Did you know that about one billion people suffer from insufficient protein intake?
This is a global problem, with up to 30% of children getting too little protein. Protein deficiency can affect most of your body’s functions. It can cause negative changes to a child’s body composition, like muscle wasting.
Are you sure that you’re giving enough of your children enough protein every day? Here’s a guide to answer how much protein do kids need. Read on to learn about the recommended protein and best foods with protein.
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Importance of Protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a huge role in your body. It’s a food component needed in large amounts to let your body function properly. The question is how much protein do kids need.
Consuming protein every day helps form, recover, and repair your body tissues. This includes the tissues in your organs, skin, muscles, nails, and hair. Protein also strengthens your bones, produces hormones, and smoother nutrient transport.
Protein also assists in maintaining your acid and fluid base balance. This is essential for children who are moving through several phases of growth.
Many protein sources provide many essential nutrients like Zinc, Iron, Vitamin E, and Magnesium. These nutrients are a part of almost every cell in your body.
Without protein, your child’s height and development will move slower than average. Your children may experience various health issues. This includes fatigue, joint pains, poor concentration, and decreased immune system.
How Much Protein Do Kids Need
So, how much protein do kids need every day? It turns out, it all depends on your kid’s weight, gender, and age. Until your children reach 14 years old, protein intake stays the same for both girls and boys.
In the later years, boys need more protein due to more muscle mass gains compared to girls. This rule only applies depending on their activity levels as an athlete.
A general rule is that it should stay 10% to 30% of your calorie intake should originate from protein.
Let’s start with the match portion of understanding protein for kids. A healthy toddler aging between one to three years old should have 0.55 grams for every pound of body weight. If a toddler weighs 25 pounds, they would need at least 13.75 grams of protein every day.
When your kids reach continue to grow, their protein needs a per pound decrease. Children aged 4 to 6 need a minimum of 0.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. When they reach 7 to 14, they need at least 0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
As your kids go above 14 years old, it all depends on their gender. Girls need at least 46 grams, while boys need at least 52 grams of protein.
Here’s a simple summary of how much protein do kids need every day. Toddlers aged one to three need at least 13 grams of protein. This is equal to around 2 ounces of food.
Children aged 4 to 8 years old need 19 grams of protein. The food equivalent stays at 4 ounces. Those aged 9 to 13 years old need a minimum of 34 grams with a food equivalent of 4 ounces.
Once your children reach ages above 14, they need around 50 grams of protein every day. The food equivalent should stay around 5 to 6 ounces.
Should Your Kids Take Protein Supplements?
The simple answer is no. Adding extra proteins to your child’s diet may cause various long-term health issues. Too much protein for kids can overload your body’s functions.
Extra protein leads to excess calories. A child’s body may have difficulty burning the calories, so the body ends up storing them as fat.
Too much protein also leads to organ damages. Gaining high protein levels may cause kidney stones. It also makes it harder for your kidney to filter out any waste products.
A high-protein diet will wear out the kidney over time, contributing to dehydration. When your body processes protein, nitrogen appears in the liver. It makes it harder for your body to remove toxins and break down any nutrients.
There are some special cases when your child may need the extra protein from supplements. You can offer a protein drink for kids when their underweight. However, it’s best to consult a pediatrician before giving anything to underweight children.
If your child is a vegan or vegetarian, consider giving high protein snacks for kids. You can also offer protein powder for kids who are picky eaters. Children with metabolic conditions also benefit from a high protein diet.
Foods With Protein For Kids
It’s best you stick to the basics when it comes to cooking with sources of protein. You should load your child’s meals with a mix of lean meats, seafood, and plant-based proteins. Here are a few of the best sources of protein.
Lean protein is one of the most popular protein choices for both children and adults. It’s best to pick lean meat with low saturated fat. Some of the best lean protein you can get include lamb, chicken thighs, tofu, greek yogurt, and turkey.
Limit getting large amounts of red meats, such as pork and beef. When cooking with lean meat, it’s best to cook with a healthier cooking style. Instead of frying, you should saute or bake the meat.
You should also remove the skin off of the chicken if your child isn’t a picky eater. Instead of using salt or butter, go for spices and herbs as your seasoning.
Children can have up to two ounces of fish every week. Some of the best seafood protein includes sole, tuna, tilapia, and pollock.
Plant-Based Protein and Dairy
Plant-based protein is the healthiest choice for kids. This includes nuts, beans, and whole-grain bread.
Combining dairy with plant-based protein creates meals that give longer-lasting energy. Add some cheese, milk, yogurt, and eggs to their meals. You can also give protein smoothies for kids mixed with milk.
Give Your Kids Enough Protein
Ensure that your kids get enough every day to prevent development and growth issues.
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