Protein is the building block for growth, muscle building, and repair. This statement is often repeated and is absolutely true.
Proteins are essential for toddlers as they are in a sharp growth cycle and need more protein than older kids per kilogram of body weight. Essential amino acids are a part of the enzyme building process that is integral to maintaining health and growth.
Healthy bones, hair, and skin are also maintained by ingesting a high quality digestible protein that is readily absorbed.
How Much Protein Does an Infant Need?
Studies show that a baby needs around 9.1 grams of protein from 0-6 months of age. The need can be easily met by exclusive breastfeeding. The mother should be vigilant that she eats healthy food to keep the nutrition levels of the child optimal.
Infants from 6-12 months need about 11 grams of protein for optimal growth. Care must be taken to ensure that the food is well mashed and cooked so that it is easily digestible.
Protein for Babies – 6 Months of Age
There is a huge variety of both vegetarian and nonvegetarian foods that can be fed to the baby. This age group can get adequate nutrition from smooth soups like spinach and lentils or daal. The food should be lightly salted and processed sugar and salt is best avoided. Homemade Chhena or coinage cheese and Dahi are also good options. These foods have probiotics and keep the baby nourished and healthy.
Protein for Babies – 8 Months of Age
Month old babies often try and make food choices and recognize tastes. The food they get can be a little more complex and solid. You can safely add khichdi, sooji halwa or Upma, Besan Halwa, Daliya or porridge, mashed bananas and so much more. At this age too the emphasis on mashed and well-cooked food to help wean the child from milk to semi-solids.
Protein for Babies – 10 Months Old
10-month-old infants need nearly 11-13 grams of high-quality protein every day. It is the right time to introduce complex proteins that can fuel rapid growth. Taste and nutrition can be added with boiled sweet corn kernels, Rava idlis, and soft scrambled egg yolks. Do encourage the baby to eat a varied diet to encourage trying new tastes and textures.
Protein Food for 12-15-Month-Old Baby
By the time the child is one the energy needs of the child rapidly increase as it learns to walk and run. It is the right time to introduce foods with new textures and complex tastes like boiled cauliflowers, oatmeal, peas, peanut butter and even steamed sprouts. Healthy protein rich baby food is also available as prepackaged units if your child is a picky eater.
The early years lay the foundation of the future nutrition patterns of the child and the inclusion of protein-rich food for 6/7/8 months baby can be the difference in giving the baby an optimal start in life. The skeletal, nervous and digestive system of the child grows most rapidly in this phase of life and the food we give our child is an important piece of the puzzle that is called Parenting.