15 High-Protein Foods That Will Help Your Toddler Grow
Raising toddlers can be challenging, epsecially to make them eat as healthy as possible. It is an extremely important developmental age when they need to consume the required amount of nutrients.
Protein plays an essential part in the diet, its requirements depend on a child's age and weight. Children between 1 to 3 years old need 13 grams of protein, while kids between 4 to 5 years old need 19 grams of protein, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Therefore, here is a list of 15 high-protein foods that will help your toddler grow healthily:
Beans are highly nutrient-rich and an excellent source of plant-based protein that also includes fiber, folate, and magnesium which provides health benefits to the growing kids. You can incorporate this food at around 6 months of age.
It is difficult to get all nutrients from milk alone after they start eating solid food. You can add beans to their solid food which helps reduce the risk of constipation and promote healthy gut health. Choosing dried beans over packed canned beans is the best and most affordable option on a daily basis.
Best Beans For Toddlers
- Garbanzo Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Cannellini Beans
Eggs are another great source of protein, iron, vitamins, and fats, but this cannot be eaten in excess amounts as it might affect the kidneys. Studies have shown that eating moderate amounts of eggs can help regulate and maintain a child's weight.
Eating eggs offers various health benefits to children. You can feed eggs with a combination of delicious foods to ensure they receive all the required nutrients instead of overfeeding them with eggs alone.
Best Ways Of Feeding Eggs
- Scrambled eggs
- Eggs Puree
- Mashed hard-boiled eggs
- Combining it with rice or oatmeal
Fish are considered a superfood that is essential for a child's developing brain, nervous system, and vision. It contains high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and a great source of superfoods which may help prevent allergic diseases such as asthma and eczema.
Once the babies start eating solid food you can start adding fish to their diets. However, not all fish are considered safe for babies as few types of fish contain high levels of mercury such as mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, etc.
Best Fish Type For Toddlers
- Canned or light tuna
Nuts contain natural power-packs of protein, fiber, and other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats which help children grow, develop, learn, and boost immunity. You can start including nuts in your kid's diet between the ages of four to six months.
Nuts are allergenic foods and according to the studies, early introduction of possibly allergenic foods may help prevent food allergies. But before adding nuts to their diets be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider, so that there won't be any complications in the coming days.
What Nuts To Feed Your Kids?
- Cashew Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Pine Nuts
5. Cow's Milk
Cow's milk definitely helps in growth as it contains protein, calcium, vitamin D, and multiple other vitamins. As compared to many other milk alternatives that are available in the market, cow's milk is relatively cheap and is easily available at any grocery store.
However, not every kid can digest this milk, and it can cause abdominal discomfort, gas, obesity, and stool changes. So, a thorough session with your trusted pediatrician is highly recommended if you are thinking of incorporating this dairy item into your child's diet.
Ways To Incorporate Milk
- By mixing cow's milk with formula
- Adding some fruits
- Experimenting with milk with different temperature
- Adding chocolate syrup or other milk products
Cheese is one of the popular foods worldwide and can be introduced to babies above 6 months of age. Cheese contains protein and fat and is made from milk that provides babies with a good source of energy and helps in overall growth.
It is also a great source of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, which are important for bone health, muscle function, and immune health. It also supports healthy blood cells and nervous system development. Not all cheeses are good for your babies. Any cheese that is not pasteurized, goat cheese, and blue-veined cheese should be avoided.
Best Cheese Option For Toddlers
- Cottage Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Monterey Jack
Lentils are also considered as a great plant-based source of protein, fiber, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals. You can introduce lentils to your baby as soon as the baby starts eating solids but in moderate quantities to avoid bad effects such as gas problems.
As lentils are also fiber-rich foods, they can help clear baby's digestive systems and improve their gut health. Including lentils in their regular diets will help babies stay active and energetic which is good for brain development. Make sure that the lentils are organic and do not contain harmful chemicals.
Which Type Of Lentils Are Good For Kids?
- Red Lentils
- Pigeon pea Lentils
- Green Lentils
- Yellow Lentils
Yogurt is rich in protein and calcium and also contains phosphorus and Vitamin B. These nutrients found in yogurt will help muscle development and keep your baby's bones and teeth strong. Adding this fermented dairy product to your kid's diet can bring various visible changes.
Homemade yogurt is best for babies; however, there are several organic options available in grocery stores that are also safe for toddlers. Yogurt is also known as probiotic food, which maintains a healthy balance of bacteria in your kid's gut.
Best Yogurt Option For Kids
- Whole Milk Yogurt
- Greek Yogurt
- Fruit Yogurt
- Plain Yogurt
Meats are a good source of protein, they also contain vitamin B and minerals like zinc and iron. You can incorporate poultry in your baby's food in several different ways to aid your baby's immune system, growth, and brain development.
Various research and studies have shown that meat-eating kids grow stronger and smarter as the supplements do not really provide the same benefits. It also helps prevent various harmful vitamin deficiencies and fulfills the need for iron for growing babies.
Best Meat Option To Feed Your Kids
- Ground Beef
- Ground Chicken
Tofu is also a soy protein that has a soft texture and is easy to chew and digest for babies. The protein-rich food is also high in polyunsaturated fats and can be a great source of calcium, vitamins B, and iron.
This food contains all nine essential amino acids that are packed in a lot of nutrients which is great for toddlers. Tofu can be added to children's daily meals in a moderate amount, but to be certain about the consumption of Tofu, you can have a brief talk with your pediatrician.
Best Tofu Option For Toddlers
- Silken Tofu
- Soft Tofu
- Firm Tofu
- Sprouted Tofu
11. Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter offers many health benefits for toddlers when given in a moderate amount. It is a kid-friendly nutritious food that is a great source of protein, Vitamin B, iron, folic acid, and fiber.
Peanut butter is a versatile option for kids as it can go with many types of foods, such as apples, celery, crackers, bread, and other options. According to studies, peanut butter can be incorporated into a baby's diet after they turn 10 months old as it is considered highly allergenic in nature.
Best Peanuts Butter Brands For Kids
- MaraNatha Organic Peanut Butter
- Trader Joe’s Organic Peanut Butter
- Great Value Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
- Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
- Crazy Richard’s All-Natural Peanut Butter
- Thrive Market Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
Hummus is a healthy snack for toddlers that is high in protein and plant fiber, and it has lots of health benefits as it can produce more energy, improve heart health, help with gut problems, and much more. This can be a great option if you prepare it at home and avoid store-bought.
The best time to introduce hummus to your kid is between 8-9 months of age as baby intestinal organs start to develop at this point. However, babies can sometimes be allergic to hummus due to certain ingredients so make sure that everything you are adding fits your child's gut.
Best Varieties Of Hummus
- Peanut Butter Hummus
- Sweet Potato Hummus
- Spinach Hummus
- Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
- Carrot Hummus
- Roasted Beetroot Hummus
Once your baby starts eating solid food, you can start feeding them oatmeal every once in a while as it is good for their digestive system. Oats contain more protein than almost all other grains, including a protein called avenalin, that other foods don't have.
It also contains iron, magnesium, B vitamins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats that not only maintain your children's gut health but also aid in the growth and development of brains. It is also great for a baby's bone health and helps promote a healthy heart and immune system.
Best Oatmeal Recipes For Kids
- Oatmeal with fruits
- Carrot Cake Oatmeal
- Baked blueberry oatmeal
- Oatmeal pancakes
- Oatmeal muffins
- Overnight banana oatmeal
14. Soy Milk
Soy milk is a great alternative for some toddlers who are lactose intolerant or are allergic to whole cow's milk. They are high in proteins, irons, and a variety of other vitamins that are crucial for a growing child. Babies can start having soy formula at the age of 12 months as per studies.
Soy milk is low in fat and is safe for most healthy babies, but be sure to buy whole soy milk as fats are important for brain development in children under 2 years old. You can also buy flavored soy milk or can add flavoring if your child does not like the taste of plain milk.
Best Soy Formulas For Babies
- Similac Soy Isomil Infant Formula
- Enfamil Plant-Based Baby Formula
- Earth’s Best Non-GMO Plant-Based Infant Formula
- Gerber Good Start Gentle Soy Baby Formula
Seeds are packed with nutrients such as protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals which are important for your toddler's optimal growth and body development. It is best to include a variety of different seeds for kids to ensure they are getting essential nutrients.
Each type of seed offers distinct benefits, such as hydration, brain development, immune system support, and sustained energy. However, not all seeds are beneficial for your kids so make sure to research the best and healthy seeds to incorporate into their diets.
What Are The Best Seeds Option For Kids?
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
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