Protein For Kids
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Strategies and tips to encourage protein intake for children  

Protein for Kids - Protein Ideas for Kids

Feeding children isn’t always easy. It takes effort to plan and prepare meals that both satisfy everyone’s tastes and provide nourishment.  Furthermore, if you have a ‘selective eater’ on your hands, it can be even more challenging to figure out how to feed them in a way that doesn’t end in tears and tantrums.

Protein foods can sometimes be tough for kids to enjoy. Sometimes it’s the texture, other times it’s the flavour. In my practice, I often hear parents say their child won’t eat protein sources such as meat, chicken and fish.  This is common, and nothing to stress about too much if they are eating a variety of other different types of foods.

Read on to learn about ways to ensure your child is on the right track as well as protein ideas for kids!

What is Protein and What does it Do? 

Proteins are made up of different building blocks, known as amino acids. Our bodies require proteins found in foods to supply amino acids to support the growth and maintenance of our cells and tissue; such as muscles, bone, skin and hair. For children, protein is essential for growth and development, so it’s important to include every day. 

Other functions of protein in the body: 

  • Support digestion 
  • Help with the transportation of substances throughout the body 
  • Effect muscle contraction 
  • Protect from foreign pathogens 
  • Hormones to help coordinate the activity of different body systems 
  • Support regulation and expression of DNA and RNA 

What Foods Contain Protein? 

Examples of Food Sources of Protein: 

  • Eggs 
  • Cottage Cheese 
  • Cheese 
  • Greek Yogurt 
  • Beef 
  • Chicken 
  • Fish 
  • Beans 
  • Edamame 
  • Lentils 
  • Nuts/Seeds 
  • Tofu, Tempeh 
  • Milk/Soy Beverage 

You can also find protein in things like chickpea, bean or whole grain pastas, quinoa, wheat berries, kamut, green peas and cooked spinach. 

How Much Protein Does My Child Need? 

Toddlers 1 to 3 years: At this stage, toddlers’ needs are 13 grams per day. This may sound like a lot, but 13 grams could look like a cup of milk and 1 egg.  

Children 4 to 8 years:  Children this age require 19 grams per day. A ¾ cup serving of Greek yogurt provides roughly this amount. 

  • Just like our appetite levels can shift, so do our children’s.  Some days your child may not want to eat a lot; and other days you’ll wonder if they’re going to clean out the fridge due to being so famished.  It’s important to trust your child to know what they want to eat, and how much they are hunger for, versus trying to control their intake. 

For more information on how to support your children’s eating and keep mealtimes pleasant, click here.

To learn more about the dietary reference intakes for macronutrients, click here.

Kid-Friendly Ideas to Pump Up the Protein: 

If you’re offering your child 3 meals each day, plus snacks, consider including protein foods on most of these occasions. By doing so, your child will have lots of opportunities to get close, meet, or exceed their daily needs. And if all your child eats some days is a jam sandwich and crackers, don’t fret! Trust in your child that they will fuel themselves and grow accordingly. 

For more support and information on feeding your child, click here.

Mix It Up: 

No meat? No problem! There are a ton of ways to serve protein for your child that don’t include meat. Try these out 

  • Chocolate lentil muffins 
  • Cottage cheese pancakes 
  • Sunflower seed butter oatmeal bars 
  • Greek yogurt smoothies 
  • French toast 
  • Baked mac n’ cheese 
  • Hummus and pita chips 
  • Peanut butter toast 

Recipes to Try: Protein for Kids & Adults

Banana Raspberry Protein Pancake Recipe

Protein Granola Recipe

Nutty Chocoholic Balls Recipe

Vegetarian Blueberry Protein Smoothie Bowl Recipe

Looking for more advice and ideas when it comes to family feeding and meal planning?

Book an appointment with one of our team members who specialize in family nutrition! 

Let our meal planning dietitian support you with a customized plan that makes sense for your family situation, food preferences, and schedule.

You don’t need to plan complicated meal plans for weeks at a time or spend all day Sunday prepping for the week ahead.

If you are like many of our clients who are not great at planning and need super simple systems for shopping, cooking, and meal ideas, we’ve got you covered. 

Learn more about Healthy Eating Tips, Food Recipes and more:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This