Food & Diet

Best Protein-Rich Food Sources For Young Girls

Written by Kaushiki Gangully
Published: May 21, 2024

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Protein is an essential micronutrient for growing kids. As puberty hits, kids need more protein and healthy carbs in their bodies to get enough energy and develop strong, active muscles. Healthcare professionals also advise engaging adolescents, especially young females in physical activity, sports, or martial arts, to maintain fitness, and physical well-being, and avoid lifestyle diseases. Since obesity has become a global epidemic and diabetes and cancer are on their way to the top, it is time to incorporate some protein-rich foods and exercise into the lives of your female adolescents.

Benefits of protein-rich foods for young girls

An intriguing fact about protein is that it provides 4 kilocalories of energy per gram, the same as carbohydrates while offering far more health benefits. Proteins,

  • Help increase muscle mass and strength

As the building block of muscles, proteins help maintain muscle mass and promote gain in muscle during strength training. Also, simply eating protein-rich healthy foods ensures extra strength in young girls.

  • Reduce cravings and induce satiety

Proteins help curb hunger by reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin and by spiking the levels of peptide YY, a hormone that makes people feel satiated.

  • Improve metabolism and aids in weight loss

Proteins have a higher thermic effect (aka the method of burning calories and absorbing nutrients) than fats or carbs and significantly boost metabolism. This, in turn, will help young girls who need to lose weight, remain full longer while burning calories and losing weight.

  • Aid in body repair after injury

Proteins help the human body, and its tissues repair themselves after an injury. Doctors and healthcare professionals also advise consuming more protein after injury to help speed up recovery, under their guidance.

  • Improve bone health

Unlike popular myths about proteins being bad for bones, recent research by healthcare professionals has proven that proper protein consumers have better bone mass than others with a lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures in life.

  • Reduce high blood pressure

High protein intake has been associated with lowering blood pressure, and even bad cholesterol in some cases. This can improve the heart health of young women and lessen the risk of future cardiovascular diseases.

Top protein-rich foods to include in your young girl’s diet

Therefore, proteins should ideally comprise between 25 to 35% of your young girls’ diet. So, for girls aged 4 to 8, 19 gm of protein is a must, young girls aged 9 to 13 should consume 34 gm of protein, while teenage girls between 14 to 18 require 46 gm of protein daily. Therefore, it is important for parents to include correct portions of protein-rich foods throughout the day to meet their daily dietary requirements. Here are some of the best protein-rich foods for young girls to boost their strength and stamina.

1. Cottage cheese

cottage-cheese

Cottage cheese is a wonderful source of protein for young girls as a standard cup provides 11 gm of protein at the expense of only 98 calories, making it an ideal protein-rich food for girls. Since it also provides calcium, potassium, and magnesium as well, incorporating some in daily meals is a great idea for your children.

2. Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is the ideal protein companion for young girls this summer. Since a cup of it is only 59 calories, providing 10 gm of protein, along with some calcium, B vitamins, and potassium, you can further enrich this nutrient powerhouse with some fresh berries or sliced mangoes to delight your daughter.

3. Eggs

Eggs have always been a rich source of protein, while also offering iron, vitamins B, D, and calcium, among other nutrients. Pair them poached or boiled, with some fresh fruits and toast for a nourishing breakfast for young girls.

4. Quinoa
quinoa

Quinoa is one of the rare foods containing all 20 amino acids essential for the human body while providing 8 grams of protein per serving. Make a healthy, low-calorie quinoa bowl for your young girl, with some vegetables, chicken or paneer, and nuts of their choice, with a light homemade dressing, for an easy, protein-rich daily meal.

5. Seeds

Seeds are a fun oddity of nature. Since a whole plant can come forth from it, seeds house an entire kitchen full of nutrients. A simple 30 gm serve of pumpkin seeds provides as much as 9 gm of protein.

6. Fish
fish

Fish are a wonderful source of protein, iodine, B and C vitamins, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. A simple 100 gm serving of cooked salmon offers as much as 22 gm of protein. This makes fish, especially fatty fish, a rich source of protein and nutrients for young girls.

Conclusion

Proteins are essential for young girls, especially in the 21st century. Since their lives are so hectic and full of school lessons, co-curriculars, tuition, and other commitments, they have little time to rest and replenish their nutrition levels at ease. Therefore, it is up to parents to incorporate those mentioned above best protein-rich foods into their young girls’ diet for them to grow and thrive.

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The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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