When your children are involved in athletics, you might notice that they have an increased appetite because of the extra calories they’re burning off throughout the day. However, you may not be aware of the dietary changes that support your child’s athletic activities and help their body recover from the added stress and strain. Like adults, when children perform rigorous and regular exercise, they’ll need to increase the amount of protein in their diet. Here’s why:
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness is an after-effect of exercise that places strain on the muscles. As the muscles recover, they become sore, affecting your child’s ability to train more and even walk around comfortably at school. To decrease the effects of DOMS, you can incorporate more protein into your child’s diet.
For your child to excel in their sport or practice, they’ll need to develop strong and healthy muscles. The best way to do this is to provide more protein, which is vital in supporting healthy muscle development.
People who engage in rigorous exercise need more amino acids. Whether running, lifting weights, or playing sports, you’re using more amino acids than the average person who isn’t active. So, you’ll need to increase your protein intake to provide your body with more fuel and amino acids for exercise.
Fatigue and Weight Loss
Failing to provide an athletic person with enough protein will not support muscle gain and could lead to fatigue and weight loss. Protein is needed to maintain healthy body weight and to prevent excessive fatigue caused by extensive exercise.
For these reasons, it’s best to consider incorporating more protein-rich foods into your child’s diet if they’re becoming more athletic and interested in sports. Providing your child with a protein-rich diet will support their body’s development and help them to excel in their sport or activity. You could also check websites like DealDrop to see if there are any food coupons that will help you save money.
How To Include More Protein in Your Child’s Diet
Here are some ideas to help you include more protein in your child’s diet. Below you’ll find vegetarian and vegan options that can help you increase your child’s protein intake.
Simply beefing your child up on fatty proteins like bacon won’t be good for their overall health. Instead, it’s best to opt for leaner meats like chicken and turkey. Ensure your meals contain a high amount of lean meats and healthy carbohydrates to ensure your child is eating sustainable and healthy protein-rich meals.
Protein-Rich Legumes and Vegetables
If lean meats aren’t an option in your household, you might consider creating protein-rich recipes that include legumes and vegetables. Here are just a few protein-rich and veggie-friendly meal ideas:
- A mixed bean chili – who doesn’t love chili con carne? Make it vegan and veggie-friendly by substituting beef for a mix of kidney beans, black beans, haricot beans, and chickpeas.
- A lentil curry – who needs chicken? Not me! A tasty lentil dhal is an exotic and delicious meal with lentils as your protein source.
- A mushroom and lentil lasagna – mushrooms are filled with protein, and mushrooms and lentils make an excellent substitute for beef in a lasagna.
If you want to up your child’s protein intake beyond their regular meals, you can opt for a children’s protein powder. You can give your child a ready-made protein shake to take with them to school, or you can serve it as breakfast or supper. A protein shake is the easiest way to ensure your child is getting enough protein, and they come in vegetarian and vegan options. Your child can choose from delicious flavors like chocolate and salted caramel to find what they like best.
Eggs are an excellent way for vegetarian families to enjoy a protein-rich meal. An omelet, scrambled eggs, or quiche can make for a great source of protein.
Providing your child with nut snacks can help you to increase their protein intake while they snack throughout the day. Since nuts have a high fat content, you should limit how many nuts your child has daily.
Of course, rather than opting for protein-rich vegetables, you can choose simple and quick meat substitutes like vegan burgers, sausages, and tofu to up your child’s protein intake without meat!
If your child is athletic, you need to provide them with more protein to support their sport and help them to develop healthy muscles. Failing to provide enough protein could cause your child to become overly tired. Consider incorporating protein-rich foods and powders into your child’s diet to increase their daily protein intake.
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