- Parents must ensure that children eat a balanced diet
- One essential component of a balanced diet is protein
- Some protein-rich foods are eggs, chicken, tofu and nuts
Parents must ensure that children eat a balanced diet as it is important for their growth and development. One essential component of a balanced diet is protein. This is because proteins are primary structural and functional components of every living cell. Half the protein in our body is in the form of muscle and the rest of it is in bone, nails, hair, cartilage and skin. Proteins are complex molecules composed of different amino acids. Certain amino acids are "essential", which have to be obtained from the diet since they cannot be produced by the human body. Other nonessential amino acids can be synthesized in the body to build proteins. Proteins perform a wide range of functions and also provide energy.
Protein requirements may vary with age, physiological status and stress. However, more proteins are required by children in their growing age, pregnant women, individuals during infections and illness or when someone wants to lose weight. Animal foods like milk, meat, chicken, fish and eggs and plant foods such as pulses and legumes are good quality sources of proteins. Animal proteins are high quality protein foods as they provide all the essential amino acids in right proportions. On the other hand, plant or vegetable sources of proteins are not of the same quality because they lack one or more essential amino acids. However, a combination of cereals, millets and pulses can meet your daily protein intake.
Have a look at some good quality sources of proteins for your child:
1. Whole eggs
Eggs are protein-rich as they contain all the essential amino acids. They are delicious and nutritious at the same time. You can have them for breakfasts or an evening snack.
Delicious and packed with proteins chicken are a must in your child's diet. Chicken is beneficial for the heart, improves your child's athletic performance and builds muscle mass.
3. Lentils and rice
Lentils and rice are vegan sources of protein and may lack some essential amino acids. However, a combination of these two can make for a protein-rich, nutritious and a wholesome meal. You can even add a dollop of ghee for your child's well-being.
Tofu is an excellent source of protein made up of soya beans. It is great for kids who are vegan or vegetarian. You can add tofu to your child's diet. Even better it is good for the heart.
Fatty fish like cod, salmon, mackerel and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are rich in proteins. In addition, these fatty fish are good for brain as well. Parents, should make it a point to include fish in their child's diet.
6. Nuts and seeds
Healthy nuts and seeds are great for your child. They are rich in healthy fats and have decent amount of proteins. You can give your child a handful of nuts for their evening snack or may be nut butters.
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