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Top 10 Protein Rich Foods For Children

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Proteins are the building blocks of our body! Thus, it is understandable why protein rich foods are inevitable in the diets of children during their years of growth and development.  Proteins are a part of every single body metabolism from simple cell formation and repair to complex biochemical reactions like hormone functioning, cell signaling, immune responses, etc. Protein deficiency may lead to muscle atrophy and impaired body functioning. On the other hand, excess intake causes a strain on the liver.


Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

The dietary demands of protein increase steeply in children due to rapid growth, so it is vital their demands be met. Given below is the RDA for children based on their age




Life Stage

RDA of Protein (g/day)

Infants 0 – 6 months


Infants 7 – 12 months


Children 1 – 3 years


Children 4 – 8 years


Children 9 – 13 years


Boys 14 – 18 years


Girls 14 – 18 years



Food Sources of Protein

The list of high protein foods include meat, milk, milk products, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, legumes, beans, lentils, and nuts. Animal proteins are ‘complete’, that is they contain all the essential amino acids, vegetable proteins are ‘incomplete’ which means their essential amino acid profile is deficient. For vegans, vegetable proteins can be made wholesome by ‘mutual supplementation’, the simplest way to do so is to combine cereals (like wheat, rice, etc) with some legumes.


Top 10 Protein Rich Foods


  1. Lean Meat: Chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, veal, and beef are one of the best sources of protein. 100g of a lean cut can provide around 30-36 grams of protein.
  2.  Fish: Abundant sources of protein, these can provide around 30g/100g serving. Tuna, anchovies, salmon, halibut, snapper and tilapia are few of the richest sources.
  3. Eggs: Eggs, especially egg whites are protein rich, providing 6 g per standard serving. These can be incorporated in a wide range of recipes and a great breakfast item to kick start the day with.
  4. Dairy: Milk and its products are excellent sources of proteins. Cheese alone can give you around 40g of protein per 100g serving.
  5. Nuts and Seeds: Nuts are a delight to eat, and a great source of proteins. Pumpkin, squash, and watermelon seeds can be incorporated in many a recipes and provide 33 grams of protein per 100g serving.
  6. Peanuts and peanut butter: Peanuts provide 23.7 grams per 100 gram serving, and their processed form ‘peanut butter is every child’s favorite snack.
  7. Beans: The more mature the bean, the better is its protein content. Soy and its products like protein isolate, tofu, etc. are fantastic sources of proteins providing 39.6 grams of protein per 100 gram serving.
  8. Lentils and Pulses: Lentils and pulses are one of the best sources of protein for vegans. Protein content of is highest when consumed raw at 26 grams per 100 gram serving, and 9 grams per 100g serving cooked. Try to serve these in the form of spouts or salads.
  9. Yeast: Yeast spreads popular in Europe, and no in the US, contains 1.7 grams of protein per teaspoon. 
  10. Seafood: Caviar, lobster and crabs are delicacies that are loaded with proteins.


Wondering about how to incorporate proteins in you kids' diet? Let us help you out with an assortment of Healthy Recipes. Also, read our article on 'Top 10 High Protein Snacks For Children'.


Note: Children, especially ones under 2 yrs are prone to food sensitivity and allergy - especially when it comes to proteins. Introduce any new food slowly and cautiously. If you are aware of you child's food allergy avoid the any food that contains that particular allergen completely.


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Top 10 Protein Rich Foods For Children