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Protein Power: the Right Fuel for Growing Kids

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We want our kids to have a good start in life. So along with the right education, security and health, we want to make sure that they get the best nutrition to grow healthy and strong. The foundation for this is adequate and high-quality PROTEIN.

We tell our kids, “Eat the meat in your plate,” and “Eat your beans,” and we’re right.

Proteins are the building blocks of the body and play an important role in both physical and cognitive health.

5 amazing benefits of protein:

  • 1. Builds muscle
  • 2. Helps new cells grow
  • 3. Promotes healthy metabolism
  • 4. Boosts the immune system
  • 5. Produces hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to all parts of the body

Now, that we’ve established that protein is important, how do we ensure that our child get’s high quality proteins in his daily diet. And what exactly are ‘high-quality proteins’ anyway?

Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 types of amino acids, of which 9 are considered essential. When a food source contains all the essential amino acids, it’s called a ‘high quality protein’.

High quality proteins are found in meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products. Plant sources also contain a good amount of protein, especially when you mix up legumes (beans, lentils, chick peas, fava beans) with grains (rice, burghul, pasta, bread). For eg. a nourishing protein-rich meal would be Moujaddara (lentils and rice) or Arabic bread with hummus or foul medammas or even peanut butter on toast.

Did you know? A child between 4 and 8 years of age

Needs 19 grams of protein/day

and when he reaches the aged 9-12 he needs 34 grams/day

There are a number of ways that we can combine food groups to make sure our kids tuck into high-quality protein while enjoying food that they love. Here are a few examples:

  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • Scrambled egg with cheese
  • Tuna sandwich
  • Turkey wrap
  • Hummus with vegetable sticks or crackers
  • Veggie burger
  • Peanut butter and jam sandwich
  • Pasta with chicken
  • Meatballs with soup
  • Cheese pizza
  • Yoghurt parfait with fruit

Giving our kids a balanced and wholesome diet will ensure that they get high-quality proteins that they need to grow healthy and strong. Fortunately, most sources of protein tend to be kid-friendly foods. So mums, let’s incorporate these ideas in our daily menu and ensure our kids grow well.

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