In a nutshell, protein is a macronutrient made of one or more chains of amino acids. Protein helps in the growth, repair, and maintenance of our cells, tissue, skin, and bone. Food items like eggs, chicken, fish, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc are good sources of protein. When providing kids with protein, parents should be careful about the source and quality.
Contrary to what most people think, not all sources of protein are good. In fact, there are some types of protein food items that do more harm than good. These low-quality protein sources lack essential amino acids that play a vital role in the growth and proper function of almost every system in the body. Here are five common sources of such low-quality protein that should not be a part of your child’s daily diet.
A salami sandwich or a hot dog might look innocent now and then, but they are not a healthy everyday snacking choice for kids. Processed meats like salami, hot dogs, bacon, ham, sausages, canned meat, etc are preserved or flavored through salting, smoking, curing, or adding chemicals. Regular eating of processed meats can increase health-related issues in kids.
Red meats include pork, lamb, beef, etc. Also known as grain-fed meat, they are rich in fat and can prove to be health hazards. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these red meats increase the risk of several cancers. Instead of grain-fed go for grass-fed meats that are low in fat and contain more Omega-3 fats.
From cheese and paneer to yogurt and ice creams, most food items in a child’s diet are derived from milk-producing mammals. Although milk-based products are good for kids as they contain milk protein, however, not all dairy products are necessarily good for children. For example, cheese is high in saturated fat and tofu contains phytates that reduce the absorption of minerals.
Most breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar and refined grains which are not healthy for kids. While choosing a breakfast cereal, make sure they are low in sugar content, high on fiber, and made with whole grains. Likewise, bread is high in carbs and often contains gluten. Whole-wheat bread, oat bread, brown bread, etc can be a better option health-wise.
Parents more than ever are opting for milk-based protein drinks for their children to meet the daily protein requirement. All protein powders are not equal in terms of quality and ingredients used, most of them contain high levels of sugar and low-quality protein like soy protein. When choosing a protein powder for kids be sure to check the ingredients. Opt for whey protein which is considered to be the safest and has no adverse effects.
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