Protein should be an essential part of your child’s daily diet, whether he is a toddler, a pre-teen or a teenager. This nutrient helps build your child’s bones, muscles, and skin, apart from repairing tissues and playing a key role in the production of hormones and enzymes. So, if you are worried that your kids are not getting enough protein, it is a valid concern. This problem can get even more pronounced during summer, when your children might not feel like eating heavy meals that contain eggs, chicken, or paneer (cottage cheese). Fortunately, there are some easy ways to deal with this problem.

This article elaborates on everything you need to know about protein, the quantities required as per your child’s age and gender, and recipes that can help you incorporate protein in their diet without making them uncomfortable in summer.

RDA of protein

RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of protein for children depends on their age and gender. A complete list has been shared below:

  Age(years) Daily protein intake (g)
Children 1-3 16.7
4-6 20.1
7-9 29.5
Boys 10-12 39.9
Girls 10-12 40.4
Boys 13-15 54.3
Girls 13-15 51.9
Boys 16-17 61.5
Girls 16-17 55.5

4 great protein sources for summer

It is normal for people to look for light and cooling meals during the summer months. However, getting the RDA of protein from regular sources like eggs, meat, or fish might not be desirable, as these foods tend to make you feel too full. Instead, you can give these 5 protein-rich yet light alternatives a try. Though every one of these items is vegetarian, they will keep your children energetic, strong and healthy.

  1. Yoghurt

    Yoghurt is one of the best vegetarian sources of protein. Unlike milk, which is harder to digest, especially in very hot weather, the probiotics in yoghurt make it very easy on the system. One serving of yoghurt (100g) has about 10g of protein. Of course, homemade yoghurt or curd is the best way to go, but if you’re buying yoghurt, make sure to get the high-protein, low-fat variety.

    Recommended recipe: Curd rice

    A great way to incorporate yoghurt into your kid’s diet is by serving curd-rice for dinner. Not only is it great for his daily protein intake, it will also boost his digestive system and help lose weight.

    • To make curd rice, all you need to do is mix curd with cooked rice.
    • Then, heat a teaspoon of ghee over a hot flame and add mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies, and asafoetida to the ghee.
    • Pour this “tadka” onto the curd rice and mix well. Serve immediately.
  2. Black beans

    Black beans are another wonderful way of incorporating protein in your child’s summer diet. Just 1 tablespoon of black beans has 1g of protein, or 2% of your daily requirement. Apart from being high in protein, black beans also have high amounts of vitamin B1, which is great for memory, and molybdenum, which is a natural detoxifier. You can also go for kidney beans and navy beans.

    Recommended recipe: Black bean and corn salad

    This is a light and refreshing way of incorporating black beans into your child’s diet and makes for a great dinner.

    • Take 1 cup of black beans (boiled), 2 cups of sweet corn, 1 small red bell pepper (chopped), ½ onion (chopped), and mix in a bowl.
    • Add 1 tsp of jeera (cumin) powder, juice of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp of olive oil.
    • Mix well, chill for 15 minutes, and serve.
  3. Coconut

    One medium coconut has about 13.2 g of protein, or 26% of your kid’s daily requirement. The coconut water is also great for the summer season and has a host of health benefits. Contrary to popular belief, coconut is not fattening, and in fact, it’s rich in medium-chain triglycerides which can help weight loss.

    Recommended recipe: Coconut is extremely versatile and can be incorporated into your child’s diet in so many ways. Simply add coconut shavings to a breakfast bowl of fruits or granola. Or, add some coconut water to your child’s morning smoothie.

  4. Banana

    Banana is another great source of protein that’s perfect for the summer months. One large banana has 1.5 g of protein, which means it meets 3% of your kid’s RDA of protein. Bananas are also rich in potassium and help lower blood pressure. They’re also rich in fibre and amino acids. Another great thing about bananas is that it’s a very versatile fruit. You can make it a part of a breakfast smoothie, add it to cereals, or just let your child eat a couple of bananas for breakfast.

    Recommended recipe: Banana chaat

    If your kids find the taste of bananas to be a little monotonous, this recipe will help you get that perfect balance of flavours.

    • Take 2 bananas and cut them into thin slices. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, black salt, and black pepper, on the banana slices. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon on the banana slices and enjoy.

Finally, while you need to make sure that your child is getting enough protein in his or her summer diet, don’t compromise on their digestive system by serving foods that are too rich. The food sources and recipes mentioned in this article will help toddlers and teens beat that summer heat while also getting the strength they need.