Your little baby crawling on the floor has come a long way from being a helpless little thing, so dependent on you for everything. Time flies, and before you know it, he’s becoming more independent. But he still needs you to make sure he’s happy, healthy and safe. When it comes to health, you can ensure your child’s development on many levels – including his height – via what you feed him. And one way to guarantee your little one grows tall and strong, is to know which are the best protein-rich foods to give him.
Is Protein Rich Food for Babies Good for Them?
Simply put, yes! Protein is found in every single cell in your body, and for babies it’s important they get enough of this macronutrient to grow healthily.
It’s important for every single function of growth, like hair, bone growth, and muscle development. Protein gets broken down into amino acids, which studies have shown to be linked to growth hormones.
Having enough protein intake has been positively associated with increased height and healthy weight at age 10.
You don’t need to overload the menu to ensure the benefits of protein rich food for babies. It takes energy to break down proteins into amino acids, so for young babies it’s advisable that you introduce these foods as part of a more balanced diet.
Best Protein Rich Food for Babies
If you want your kids to grow up tall like Jeremy Lin and Joseph Schooling, then check out our list of essential foods to start introducing to your baby from an early age!
Protein content per 100g (around one-and-a-half eggs): seven grams
There’s no doubt that eggs take the number one spot in height-boosting protein-rich foods for little ones. In fact, recent research has shown that an egg a day can actually help children grow taller and stronger.
This versatile food ingredient is useful for all dishes and can be cooked in so many ways! The egg white contains essential amino acids and the yolk is nutrient-rich.
It’s a great superfood, and you can start introducing eggs into your baby’s diet from six months of age. If egg allergies run in your family, though, hold off on the egg white until your baby is older.
To learn how to boil an egg perfectly, click here.
Protein content per 100g (around the size of the palm of your hand): 26grams
Different types of seafood like salmon and sea bass are packed with healthy omega-3 fats. These nutrients are important in developing children’s brains. Certain types of fish, like salmon and tuna, are also great sources of vitamin D, which can help boost your child’s height.
Just ensure that all fish you give your little one is deboned properly. And sashimi should be off the menu for children, too.
Check out these amazing recipes that’ll make your kids love fish, right here.
3. Peanut Butter
Protein content per 100g (about six tablespoons): 25grams
We’ve always been a bit cautious about giving peanut butter to our kids because of worries of peanut allergies. However, some of the newest research suggests that giving a tiny bit of peanut butter to babies as they start solids (after six months), can actually help ward off peanut allergies.
Other than packing a height-boosting punch because of their high protein content, peanuts are also filled with monosaturated fats, which help regulate insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammation, as well as help, keep your baby’s heart strong.
Make sure it’s smooth to avoid any choking on whole nuts or chunky bits. Also, avoid giving whole nuts to your little ones as they can pose a choking risk.
Want to make your own peanut butter at home? Check out this mum-approved recipe!
Protein content per 100g (about seven tablespoons): 10grams
Conventional wisdom tells you to give children milk for healthier bones. However, under one year of age, babies can struggle to digest cow’s milk. A great alternative is yoghurt.
Yoghurt is a flexible choice which lets you mix different fruit purees in for flavour, whilst avoiding added sugars. Greek yogurt contains the highest protein count. It contains calcium for bone growth and is safer than cow’s milk before your child turns one.
Check out these delicious “Smoothie Bowl” recipes.
Protein content per 100g: 31 grams (chicken, around half a breast), 26 grams (beef, one small patty)
The most obvious source of protein adults can identify is red or white meat. The usual suspects – chicken, beef and lamb – are packed with different nutrients like iron, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and zinc. All these nutrients, especially the proteins, will help your little ones shoot up.
Try making a delicious bolognese for younger babies to enjoy with pasta. If your baby enjoys finger food, home-made chicken nuggets are great. You can start introducing meat to your baby from seven months onwards.
Check out these healthy soups for babies – some of them use chicken.
Vegetarian Protein Rich Food for Babies
What if you are raising your child as a vegetarian? Or you don’t eat certain animal-based proteins in your household? Don’t worry, we’ve still got you covered with some great plant-based sources of protein.
Protein content per 100g (about one small cup): 10grams
Tofu is a really convenient and cheap alternative to animal proteins. It’s basically a vegetarian version of eggs!
Silken tofu is the softest variety and is so easy to serve, as you can just blend the tofu with fruit puree as a sweet treat for young babies.
Paediatricians recommend introducing tofu to your baby from eight months onwards.
Here are some delicious tofu recipes your whole family will love!
2. Beans and Lentils
Protein content per 100g (around a handful of beans): 21grams
A fantastic plant-based protein, beans and lentils are also really simple to serve. You can buy fresh beans and steam them, or the tin can variety with no sodium.
When thoroughly cooked, you can mash them by hand or use a food processor and mix it with a fruit puree (cause kids love sweet stuff!). You can go even simpler and just put lightly steamed and buttered beans onto a plate as finger food for babies.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Protein content per 100g (around half a cup): 1.2grams
Sweet potatoes are an amazing choice of protein for babies. It’s a great all-rounder for a wholesome food to promote growth (and height!) in babies.
One of the best attributes is that it contains beta-carotene, broken down into vitamin A. This vitamin is really important for developing vision, skin, growth, and building a strong immunity system. You can serve sweet potatoes from six months onwards and there’s so much you can do with them!
Protein is essential if you want your children to grow up tall and strong! You can start introducing them from a young age, and there are great vegetarian alternatives as well!
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