Why is protein important for your child’s development?
Proteins are constituents of the body and participate in different vital processes.
Protein is a constituent of the body and participates in different vital processes. In fact, excluding water and fat, the human body is made up almost entirely of protein!
An adequate consumption, combined with a balanced diet will help with muscle strengthening, height and the correct development of children. The United Nations Food Organization (FAO) explains that proteins are the basis for:
• Building the tissues of the body (muscles, blood, skin, bones), especially in periods of growth.
• Repairing body tissues throughout life.
• Strengthening the immune system.
• Ensuring proper functioning of the body as they are part of many hormones.
• Providing energy (1g of protein provides 4 kcal.)
During the first six months, babies get all the nutrients they need from breast milk. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
During the second semester, the "transitional period" begins, with progressive complementary feeding where different foods are introduced, such as porridge and later vegetable and meat purees, such as chicken.
From 3-8 years of age, the child adopts a diet more similar to an adult.
Where do I get the proteins to feed my child?
Protein can be obtained from two different sources; animals and vegetables.
- Proteins sourced from animals
meat, fish, milk and eggs
- Proteins sourced from vegetables
cereals (quinoa, rice, triticale, wheat, oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, etc.)
legumes (lentils, peas, beans, soybeans, chickpeas, etc.)
nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.)
How much protein can my child consume?
The amount of protein varies according to the age and weight of the child:
The latest research by the MDPI about the Dietary Protein Requirements in Children indicates that children between the age of 4–13 require 0.95 grams/kg and between the age of 14–18 , 0.85 grams/kg approximately.
To have an idea, take a look at this helpful graph.
Remember: Eat with your children as often as possible, educate them about nutrition and make each mealtime sociable and enjoyable.
Happy homemade meals!
BLOG POST CREATED BY VANESSA KEANE, DIETITIAN