May 21 2012

How Much Protein Do Kids Need?

Probably less than you think.

Healthy 1-to-3-year-old children need 0.55 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, which means the average 29-pound toddler needs 16 grams of protein each day. The RDAs for older children are 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight for 4-to-6-year-olds; 0.45 grams for 7-to-14-year olds; and 0.4 grams for 15-to-18-year-old boys. The RDA for girls over 15 and boys over 18 is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, the same as for adults.

So in our case, our 5 year old needs 25 grams and our 3 year old needs about 20 grams everyday.

If we have homemade whole grain pancakes, or waffles, for breakfast, that’s about 6 grams.

If we have beans and quinoa, lentils, or orzo for lunch or dinner that can easily be anywhere from 15-25 grams of protein depending on how hungry they are.

We’ve already satisfied out protein requirements for the day and we’ve barely eaten anything.

If you’re kids like sausage, try Field Roast’s Smoked Apple Sage Sausage. Each link has 20 grams of protein, and my kids each have a whole link when I make it.

2 slices of sprouted Ezekiel bread with peanut butter and jelly has about 20 grams of protein as well (5 in each slice of bread and 8 for 2 tbls peanut butter).

Let’s not forget that vegetables have protein as well. A cup of brussel sprouts has 4 grams, 1/2 cup broccoli has 2, and a have cup asparagus has 2. If your kids are getting the recommended 3 servings of vegetables a day, then that’s roughly another 6-8 grams of protein.

Try snaking on trail mix as well. A handful had about 6 grams of protein.

It’s hard for meat eaters to comes to terms with how it’s possible to meet our protein requirements on a vegan diet, and I get it. Since we were kids, it’s been beaten into our heads that animal proteins are the only good sources of protein.¬†However, as a result our rates of cardiovascular disease, and related deaths are through the roof.

It’s been shown over and over again, that increased consumption of animal proteins equals increase deaths due to heart disease.

Everyone can benefit from at least lowering their consumption of animal protein, and replacing them with whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.

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