If you think that protein is only for muscle and body building, you are mistaken! Protein does a lot more than building strong muscles. Here are a few questions around protein being super important for your child:
Protein for kids is very important as they participate in virtually every cellular level activity. The hemoglobin in your baby’s blood cells is a form of protein. Without this protein, the blood will not be able to transport oxygen to the organs of the body. Similarly, the enzymes in your baby’s saliva and digestive system belong to a certain protein category. They help digest food and absorb the nutrients from them. Protein also acts as a source of energy if your infant eats inadequate amounts of cereals and carbohydrates.
One of the reasons protein for babies is advised is because protein helps build stronger bones. If your infant does not get adequate protein, their bones may become weak and may not lengthen as per the normal growth rate. This may result in stunted height.
Immunity is usually associated with vitamin intake but protein too plays a role in protecting your infant from the flu and other infections.
According to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), protein for children between the age group of 1-3 year olds should ideally be around 16-17 grams per day.
Protein foods for kids should be a part of your infant’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Milk and dairy products such as lassi, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter and paneer are good examples of protein-rich food for babies. You can also feed your baby boiled sprouts.
When your baby grows a little older, you can give them protein enriched food by adding milk powder or gram flour to chapatti dough along with eggs and meat. Chicken is usually the best meat to start with as it is easy to digest and pleasing to a baby’s palate.
Avoid feeding your infant junk food as it has a low protein content.