According to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, the protein needs in children change and increase as they get older. For instance, a child 2 to 3 years old requires 13 to 50g of protein per day and a child 4 to 8 years of age requires 30 to 90g per day. Once kids get to be 9 to 13 years of age, boys need more protein than girls, with boys needing 40 to 120g and girls needing 35 to 105g. Protein makes up about 45% of the human body and is essential for good health, so it’s important to make sure that kids fulfill their recommended daily intake. To help your child reach their daily requirement of protein here are some tasty high protein snacks.
- Hummus with pita chips is a high protein snack. You can buy premade hummus or you can make your own at home. To make your own, combine 1 can of chick peas, ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 T. of lemon juice, and 1 t. of cumin in a food processor. Blend all of the ingredients together until they have a smooth and creamy texture. To make your own pita chips, take 4 pitas and split them open so you have a single layer of bread. Cut each piece into wedges (6 to 8 per pita). Brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and dried oregano if you like. Spread the chips into a single layer on two baking sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned.
- Banana with chocolate hazelnut spread makes a tasty, protein-rich snack. Cut a banana in half and dip one end into the hazelnut spread to coat it, and then dip it into some chopped nuts to cover the spread. When you add the 2 T of chocolate hazelnut spread and 1 oz. of chopped peanuts to the banana, the snack clocks in with a whopping 10g of protein. This snack is very versatile and you can change it up according to your child’s tastes. If your child doesn’t care for nuts, or has a nut allergy, coconut makes a good substitute. If you want to have a sweet treat you can dip the banana in mini chocolate chips.
- Smoothies make a quick protein laden snack, and are perfect for breakfasts on the go. Blend your choice of frozen and fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, protein powder (optional), and some juice or milk in the blender. If you use all fresh fruit add about a cup of ice to the blender. Be sure to use Greek yogurt in place of regular yogurt because it has twice the protein. If you make the smoothie with a cup of Greek yogurt, fruit, juice, and a full scoop of protein powder it will contain 45g of protein. (Protein powder is best consumed first thing in the morning or after exercise.)
- Protein filled yogurt parfaits feel like you’re eating a decadent dessert. In a clear bowl layer sliced strawberries, vanilla Greek yogurt, and some sliced almonds or granola. Repeat for additional layers. Feel free to change up the fruit to take advantage of what is available seasonally or to what your child prefers. Bananas are available year round and add a healthy dose of potassium to the parfait. If you use 1 cup of Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of almonds your parfait will have 30g of protein.
- Sliced apples, peanut butter, and a cup of milk pack a high protein punch. Pairing peanut butter with an apple will create a satisfying snack, and having a glass of milk to wash it all down makes it the perfect nutritional powerhouse for kids. With an apple, 2 T of peanut butter, and 1 cup of milk your snack would have 16g of protein.