Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet and should be consumed every day. It helps build, maintain, and replace tissue in your body. Your muscles, organs, and immune system are made up mostly of protein. A little bit of protein with every meal is great way to ensure you feel full for longer. Generally people get enough protein in their diets as we don’t need as much of it as we do say carbohydrate. But, how much do we actually need and what can we do if we think our kids are not eating enough of it?
How much protein do we need?
For children aged 1-3, it is recommended that they consume approximately 13 gm of protein. When aged 4-8 they require closer to 20 gm of per day. Women require approximate 46 gms per day.
- 30 gms of meat, chicken or fish
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 egg
- half cup of beans
- quarter cup of nuts
Not all proteins pack the same punch though. There are two types of protein, complete and incomplete protein. All this means is that some things provide a more complete source of protein than others. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Think of amino acids as the building blocks. There are 20 different amino acids that join together to make all types of protein. Some of these amino acids can’t be made by our bodies, these are known as essential amino acids. It’s essential that our diet provide these.
A complete protein contains the correct proportions of all amino acids. Complete sources include:
An incomplete protein is any one that lacks the right amount of one or more essential amino acids. Incomplete sources of include:
To get all the protein you need from incomplete proteins requires eating a variety of incomplete protein sources. This is because the amino acids that may be missing from one type of food can be compensated by adding a one that contains that missing amino acid.