Children require a healthy and nutrient-rich diet to be able to support the growth of their bodies. You need to provide them with a bit more of those essential nutrients because they have increased needs. To grow up big and strong, they need protein. They’re the building blocks of our bodies. However, how much protein do they really need? It’s a complex question that has several different answers. Nutritionists suggest that parents should include lots of protein in their children’s diets. When it comes to protein-rich diets, children benefit quite a bit.
Helps them get big and strong
As any parent will tell you, children grow up fast. One day they’re the size of a chocolate bar and another they seem to be four feet tall. Children don’t stay small for long, and they grow pretty much constantly. This growth doesn’t come from nowhere, though. They need to eat lots of food to supplement these enormous growth spurts.
What better way to help nurture their bodies than with the building blocks of all cells? Proteins are crucial for the form and function of just about every cell in our bodies. Increasing the amount of protein in your child’s diet will only facilitate additional growth. It’s going to give their bodies ample building blocks for the growth that they need throughout their childhood.
Stimulate muscle growth
Children need to build muscle to develop properly. This doesn’t mean that they should be hitting the gym twice a day or consuming large amounts of red meat, but they should be encouraged to play and eat healthy amounts of food. Muscles are a key part of a child’s development, and they need to be nurtured in a physical and nutritional sense. Proteins are the most key nutrient when it comes to building muscles. Everyone knows that people who want to build muscles drink protein shakes and eat protein-rich food.
Muscles are constantly being replenished. Just like all the other cells in our body, they have to heal and repair themselves after a while. If some of them die off, they need to be replaced, and some of them need to increase their size.
This is especially prominent in children who are constantly growing. They need to consume more protein to be able to keep up with their bodies and build their muscles. During puberty, you can expect boys to see a meteoric rise in their muscle mass, which means their protein needs will also be drastically increased.
Provides them with a proper source of energy
Proteins aren’t just the building blocks of our cells and muscles. They’re also a great source of energy. Our bodies can transform excess proteins into carbs and energy through a process called gluconeogenesis. It’s an additional source of energy that is always worth considering when making nutritional plans.
Protein is a pretty versatile source of energy when needed. Some diets like paleo include eating lots of protein in place of carbs and fats. It’s a perfectly viable diet, but this specific one isn’t recommended for children.
Fats and protein provide children with a more stable source of energy, as well. These nutrients need to be burned and transformed into energy, which takes time. Simple carbohydrates are instantly usable by the body, which isn’t always a good thing. Carb-rich food can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes now and then. These kinds of fluctuations should be avoided. They can be pretty stressful for the child and leave them exhausted from time to time. Adding some more protein could offset this and create more balanced sources of energy.
Helps them avoid snacking too much
It’s no secret that kids like sweets. If they could get their hands on a ton of snacks, you can bet that they’d be able to eat them all. Maybe not in one sitting, but that ton would quickly erode into nothing. It’s only natural for children to enjoy high-carb foods and snacks. Several things influence their still-developing diets.
For one, they have a much better sense of taste. Their delicate tongues can better process certain kinds of tastes, which is probably why they aren’t especially fond of bitter and healthy foods. Their taste for sweetness is a lot stronger than it is for adults, which means they’ll crave these foods until they get sick of them. It’s something you can see any time you bring them a batch of snacks that you don’t expect them to finish all at once. It’s a part of evolution. Children require more energy, so they seek out carb-packed food for that boost of energy that it provides.
However, eating snacks until they’re sick isn’t exactly healthy. Because of this, you might want to sate their appetite with some protein first. Food that is tasty and rich in protein will help give them the nutrients that they need, and it will reduce their cravings for sweets. When you’re full of a heavy meal, it’s less likely that you’ll want to gorge yourself on something afterward.
Leaves them sated for longer
Part of the reason that sugary sweets aren’t very healthy is the fact that they don’t leave you sated for very long. Pure processed carbohydrates are quickly metabolized and used as energy, which causes blood sugar spikes. This spike is then countered with an overproduction of insulin, which brings that blood sugar down. When the blood sugar is down, you start craving food and sweets again. This happens in a relatively small amount of time, so you end up wanting to eat more, even if you just had a solid course of carbs.
Protein and fats are good at countering this kind of blood sugar spike. They release their energy slowly and allow the body to adapt to having more fuel in its system. You want to introduce lots of protein to the child’s diet to prevent them from eating too many carbs and sugars. It would help them get a stable amount of energy throughout their day. A percentage of carbs would give them a quick boost, while the protein and fat would release their energy over time, doing so in a more manageable way.
Leads to a healthier diet
A diet that includes food rich in protein tends to be healthy. Many foods contain a healthy percentage of protein that would be very beneficial to a growing body. It’s easy to come up with a varied and delicious diet when your goal is an increased amount of protein. There are lots of protein-rich foods to choose from.
If the child’s diet includes meat, the job is made a lot easier. You can choose from just about any source of meat, and it will have an adequate amount of protein. Poultry is the most efficient meat type in terms of protein content, by far. Chicken is also miles ahead in terms of healthy nutrients compared to red meat and beef. Not to mention, it also goes very well with just about every kind of vegetable, making it ideal for cooking up healthy meals.
Lentils and rice are an often-underestimated source of healthy nutrients. They might just seem like a boring legume at first, but they can be cooked into some extremely tasty meals. They are packed with protein, and this gives them an edge compared to many other vegetarian alternatives. They may lack a few crucial amino acids, which is why they are combined with other protein sources that do. A bit of meat and cheese on the side adds to the flavor and completes the nutritional needs.
A lot of people think that a healthy and protein-rich diet leaves little room for snacking. However, this is far from the truth. You can find a wide variety of healthy snacks that are very rich in protein. A good example would be nuts. They’re crunchy, delicious, and come with lots of different vitamins and minerals. They’re also packed with protein.
The best part about nuts and seeds is that you can mix them up with just about anything and create a great snack. Whether it’s sweet or salty, you can easily cook up something delicious. Peanuts are especially versatile. They can be added to salty and savory meals without significantly affecting the taste, while still adding some crunch and nutrients.
When it comes to protein content, almonds are considered one of the best sources. Whether you eat them raw or cooked, they’re going to be a good addition to any meal or snack.
Determining the right kind of diet for a child is difficult. It depends on a multitude of factors. For starters, their age is very important when you want to discuss what they’ll be eating. A lot of children might have issues with certain kinds of food, which puts some limits on their diet. Some children are allergic to specific foodstuffs, while others avoid bitter foods like the plague. You must find the right balance to supplement their needs.
If their diet doesn’t allow for very varied sources of protein, it might be time to look to certain kinds of supplements. Many parents consider adding bcaa protein powder shakes to their child’s everyday diet. It’s considered a good supplement due to its nutritional value and the fact that it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Protein powders are a great way to get around dietary restrictions and provide your children with the protein and other nutrients that they might require. Plus, they come in a variety of tastes that can make feeding your child a lot easier.
Not to mention, you significantly cut back on your cooking time with the help of protein supplements. Instead of cooking an entirely separate meal for your child, you can simply make a protein shake and give them everything they need. Of course, the keyword here is “supplement.” You can’t use it to replace a meal, only to add to the nutrition of the day.
Improving metabolism and function
The great thing about proteins is that they serve a variety of functions in our bodies. When you have an adequate supply of them, these functions are enhanced and improved. For example, the enzymes in our bodies are made of protein. They help move metabolism along and create various metabolic products that are important for cell functions.
When your body is lacking protein, these enzymes don’t work at optimal capacity. This might not affect adults too much, but it’s something that can certainly affect children. They require a wide variety of enzymes that help them grow. Bones don’t just need vitamin D and calcium to develop; they also require the help of certain enzymes in the body.
You shouldn’t neglect fats, either. They’re an integral part of the development of our nervous systems. Children experience rapid growth and development in their brains, which is why getting all the right nutrients is so crucial. This is where healthy fats come in. Along with protein, you should aim to provide your children with amino-3 acids from fish and other sources. Nuts are another good candidate for healthy fats. Peanuts are a surprisingly good source of fat and protein, which is why they are considered such a wonderful health food.
Nutrition is a tricky science. You have to watch out for hundreds of different substances that all serve very important functions in our bodies. It gets even harder when you try to nurture a growing organism. Children are particularly demanding in their diets, and giving them the right nutrients is pretty difficult. However, there’s nothing that a varied diet can’t solve. If you provide them with enough vitamins, minerals, and protein, they will be able to grow up healthy and strong. The great thing about protein is that it’s a relatively abundant nutrient, as long as you know where to look. With the right nutritional plan and some clever cooking, you can introduce a protein-rich diet to your child without much effort.