When Veena came to India for the first time her primary concern was her vegetarian in-laws.
She had a two year old son in her lap. She was worried about the protein requirements of her child. She thought that vegetarian food can not fulfill protein requirements of a growing child.
She agreed to stay in India (as a vegetarian) after having multiple conversation with her mother on phone and consulting with a nutritionist in New York.
She rolled up her sleeves to know everything about protein rich foods.
Veena is living in India for past three years and leading a GO-Vegetarian movement. She learned how to use protein rich vegetarian food in daily diet of her child.
Vegetarian mothers of toddlers are still concerned about protein requirements.
Thanks to the mother nature, there are plenty of natural protein diets which are rather tasty and healthy for your growing champ.
A study suggests that vegetarian children are less prone to obesity. The reason is, they take more fiber and less insoluble fats in their food.
Why is Protein a matter of concern?
it’s for two main reasons.
First, the body needs protein for daily functions. For your two and something you have to maintain a proper inflow of protein so that he may not niggle you again and again.
The second reason, protein helps in growth of the body & muscles. Protein becomes a priority for growing kids.
Protein is the basic ingredient for building tissue & muscles. If you assume the body as a multi-storied apartment, protein is as essential as bricks.
As a fuel, protein contains 4 kCal energy packed in 1 gram.
During digestion protein breaks into amino acids, releasing 4 Kcal per gram. Amino acids thus formed gives structure to the tissue formation
There are 20 types of amino acids (also known as building blocks of body tissues) needed for human body. 11 of these 20 amino acids are called non-essential amino acids. The body prepares non-essential amino acids by itself while essential amino acids are acquired directly from the right food.
For proper growth of your child and to match his energy requirements, protein intake is mandatory but in a prescribed format and in scientifically recommended quantity.
What is the Protein recommendation for a toddler?
Let’s talk in terms of grams.
Experts suggest that a maximum of 15 percent of all energy needs of the human body should come from protein. This translates to 30 to 45-gram protein inflow per day for adults. Protein requirements not only depend on energy needs but also on the factors like age group, body weight, and daily activities of the person.
The Institute of Medicine, USA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that protein intake for infants should 1.5gm per kg weight and toddler should be 1.1gm per kg.
According to Healthy Eating, kids between 1 and 3 should consume 1.1 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight each day.
Two years old child needs 13 to 15 gram protein per day if his weight is about 10-12 kg
The pace of tissue formation slows down as children grow. The protein recommendation thus varies according to the age of the child. It depends more on their daily energy consumption and body weight.
Protein rich vegetarian food
Here are few daily used meal content which can be included in your toddler’s diet to meet the daily protein need. The protein content is given in braces (per 100gm).
Soybeans (36gm), Split Peas or Matar Dal (25gm), Chickpea or Channa (19gm), Lentils (9gm), Kidney beans or Rajma (7.2gm).
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds (21gm), Walnuts (15gm), Cashew nuts (18gm), Peanuts (26gm), Sesame seeds (18gm).
Barley (12gm), Millet (11gm), Oatmeal (2.4gm).
Kale or leaf cabbage (4.3gm), Brussels sprouts, a type of cabbage (3.38gm), Artichokes (3.3gm), Mustard greens (2.9gm), Spinach (2.9gm), Broccoli (2.8gm)
Potato (2.0gm), Beetroot (1.6gm), Lettuce (1.4gm), Onions (1.1gm), Eggplant/Brinjal (0.98gm), Green pepper (0.9gm), Tomato (0.9gm), Cucumbers (0.56gm)
Apple (0.3gm), Grape (0.6gm), Cantaloupe (0.8gm), Orange (0.9gm), Papaya (0.5gm), Banana (1.1gm), Pineapple (0.5gm), Watermelon (0.6gm), Peach (0.9gm), Pear (0.4gm).
You must include dairy products like milk, yogurt, paneer etc. A cup of milk contains 8gm protein.
Indian cuisine includes Chapati/roti (primarily in North India). A 6 inch roti includes 3-5 grams protein depending upon whether it is pure wheat or mixed.
These food need to be taken in a structured manner because they do not contain protein only, but they posses carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals also. This is the reason you need a protein pyramid to understand the feeding.
The Protein Pyramid insists,
Do Not run over the protein content (high value in grams) of the unit. Feed everything in proportion
You can plan your child’s diet with a balanced mix of legumes, nuts, dairy, grains and vegetables. Keep in mind
- Do not focus merely on protein.
- Your diet chart must have vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.
- Keep experimenting with different recipes by using protein rich ingredients.
Lead by example
Kids try to copy everything around them. Don’t consume food that you don’t want your kids to eat.
Do not overfeed
A body needs a limited amount of food. Everything extra is a waste (or gets accumulated).
Do not feed everything you eat
Fast food does more harm to your children than you think. If possible you must avoid the packaged foods too.
Do not force feed
Kids lose interest in food when you feed them forcefully. Just offer the options and let them choose.
Make a timetable
Try experimenting with different type of food at different times.
Children are incomplete without Mothers and food is incomplete without Protein
A healthy child has a divine smile and you adore this smile because your toddler is your life. Make this smile everlasting by keeping him healthy. Give my love!