Protein is so trendy these days. People always drinking their protein shakes and eating them protein bars. These foods have a place, but should they be given to kids?
In short, no. Let’s look at how much protein kids actually need in their diet.
Protein needs for children are calculated by taking the child’s weight and converting it to kilograms (kg). This is done by dividing your child’s weight by 2.2. For example, my 4-year-old is 39 pounds so his weight in kg is 17.7.
Typically, here are protein needs based on age of child:
With the example of our 4-year-old, he would need about 18 g protein per day.
Is more better?
You may think, after calculating your child’s specific protein needs, that more protein would be better, right? This is not always the case. If too much protein is consumed for extended periods of time (especially in the form of supplements) we can overload our kidneys, causing them to work harder filtering out our waste. Excess protein can cause kidney stones and contribute to dehydration. No one wants that.
Here is an example of the protein that a typical child may eat in a day. This list of food doesn't represent all that a child may eat, but the food items that are more commonly known for containing protein. In the photo above, we have:
2 cups of milk (16 g protein)
Hard boiled egg (6g protein)
Peanut butter & jelly sandwich (11.5 g protein)
1 cup cheerios (3 g protein)
Bean and cheese burrito (12.5g protein)
With this typical food intake example, a child easily eats over 49 grams of protein! Whoa!
So when parents ask us if they need to give protein bars to their kids or put protein powder in their shake? Our answer --> Not. At. All!