Food & Diet

Best Protein-Rich Non-Vegetarian Foods For Young Kids

Written by Kaushiki Gangully
Published: May 21, 2024

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Protein is an important micronutrient for humans and has numerous bodily functions. Not only do they build muscles and improve strength, but also boost metabolism and help the body repair itself after an injury. Protein consumption also lessens the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, weight gain, and muscle loss. Therefore, it is important to include proteins in the daily diet of young kids.

However, excessive protein consumption can have an adverse effect on the human body, increasing the risk of chronic and lifestyle diseases. So, it is important to get the daily dietary protein intake right to help your kids bloom and thrive. Proteins provide the same amount of energy as carbs, only with more health benefits. They also have a unique advantage.

For example, proteins manage to improve metabolism and burn more calories while leading a normal lifestyle. This is why nutritionists and health experts advise those involved in high physical activity or trying to lose weight to consume more proteins and less carbs. And since proteins also help curb cravings and increase satiety, compared to other food groups, they are an ideal snack-time companion for kids as well.

As for their daily intake, since protein requirements vary depending on a child’s age, weight, gender, and level of physical activity, parents should consult a healthcare provider for an accurate number. Since meat and animal products remain the top source of protein, here are some of the best protein-rich non-vegetarian foods for young kids.

Protein-rich non-vegetarian foods for young kids to munch on
1. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent way of introducing your young children to animal protein. Rich in ingredients and easy to cook, they can be cooked in a variety of dishes. Low in calories and high in nutrients, a large, boiled egg provides 6 gm of protein, along with ample doses of calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins B6, B12, and D. This makes them a rich source of fatty acids and fills your kids’ stomach. But keep an eye on the amount or number of yolks consumed as they contain lots of healthy fats which can pile up if consumed excessively without engaging in physical activity.

2. Chicken

chicken

Chicken is a good source of protein without costing many calories. A standard 100 gm serving of chicken offers 31 gm of protein, along with vitamin B6, B12, D, and iron, within the 160 to 180 calories range. This makes chicken meat a great low-calorie source of protein for young kids and can be incorporated as a part of their daily snacks and meals. Try using grilled, roasted, baked, and sauteed chicken more than fried and deep-fried ones, to ensure maximum protein absorption and health of young kids.

3. Mutton

mutton

A standard serving of mutton provides 25 gm of protein, making it a delicious and excellent source of animal protein for kids. Since there are many cuts available of the animal meat, choose a tender cut for introducing your child and serve it roasted with some homemade mint chutney or as a traditional curry. Your kid will not be able to stop till their plate is clean and their protein levels are replete.

4. Duck

Duck is an underrated yet nutritious source of non-vegetarian protein for young kids. Providing 19 gm of protein per serving, the meat is also an excellent supply of iron for young kids, covering more than half their daily iron intake as well. Since it contains more nutrients, like copper, and higher levels of vitamins, many nutritionists consider duck a healthier option compared to chicken meat.

5. Fish

Fish, like salmon and tuna, are pure sources of protein and nutrients as they are low in carbs and calories but high in proteins and healthy fats. While a standard serving of cooked salmon provides 24 gm of protein, tuna offers 28 gm of protein at a much lower calorie range with less fat and more minerals. Introduce your kids to fish at a young age and slowly increase portion size. Use homemade citrusy or creamy dressings to liven up fish preparations and watch your kids’ protein levels get replenished daily.

6. Seafood

seafood

Seafoods like oysters, scallops, and shrimps are protein powerhouses but not always a hit among fussy eaters. Tastier yet equally nutritious compared to other seafood, shrimps, and scallops still work well with kids, if prepared right. Since a standard serving of both scallops and shrimps provides 21 gm and 24 gm of protein, respectively, while being low in carbs, fats, and calories, they make a wonderful protein-rich non-vegetarian addition to your kids’ diet.

Conclusion

Make animal protein a priority for your kid as it provides some of the richest sources of vitamin D, iron, and other essential minerals while offering body-building nutrients. As proteins play a crucial role in the wholesome development and growth of young kids, parents need to incorporate these best protein-rich non-vegetarian foods into their young kids’ daily diet to get the best results.

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The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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