By Lisa Suwal
Our daily intake of food is balanced only with the right percentage of essential nutrients. Protein, carbohydrates, vitamin, fibre, and fat are some of the main nutrients necessary for a wholesome diet. The awareness about a nutrient-rich diet is increasing with the level of advancement in dietary research. A protein-rich diet has several health benefits. The recommended intake of daily protein is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight. This means a child who weighs 50 kg must consume at least 40 g of protein every day. Unfortunately, 68 per cent of Indians, including children, are protein deficient. Therefore, monitoring protein intake by children is the need of the hour for most parents.
Breakfast is widely considered to be the essential meal of the day. It is a fantastic idea to start the day with a protein-rich breakfast as it has a wonderful impact on our health. Let us have a look at some interesting and important reasons to have a protein-rich breakfast.
Boosts immunity and overall health of your child
A protein-rich breakfast is the ultimate health-booster. After seven to eight hours of compulsory fasting during sleep, one must have a good breakfast in the morning. It is a great idea to make sure that your child’s breakfast is loaded with protein along with vitamins, fibre, and some amount of carbohydrates. Almost all dieticians and nutritionists recommend a protein-rich breakfast as it has amazing health benefits. Protein is great for bones; increases muscle mass and gives a boost to our immunity. A breakfast that includes eggs, fruits, chicken, dry fruits, nuts, and beans is perfect for keeping you energetic for a day full of action. Weekdays turn out to be tremendously hectic for one’s child. Apart from at least seven hours of school, a child may have tuition classes, pursue sports and work towards refining a life skill such as learning music or cooking or swimming! Therefore, it is necessary that children eat a protein-rich breakfast to support a healthy and active lifestyle. The good news is that it is easy to fix a protein-rich breakfast with tasty recipes of combining protein rich food combinations of egg, almonds, cottage cheese (paneer) and chicken.
Indispensable nutrition during and after pregnancy
Protein plays a vital role in the health of a woman right from conception, gestation and post-birth. Protein intake of a pregnant woman decides her own health in addition to the health of her child. The right amount of protein intake ensures healthy pregnancy for the mother and the baby. Some of the best sources of protein during pregnancy are lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs including beans and peas, nuts, seeds and soy products. A pregnant woman needs 71 g of protein per day. Post childbirth, healing is faster when the diet is balanced and rich in protein. Protein rich foods are important to help a woman recover from childbirth and keep her body strong.
Diet that aids growth and health of children
It is important to note that right from the moment of birth, children require more protein per pound of body weight than adults. This is simply because children grow rapidly. Once an infant weighs at least 7 kg, solid forms of protein such as tiny pieces of chicken, fish or red meat can be fed to it. As children grow up they engage in energy depleting activities all through the day. Therefore, they need protein to build and repair cells as well as provide energy. Hence it is important to be vigilant about what children eat. Protein-rich diet aids growth and boosts immunity. Protein from animal sources, such as meat and milk, is known as complete protein as it has all nine of the vital amino acids. A 70-pound (or 32 kg) child should have about 35 g of protein every day. You can always choose your protein source but the good news is that around 100 g of chicken can satisfy the need for 31 g of protein.
Keeps your child satiated all day
Protein has a miraculous quality of keeping one’s child energised through the day. A breakfast that includes good protein offers a feeling of fullness. Research shows that those who consumed at least 30 per cent of their calories from protein had a significant increase in satiety over 24 hours and a decrease in hunger hormones. A protein-rich breakfast reduces constant cravings to eat and keeps the calorie intake in check. Interestingly, MRI scans showed that those who ate the high-protein breakfast experienced less brain activity in regions that control food motivation, or hunger than those who ate cereal for breakfast.
The most versatile protein – chicken!
Just like potatoes, chicken is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked in several delectable ways. Chicken delivers more EPA and DHA omega-3s than some other animal-based proteins and just under a cup of chicken delivers decent doses of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, and a handful of B vitamins (notably niacin, B6, riboflavin, and others).
At breakfast, one’s child might prefer a scrumptious chicken-based spread that is full of nutrients from grilled chicken sandwiches to sausages and eggs to salamis straight off the pack. Mothers can combine vegetables, and chicken and create lip-smacking recipes like Chicken-Veggies Skillet, Chicken Quesadillas, Chicken Salami and Egg Muffins and Chicken Salami Hash Browns. Tender and juicy slices of chicken salami are a fantastic choice for making ham and salami sandwiches, cheese-salami rolls, salami-spinach quiche and a crunchy and fresh salad of salami and vegetables. Perfectly made chicken salami can be eaten all by itself by your child as an ideal option of protein in your breakfast.
Regular and right amount of protein consumption ensures high immunity, healthy bones and robust muscles including an increase in calorie-burn. Everyone loves a delicious breakfast. Eggs, chicken, nuts, and dry-fruits can help you create a wholesome breakfast loved by everyone including children. Now, be quick and grab some delicious chicken salami to whip up great recipes for your next breakfast.
(The writer is CEO of Prasuma.)