Back-to-school hacks to make sure your children get the protein they need.
Back-to-school season is in full swing. While checking off the never-ending back-to-school list, we have one more thing for you to tack onto the bottom: “ensure adequate protein intake.”
It sounds boring, we know. But making sure your kids eat the proper levels of protein every day helps them succeed in and out of the classroom. With proper nutrition — including protein — children grow healthy and strong while developing the focus and concentration needed to thrive at school.
Why Protein is Important for Kids
Protein is essential to health, especially for growing children. Here’s why:
- Protein promotes healthy growth and development
- Protein helps children build muscles, bones, tissues, and cells
- Protein provides kids the energy needed to learn
- Protein strengthens the immune system
- Decreased protein in children can result in fatigue and decreased concentration
How Much Protein Do Kids Really Need?
Despite the importance of protein for growing kids, one in seven kids ages 6 to 13 do not meet their daily protein intake goal.
But with a few mindful choices, you can have everyone in your family eating healthy and happy — with plenty of protein.
The chart below shows general protein recommendations by age, based on the Dietary Reference Intakes guidelines.
Breakfast: Start Your Day Sunny Side Up
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day — so start your day the right way … with a source of protein!
A quick and easy way to achieve this? An egg. After all, an egg a day keeps the doctor away. Eggs are a power food, and one large egg has 6 grams of protein. I know at George’s we’re all about the chicken, but sometimes you have to start with the egg.
Healthy, Protein-Filled Lunches Your Kids Will Love
Here are a few favorites any child would love to find in their lunchbox.
- Honey Mustard Chicken Wraps
- You can cut the wrap into pinwheels
- Chicken Salad Sandwich
- You can also serve with crackers or pita bread
- Chicken Strips
- Don’t forget your child’s favorite dipping sauce
Other Ways to Incorporate Protein into Your Child’s Lunchbox
Here are a few other protein-filled snacks your child might enjoy.
- Peanut butter
Lunchbox Tips to Keep Your Chicken Safe
Bringing chicken in a lunchbox can be tricky — and dangerous. Chicken should never remain in the Temperature Danger Zone — between 40 and 140 degrees — for more than two hours. If your child’s lunchbox is left in a cubby for a few hours, eating items that should have been refrigerated could make your child sick.
The best way to keep your child safe is to keep the food cold and under that 40-degree mark. So what’s an easy way to do this? An insulated lunchbox. Put your fully cooked food in your child’s insulated lunchbox, along with an ice pack or two, and they’ll be set.
One Last Chance to Get Your Protein in: Dinner
Here are a few of our favorite recipes that will have your child going back for seconds.
- Crispy Chicken Mac-n-Cheese: Chicken AND mac-n-cheese? There’s no better combo … and your kids will agree.
- Chicken Pizza: Take pizza night to the next level with this recipe. While you might have to substitute out a few of the ingredients for your kids, this healthy pizza will leave you feeling no guilt.
- Crispy Ranch Chicken Bites: This delicious and easy recipe is a great excuse to pull out your air fryer.