Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Protein snacks for kids

I am forever on a search for high protein, low junk snacks for our 8 and 5 year old kids.   They are very active kids involved in baseball, football, running clubs, dance and other school events and, I think it is important to mention that they are both vegetarians. Neither of them will eat beef, fish, chicken or pork. One will eat eggs and the other will eat tofu, and otherwise that leaves us with nuts, seeds, yogurt, beans, milk and to some extent whole grains and dark green leafy vegetables to seek out for their protein sources. 

Protein is important to build and repair tissues in the body. Most every process in a body needs protein for adequate health. 

On average kids need protein based on their weight in kilograms. To determine a general goal for protein needs for kids take their weight in pounds, divide by 2.2 to reach their kilograms. For a healthy child without any health concerns you can take their weight in kilograms and multiply by 0.8-1.0 to determine their need for grams of protein. For example: Jackson is 87 pounds and therefore his protein needs would be: 87/2.2= 39.5kg x 0.8 = 32 -40 grams of protein per day. 

Determining the amount of protein in a food item can be found by reading a food label. Make note of
how many servings the label is referring too and then scroll down to grams of protein. 

Here is a list of after school and lunch time snacks that I find healthy and protein rich:

1. Quick and easy granola and snack bars are one of my easiest forms of protein rich snacks. The kids favorite bars are KIND snack bars which have protein contents that range from 3-8 grams of protein per bar. Low in sugar and rich in whole grains. I love these snacks so much I asked them to donate to our run club which has 100+ kids. The kids loved the snacks and learned a little bit about healthy eating! 
2. A whole grain protein rich waffle which can be served any time of the day. Containing as much as 16 grams of protein these falafel waffles were recently published in Food &Nutrition Magazine. 
3. Ants on a Raft or the classic ants on a log incorporate protein rich nut butters with apples or celery topped with raisins. 
4. Smoothies are amazing because you can jam pack in a ton of nutrients that are easily swallowed or sipped up. Some great protein additions include: low fat Greek yogurt ( a little more protein than regular yogurt), low fat soy or cow milk (Almond milk is very low in protein), nut butters and even tofu.

No matter how old your kids are, protein is an important part of their diet. Keep in mind the protein sources and a mental note of their daily protein intake. For questions concerning protein email me: Brandi@ABCDEatRight.com . 

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