Protein is one of the most important nutrients in the developing years of a child. There are several natural food sources like milk, eggs, meat, broccoli, mushrooms, and more that are vital in your child’s diet. However, if you want to optimise your child’s protein consumption, are there any options?
Children’s protein shakes are the simplest way to make sure that your child gets the necessary protein intake each day. If your child is a fussy eater or has dietary restrictions, choosing a good health drink gives you the assurance of ample protein consumption.
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Why is Protein So Important for Kids?
Protein is classified as a macronutrient as it must form a majority of a balanced diet. It is one f the most important nutrients as it plays a central role in many bodily functions. This includes the repair, recovery, and growth of tissues in the body. The muscles in our body are made up of long chains of protein molecules. So, for the proper development of muscles in the growing years, children need enough protein.
When a child does not get the daily recommended intake of protein, it leads to several health issues. This includes poor concentration, bone, and joint pain, slow growth, fatigue, delayed healing of wounds, and poor immune response. It is possible to avoid these issues by making small changes in your child’s diet. One of these changes is adding a protein drink along with the regular food that your child consumes.
How Does a Protein Shake Benefit Kids?
Studies show that one in seven children of school-going age do not get enough protein every day. There are several reasons for this that can be easily resolved with the use of a good protein shake on a regular basis.
Protein shakes offer several benefits:
- They provide a single source for all amino acids: Protein is made up of 20 amino acids in total. Out of these, the human body can produce 11. The remaining, known as essential amino acids need to be obtained from the food that we eat. Protein shakes use sources that can provide all 9 amino acids in a single serving, ensuring proper development of the child’s muscles and tissues.
- It helps make up for dietary restrictions: In their developing years, children are fussy about food. This is because they are still exploring different kinds of foods and learning about them. Children may also be unable to consume protein-rich foods because of dietary restrictions. A primarily vegetarian or vegan diet or any food allergies limit the protein sources that the child can consume. In these cases, you can fill the gaps with the use of a good protein shake.
- Protein shakes provide other important nutrients: Protein shakes contain other vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Some of them may even contain natural extracts that provide added health benefits to children. All the nutrients included in these drinks are carefully calculated to ensure optimal consumption.
- They keep the immune system healthy: One of the most important nutrients for the immune system is protein. In addition to that, these drinks provide various micronutrients that boost the function of the immune system. This prevents common health issues and keeps the child active.
- Protein shakes improve recovery: Whether it is muscle recovery after strenuous physical activity or the recovery of wounds, protein is important. They are responsible for the repair and regeneration of cells and tissues. With the addition of a protein shake, you give your child an easy-to-absorb form of protein that boosts the recovery process.
Protein shakes are also extremely convenient to use. All you have to do is add them to milk or any preferred beverage to make a thick and creamy drink that your child will enjoy. These powders are also very versatile. You can add them to your baking recipes, cereal, and other foods to increase their nutritional value.
Tips to Choose the Best Protein Shake
When choosing a protein shake for your child, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind:
- Check the protein source: There are different types of protein sources used in these drinks. Some of them may contain whey while others use plant-based protein sources. Whey is a type of milk protein that should not be used if your child is lactose intolerant. In this case options like soy or pea protein are better for your little one.
- Focus on the sugar content: One of the biggest issues with most commercially available protein shakes for kids is that they are rich in sugar. Consuming these shakes regularly can lead to issues like obesity. A simple way to determine the sugar content is to check the nutritional label. If it lists sugar towards the middle or the end, then you can be sure that the sugar content is lower. You must also look out for hidden forms of sugar like cane solids, liquid glucose and sucrose.
- Look for common allergens: Commercially manufactured products may contain traces of allergens like soy, glucose, dairy, fish or nuts. Make sure you check the ingredients list for them. If your child has a history of food allergies, this is extremely important to prevent adverse effects on the child’s health.
- Get an age-appropriate product: Just as low protein consumption can harm your child, even overconsumption of this nutrient can have negative effects. The recommended daily allowance or RDA of protein changes from one age group to the other. So, it is important to check the age group that the product is recommended for before using it.
A protein shake can be used as an accompaniment to any meal during the day or as a snack after playtime. In order to get the best protein shake health benefits, make sure that it is only used as a supplement to a balanced diet. Protein shakes must never be used as a replacement for any meal during the day.
If you are unsure about which protein shake is the right one for your child, it is a good idea to consult a doctor or nutritionist. They can recommend a product that is safe and suitable to your little one’s requirements.