Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

Kids and protein

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Mayver’s.

Whenever there is talk of diets and nutrition, protein is a topic that is close to top of the list. As one of the 3 key nutrients, protein has a number of key roles in the body. Protein is also required for optimal growth and muscle maintenance and repair. For adults, there are clear recommendations on the minimum amount of dietary protein required on a daily basis. Kids though, are a little different when it comes to protein. While they do require some to support growth and development, the overall amounts are relatively small, which means that ticking the box on your little one’s protein intake is about making smart choices at each meal and snack to help ensure their daily protein is spread evenly throughout the day.

What is protein?

As one of the 3 key nutrients, protein is primarily found in animal-based foods including dairy, meat, eggs, fish and in a range of plant-based foods including legumes, wholegrain breads and cereals and 100% nut spreads like Mayver’s Peanut Butter. Unlike carbohydrates, the body requires a certain amount of protein each day to function optimally. Protein has many functions in the body including helping to make new cells, for muscle growth and repair, to build connective tissue including skin and bone, to carry oxygen around the body and to make the enzymes that digest food. As a nutrient, protein is also digested more slowly than carbohydrates which are digested first as a key source of energy, and as such protein plays an important role in keeping us full after eating.

How much protein do children need?

Like adults, kids need protein to support optimal growth and development but their requirements are much lower than adults. A child aged 4-8 needs just 20g of protein each day, while an older boy or girl aged 9-13 just 35-40g each day. Considering you can get as much as 20g of protein from a single high protein yoghurt, it is important to be aware that children need far less protein than adults.

Can kids eat too much protein?

Indeed, both adults and children can eat more protein than they need and extra will be excreted by the kidneys. For this reason, spreading smaller portions of 3-5g of protein at each meal and snack is an easy way to ensure that kids are getting adequate protein, but not overdoing things.

How can I be sure my kids are getting enough protein?

It is easy to make sure your little ones are getting enough protein, simply include one protein rich food at each meal. For example, some milk or yoghurt with breakfast or some Mayver’s Pancakes (recipe below) –  Or for a snack, some roasted legumes, cheese or Mayver’s 100% Peanut Butter on crackers. You can even try some healthy baking such as my Peanut Butter Bircher or my Peanut Butter Crumble (recipes below). In each of these examples, your family will be getting at least 3-5g of protein per meal, ensuring they are getting all the protein they need to support optimal growth and development.

Peanut Butter Oat Pancakes

Peanut Butter Oat Pancakes

Ingredients

½ cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cinnamon

½ cup oats

½ cup Mayver’s Smooth Peanut Butter

½ cup milk

Oil for cooking

½ banana, mashed and ½ to serve

Method

1. Combine dry ingredients well, before adding the wet ingredients.

2. Combine until moist batter is formed.

3. Over a hot pan, spoon 2-3 tbsp. of mixture and cook each side for 1-2 mins.

4. Serve with banana and drizzle with a syrup of your choice

Peanut Butter Bircher

Ingredients

1 Granny Smith apple, halved

¾ cup quick oats

¾ cup milk

¼ cup yoghurt

Pinch cinnamon

1 tbsp. Mayver’s Unsalted Peanut Butter

Method

1. Grate one half of the granny smith apple. Mix the grated apple, quick oats, milk, yoghurt and cinnamon in a bowl until well combined. Cover and place in the fridge for two hours or overnight.

2. To serve, stir peanut butter through the bircher mix. Thinly slice the remaining apple into batons and place on top of the bircher.

Peanut Butter Crumble

Peanut Butter Crumble

Ingredients

1/2 cup Mayver’s Crunchy Peanut Butter

5 large Granny Smith apples

1/4 cup water

3 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup wholemeal self raising flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Greek yoghurt to serve, if deserved

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 1.5 litre (6 cup) baking dish. Peel, core and thinly slice apples.

2. Place apples, one tbsp. of honey and water in a large saucepan over low heat. Cover and cook for 10 mins. Drain and discard liquid.

3. Meanwhile, combine melted butter, remaining honey and half the peanut butter in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined. Add rolled oats, flour and cinnamon and mix well.

4. Transfer cooked apples to baking dish. Use a tsp. to place small drops of the remaining peanut butter over the top of the cooked apples. Sprinkle crumble mixture over and smooth to cover. Bake for 15 mins. Serve with Greek yoghurt, if desired.