protein - An Oxymoron? – Vegan Dukan, but in summary, not only are Plant-Based sources of Protein are much healthier than their Animal-Based counterparts, but they also provide complete protein, i.e. all essential amino acids.
Some Protein-Rich foods which your kids can have.
We understand that ideas can be fussy at times. This is why we’ve created a list of food items that can be made to taste great while still ensuring that your kids’ protein levels stay on point!
- Beans - With up to 26grams of protein and various varieties ranging from lima to black beans, beans can be made into any number of delicious dishes.
- Tofu - With 15g on offer, tofu is a great paneer replacement in paneer dishes, everything from paneer bhurji to paneer paranthas.
- Tempeh - Tempeh can be made into a variety of delicious dishes which pack 18g of protein punch!
- Nut Butters - A different take on protein consumption through meals, nut butters are a delicious and genuinely yum way to ensure that your kids get their required share of protein. Plus there’s not much that you need to do in terms of preparation. Just have it with bread or even as is.
- Quinoa - An extremely nutrient-dense food, quinoa can be had as flour, or even as a replacement for rice. It has tons of benefits for us and can be made delicious in a wide variety of recipes.
- Seeds - Pumpkin, Chia, Sesame e.t.c. - Easy to enjoy in a snack or meals, seeds are a nifty way of getting in protein on the go. Enjoy them as is or sprinkled on your foods.
Kids need more than just protein right? Check out our blog - Vegan Nutrition for Kids – Vegan Dukan