Toddlers and preschoolers tend to eat more carbohydrates than they do proteins. Goldfish crackers, pasta, cereal, and fruit are all often in the forefront of the typical toddler or preschooler diet. Getting enough healthy protein, however, is important for toddlers and preschoolers. If your toddler or preschooler is a carb-a-holic, here are some easy ways to help ensure he gets enough healthy protein in his diet.
How to get protein in your toddler or preschooler’s diet: Nut Butters.
While some parents wait to feed peanut butter to their children until they are a little older, others choose to start peanut butter at age 2. Peanut butter is a great source of protein and is loved by virtually all kids. Choose the natural kind and you’ll avoid unwanted added sugars and oils. If you are choosing not to feed peanut butter yet, never fear. There are other nut butters available that are excellent sources of protein for your toddler or preschooler. Almond butter and cashew butter are available in most grocery stores. Just be prepared to pay for this protein; nut butters are very expensive.
How to get protein in your toddler or preschooler’s diet: Beans.
Beans are a wonderful, lean source of protein and they have the added benefit of being a “double dipper.” Beans are a protein, but are a vegetable too! Try making a “bean sandwich” by making cornbread pancakes and making a filling of black beans, cheese, and sour cream. Many toddlers find beans that they can handle themselves fun to eat so try firm beans such as black beans or edamame. Beans can also be pureed and added to a variety of foods, such as soups and stews, for extra protein punch.
How to get protein in your toddler or preschooler’s diet: Milk and Cheese.
Every toddler or preschooler should be drinking milk, every day. Milk is a great source of protein, and low fat milks are great sources of lean protein. Most toddlers and preschoolers love cheese already, but in case yours doesn’t, try adding cheese to her diet by buying fun snack cheese. String cheese and other individually portioned cheese snacks are fun to eat. Since toddlers and preschoolers eat with their eyes as much as their taste buds, these cheese snacks are a great way to get enough protein in your toddler or preschooler’s diet.
How to get protein in your toddler or preschooler’s diet: Bread.
Breads do not come to mind when thinking about eating protein, but breads can be a good source of protein for your toddler or preschooler’s diet. Check the label on whole grain breads and whole grain tortillas. These foods vary widely in how much protein they contain, and many contain a surprisingly high amount of protein. Choose whole grain bread products carefully and you will be amazed how much protein you can add to your toddler or preschooler’s diet with bread.
Toddlers and preschoolers need protein to build strong muscles. If your toddler or preschooler tends to avoid typical proteins such as meat, try these suggestions to add protein to your toddler or preschooler’s diet.