12 Non-Meat Protein Sources for Kids

If you have a picky eater who doesn’t like meat, but you are concerned about protein intake, this article is for you! Our favorite non-meat protein sources!

Even if your family isn’t vegetarian, there are so many kids who don’t like meat. There could be a variety of reasons kids might be resistant to eating meat. It could simply be that it’s difficult to chew. Your child hasn’t found the way they like to eat it yet. They could also finally make the connection between their love for animals an what they are eating. It’s not necessary to eat meat to get the adequate amount of protein for a child. We are breaking down the protein requirements for kids, and how you can meet them, even if your kids aren’t eating meat.

According to the nutritional guidelines for Americans, kids between 2-13 years old need from 2-5 servings of protein per day (see MyPlate Servings Per Day Chart). In general, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce-equivalent from the Protein Foods Group. (source)

MyPlate servings per day chart
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Choose My Plate chart for servings per day

Protein is the building block of our muscles. The latest recommendations are 1/2 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So, if your child is 50 lbs, 25 grams of protein per day is sufficient for all his needs! A 100 pound child would need 50 grams of protein.

The following is 12 of our favorite non-meat protein sources that kids actually like!

12 non-meat protein sources for kids
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vegetarian protein sources for kids

1. Almonds 1 ounce: 6 grams

We know nuts are a great source of protein, but almonds tend to be a favorite for kids. They taste great roasted and raw. We love eating almonds plain, in trail mix, blended to make almond butter for spreads or recipes, in smoothies, or blended into power balls,

2. Edamame: 1 cup = 17 grams

Edamame is a favorite snack for kids! Heat it up and let them pop them out of the pod, add the shelled edamame to stir fry, and try it in a dip!

3. Tofu: 1/2 cup = 10 grams

We have many ways kids will eat tofu! Try these crispy baked nuggets, in a smoothie, or combined with pesto pasta!

4. Peanut butter: 2 tablespoons = 8 grams

Blend your own peanut butter, add peanut butter to smoothies, in oatmeal, spread on sandwiches, dip with apples, or even in popsicles!

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