Protein: The Building Blocks of Life

Protein1 shutterstock_563658346 Protein2 shutterstock_562273204

Proteins are the building blocks of life; every cell of the human body contains protein! The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day. The daily recommended intake of protein for healthy adults is 10-35% of your total calorie intake.

Millions of people around the world do not get enough protein each day. Lack of protein can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, and heart or respiratory system troubles. Your body needs protein in order to repair cells and build new ones!

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one ounce of most protein-rich foods contain 7 grams of protein. An ounce equals: 1 oz of meat fish or poultry, 1 large egg, ¼ cup tofu, ½ cup cooked beans or lentils, and 1 Tbsp peanut butter.

Fish and meat are known for being high in protein, but here are some great sources of protein if you are looking for some vegetarian options:

  • Quinoa (8 grams of protein per cup)
  • Edamame (9 grams of protein per cup)
  • Tofu (16 grams of protein per cup)
  • Beans (12-15 grams of protein per cup depending on type of bean)
  • Nuts (22-36 grams of protein per cup depending on type of nut)
  • Chickpeas (16 grams of protein per cup)
  • Chia seeds (38 grams of protein per cup)
  • Hemp seeds (11 grams of protein per tablespoon)
  • Raw lentils (47 grams of protein per cup)
  • Sesame seeds (25 grams of protein per cup)

Not all sources of protein are created equal and it is important to make sure that you are getting enough protein to meet your dietary needs. What are some of your favorite sources of protein?

energy1-nuts-shutterstock_286575509

 

Exciting and Healthy School Snacks

Now that school is back in full swing, it’s important that kids have the right snacks to fuel their bodies! It can be tricky to find healthy snacks that your children actually like, but with a little preparation, you can win them over with healthy snacks.

  • Ants on a log – This is a fun snack that kids can make that only involves three ingredients – celery, peanut butter, and raisins. It’s the prefect mix of veggies (celery), fruit (raisins), and protein (peanut butter)!

schoolsnack-ants-on-log-shutterstock_111797735

  • Smoothies – Smoothies can be a healthy and quick snack for children on the go. Whether it’s a strawberry, blueberry, or mango smoothie, you are sure to find one that your children love. This can be a simple way to get your child to eat more protein, fruit, and potentially veggies!

smoothies-shutterstock_174376499

  • Pickles in a blanket – Spread cream cheese on a piece of turkey or ham then place a pickle in the middle and roll it up to make a simple snack!

Pickles shutterstock_267122087

  • Apple moons or banana boats – Take sliced bananas or apples and put peanut butter and granola on the sides to create an apple moon or banana boat.

energy-4-bananas-shutterstock_323430905

It’s important for snacks to include protein to helpkids feel fuller longer and have enough energy for all of their activities. Protein is vital for growing bodies and it helps build and repair lean muscles. Protein works with other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones. A simple way to add some protein into your children’s snacls is with a glass of milk which is full of essential amino acids!

milk-shutterstock_103807529

You can’t forget about the fruits and veggies! Fruits and veggies are low in fat, calories, sodium and cholesterol, and have a wide variety of health benefits. Although it can be tricky to get little ones to eat veggies, there are a few tricks to add more veggies into your children’s diet. You can hide the veggies in your cooking such as mixing cooked veggies into eggs, pasta, quesadillas, or smoothies. Let your kids help you with the shopping and try to see how many different color fruits and veggies you can incoroporate into a meal or snack. You can also introduce new veggies with a dip or hummus. Find a way to make fruits and veggies more exciting and you might be surprised if your kid finds a new favorite food!

energy-7-hummus-shutterstock_143974642Fruit shutterstock_372769957

What is your favorite snack for your children?