Children need protein in their diets for growth, brain power and to boost their immune systems. The organs and muscles in the body are primarily made of protein, and most children need 1 gram of protein for every two pounds they weigh. A diet full of protein is especially important for children who have ADHD, according to WebMD, as well as for children undergoing chemotherapy, according to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
Eggs typically have approximately 7 grams of protein each. Try scrambling or poaching an egg for your child’s breakfast to give him the energy he needs to start his day off right. You can make the egg more exciting by sprinkling it with a bit of low-fat cheese or by placing it on top of a whole-wheat English muffin. If your child won’t eat eggs plain, try mixing them into a favorite dish. Add an egg to macaroni and cheese or another pasta dish before baking or serve him French toast made with whole-wheat bread.
Beans have plenty of protein per serving, around 18 grams per cup. Try serving your child tacos made with refried beans or simmered black beans. You can also place a serving of pinto or black beans in a quesadilla for a quick, high-protein snack or dinner. For a treat while watching a movie, top nachos with shredded cheese and black beans. Baked beans are another bean dish that appeals to children. You can add some meat for complete protein. Hummus, made with pureed chickpeas, is a healthy, low-fat and high-protein snack that can serve as a tasty dip that children can use to top pita bread slices or whole-wheat crackers.
Milk, yogurt and cheese contain a lot of protein. One ounce of cheese usually has about 7 grams of protein while a glass of low-fat milk typically has 8 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving. If you serve your child yogurt, serve an unsweetened variety. You can add honey or fruit if you like. Combine the yogurt with fruit and granola for a complete breakfast. In addition to protein, dairy products provide your child with the calcium she needs for strong bones.
Good for you if your children eat fish, another high-protein food. Fish also have omega 3s, which children need for brain and heart health. Tuna fish, mixed with mayonnaise and celery and served on a roll, is a classic children’s lunch, but you might want to select another fish with a lower mercury level. Salmon is a low-fat, child-friendly fish, as is orange roughy, which doesn’t have a particularly “fishy” taste.