Protein Boost for Kids

Kids eat all the time and seldom follow the food pyramid we learned about in school on eating a balanced diet. Our on-the-go lifestyles and easy-to-grab convenience foods are the norm and often lack protein, one of the vital nutrients our kids need to grow healthy and strong. Protein is linked to balancing hormones and building muscles.

Protein can boost your kid’s mood.

As a mom to two preteen/teen girls it’s important I am paying attention to their protein intake. Female hormones like estrogen and progesterone help maintain a regular menstrual cycle. Protein can also impact oxytocin levels, which is the feel-good hormone to lower stress and anxiety. Increasing my girls’ protein consumption is my life hack to keep them in a better mood. health

protein boostPicky-eater-approved protein.

Here are my four picky eater-approved protein-packed foods so I worry less about my kids not getting enough protein.

1. Cottage cheese mixed into pancake batter. 

This low-fat dairy product will level up your breakfast plate. ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese will deliver an extra 13 grams of protein. Mix pancakes as directed and add ½ to 1 cup of cottage cheese to the batter. You will get a moist and tasty pancake. 

2. Vanilla protein powder and orange juice.

This is a simple take on the “old school” Orange Julius. The original drink was made with dried egg whites to achieve the famous frothy texture. My delicious drink uses one scoop of vanilla protein powder mixed with 8 to 10 ounces of orange juice for an extra 20 grams of protein. It is a great go-to option when you’re short on time. I use a blender bottle and have it in the car after basketball practice for my daughter because I know the first thing she will say is, “I‘m hungry.”

3. Greek yogurt and peanut butter. 

Mix one container of vanilla Greek yogurt and two tablespoons of peanut butter. I sometimes add a squeeze of honey. Serve with sliced apples and pretzel sticks. A six-ounce container of vanilla Greek offers 14 grams of protein. The two tablespoons of peanut butter are an extra 7 grams of protein. If you have a peanut allergy in your family, swap out peanut butter for brown sugar. The sugar melts and makes a sweet fruit dip. 

4. Fat-free refried beans in chili. 

Don’t underestimate the power of beans. One can of fat-free refried beans will add an additional 35 grams of protein to your chili. The beans will dissolve into your chili without changing the flavor. I have a food inspector in my house, so I take the extra step and blend the beans into a smooth purée with my favorite kitchen gadget, an immersion blender. Your kids will never know! 

*Protein supplements are a good way to fill in the gaps for kids not getting enough protein through other protein sources and should not be considered the only source. As with anything diet related always consult your physician. 

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