12 sources of Protein for the Vegetarian Child

Published On  July 9, 2015 By

Protein is one of the fundamental building blocks in the body which is critical for proper growth and development. This is especially important for young children who are in a growing phase and could be picky eaters. It is broadly recommended that children between the ages of 1-3 consume 13g of protein per day, ages 4-8 consume 19 g/day, ages 9-13  consume 34 g/day, girls aged 14-18 need 46g and boys of the same age, 52g.

If one follows a vegetarian diet, a more conscious consumption of protein-rich foods is required to ensure that these daily protein requirements are met.

The following are some of the good sources of protein for Vegetarians :

1. Peas: The simple peas packed with fibre and protein is also considered to protect the body from stomach cancer. Just boil it and add it as often as possible to any subzi to increase its protein content(16g per cup), minerals and vitamins too.

2. Oats: 6g per cooked cup – Oatmeal is a great breakfast. You can have it as cereal with fruits or as Khichdi or even oats dosa.

3. Rice and beans combo (7g per cup): This golden oldie has the perfect combination to make a complete protein meal which is why it has been a staple in the Indian diet (Rajma Chawal)

4. Lentils(Masoor dal, toor dal etc) and pulses(18g per cooked cup): The Indian cuisine naturally incorporates many of these lentils in daily cooking. Do not give up on these traditions.

5. Nuts – Almonds, cashew, Pista : Incorporating nuts into the diet is a great way to add protein in the diet. Nuts soaked overnight are even better for optimum nutrition. 10 almonds contains 2.5g of protein

6. Beans – Our good old Rajma, black eyed peas , butter beans etc (15g per cooked cup) which we make into a subzi have tremendous protein content. You can also just boil them and add fresh cucumber, carrots and coriander leaves to make it a yummy bean salad- or throw them all into the cooker and make it into a bean soup.

7. Seeds : Protein content per quarter cup, Pumpkin seeds (9g)Sesame(6g), sunflower(8g) : Sprinkle these seeds into your veggies for a protein boost to your meal.

8. Ragi – Ragi/Nachni/finger millet is a super food that is loaded with proteins, iron, calcium and vitamins.  If eating ragi by itself is hard for your kids, mix some ragi  flour into your dosa batter, roti flour etc to boost their nutritional value.

9. Paneer(11g of protein per 100g): Paneer , one of the most versatile dishes in our cuisine which can be had in salad, main course and dessert form is a good source of protein!

10. Peanut Butter(7.5 g per tbsp) – This relatively new entrant into the Indian food scene has a strong protein content and easy to add to sandwiches.

11. Whole wheat Bread (2 slices, 5.2g) : Whole wheat bread contains protein and carbohydrates in good proportions.

12. Spinach (1 cup- 13g) : The humble palak packs quite a punch. Try to incorporate it often in your diet for a protein, mineral , vitamin and fibre boost to your diet.

Click here to know how to boost your child’s iron intake too!