You might remember your mom telling you that you had to eat more protein... and now that you're a mom too, you find yourself saying this to your little ones as well. Every parent wants their child to eat healthy, but when your homecooked meals are competing with junk food and other treats, it can be tough to make sure that your kids are actually consuming protein-rich foods.
There are some ways that you can get more protein into what your kids are eating. Here are 10 tips.
10 Make A Lot Of Smoothies
Smoothies are delicious ways to eat more vegetables and fruit. There are so many ingredients that make a smoothie creamier, from cauliflower to avocado to bananas. When you want your kiddos to eat more protein in their diets, you can try making a lot of smoothies.
You can add nut butter for protein along with any kind of protein powder. You can also add milk and yogurt, which are great sources of protein if your children eat dairy. There are so many yummy smoothie flavors from an all-fruit blend to adding some cocoa powder to make a chocolate-flavored blend that your kids will be happy.
9 Add Protein Powder To Baked Goods
Every kid loves a nice homemade treat, from cookies to muffins to banana bread. Of course, you love these too, and it's fun to hang out in the kitchen with your kids and bake together. Kids really look forward to this activity.
When you want your kids to eat more protein, you can also add protein powder to baked goods. You can find any kind of protein powder that fits your needs, from Collagen Peptides (which fits into your diet if you and your family eat animal protein) to vegan sources such as pea or brown rice protein. You can also find whey protein (and there are many flavors available, such as vanilla and chocolate). Your kids will think that they're eating a delicious muffin... and you'll know that there's some extra protein in there, too.
8 Make Cheese Plates For Snacks And Lunch
Cheese plates are always fun, and you can serve these up for your kids' lunches and also at snacktime. Just pick a few cheeses (from cheddar to goat, there are so many delicious options out there) along with some turkey and other deli meat.
Along with some crackers, fruit such as grapes and apple slices, and veggie sticks like carrots and peppers, your kids will dig in happily and think that this is really fun. They won't even notice that they're eating some protein, too.
7 Make Fun Sandwiches With Cut-Out Shapes
Cut-out shapes make everything more enjoyable, from Christmas sugar cookies to sandwiches. You can get your kids to eat more protein by making sandwiches into cool shapes like dinosaurs and hearts.
As long as you have some cutters in your kitchen, you can do this for your kids' lunches and it'll make them want to eat a protein-rich sandwich. You can fill them with cheese and turkey and lettuce, or ham, or whatever they like.
6 Yogurt Popsicles Are Another Idea
Yogurt has a lot of protein in it, so you can also have fun in the kitchen and make some popsicles that have yogurt in them. You can find tons of recipes online and add fruit and anything else that you want.
These are good snacks, especially on a hot summer afternoon, and kids will barely notice that they're eating something healthy (and something with protein). After all, what's more fun than a popsicle?
5 Serve Some Classic Kid Favorites Sometimes
Even though you don't want your children to survive on fish sticks and chicken nuggets since those things are often in the freezer aisle of the supermarket and are a processed food that is fried and breaded, sometimes you want to give them what they want.
The truth is that it's okay to serve these classic kid favorites. We all indulge from time to time and that's part of a healthy relationship with food. You can make these a once or twice a month treat and also try some homemade versions.
4 Serve Some Variety
If your kids don't like chicken or fish, they might love ground turkey, ground beef, steak, or some vegetarian proteins such as black beans and lentils.
Serving up some variety of protein sources for lunch and dinner could help kids get more of this macronutrient into their diets since they can try different things and see what they like. And once you know what your children prefer, you can rotate those protein sources.
3 Talk To Kids About Why We Eat Protein
Sometimes kids like being talked to like grown-ups and hearing why something is important. If you want your little ones to eat more protein every day, you can sit down with them and chat with them about why we eat protein.
Once kids know that we eat protein so we can be strong, have more energy, and be healthy, they might be more inclined to eat it.
2 Have Burger Nights
You can make a burger out of almost any meat or vegetarian protein source. From beans to lentils to chickpeas, from ground beef to pork to turkey, you can add all kinds of herbs and spices and other flavors to make dinnertime so much more fun.
Another way to get kids to eat more protein is to have burger nights for dinner. You can do this a few times a week since making homemade burgers is simple. Whether you want to pan fry them or use your barbeque when the weather is warm, this is a great family meal. You can make something new and different each time.
1 Make Protein-Rich Pasta Dishes
Kids love carbs (well, we all do, if we're being totally honest) and so if you want your kids to eat more protein, adding protein to carbohydrates is a great way to go.
You can make some protein-rich pasta dishes by adding some ground beef or turkey to tomato sauce or making baked pasta that includes sausage meat. If your family is vegan or vegetarian, you could add lentils to the pasta sauce. And, of course, a nice warm bowl of pasta isn't complete unless you add some cheese, so if your family eats dairy, that's another great protein source.