3 Foods Your Child Should Eat Every Day For Optimal Growth
One of the most important components of a healthy diet for children is protein. Protein helps to grow muscle and body tissue. The best way to get enough high-quality protein is by eating animal protein like lean meat, seafood, chicken, dairy, and eggs.
Animal protein sources are considered superior to plant-based proteins because they contain all of the essential amino acids needed for child growth and development. Although animal protein is recommended, there are other ways to get protein if your child is vegetarian or vegan. Tofu, beans, lentils, and nuts are alternative protein options protein, but may need to be combined with other foods to provide all of the essential amino acids needed for growth.
Daily Recommended Value
- Ages 4-8 : 4 ounces of protein-containing foods
- Ages 9-13: 5 ounces of protein-containing foods
What does 1 portion of protein foods look like?*Amount that counts as 1 ounce-equivalent in the protein food group
- 1 ounce cooked chicken without skin = 1 portion of protein-containing food
- 1 egg = 1 portion of protein-containing food
- ½ ounce of nuts (12 almonds, 24 pistachios, or 7 walnut halves) = 1 portion of protein food
- ¼ cup of cooked beans = 1 portion of protein-containing food
Another important food group that should be included in children’s diet is dairy. Studies show that milk products have a positive effect on linear growth. One study in particular showed that girls who drank 3 glasses of milk every day had a net increase of 2.3cm greater in height than girls who only has 1 glass of milk per day. Dairy contributes high quality protein, as well as vitamin and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphates.
It is recommended that children consume dairy products including milk, cheese, and yogurt. The healthiest dairy products to consume are those that contain both protein and calcium. Other foods made from dairy, such as butter and high fat cream cheese, are high in fat and provide little to no protein or calcium, therefore are not ideal choices for growth. Additionally, limit consumption of dairy products that are rich in fat and added sugar such as sweet yogurt or ice cream.
Daily Recommended Value
- Ages 4-8 : 2.5 cups
- Ages 9-13: 3 cups
Last but not least, vegetables are a fundamental part of all healthy diets. Vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for healthy growth and development.
Eating a variety of vegetables is key as each vegetable contains different vitamins and minerals that your child’s body needs. For example, dark leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are great sources of vitamins, such as Vitamin C & K, as well as folic acid, beta-carotene, antioxidants, and fiber.
Daily Recommended Value
- Ages 4-8: 1.5 cups
- Ages 9-13: 2-2.5 cups
- Yogurt Parfait - Add greek yogurt, granola, & favorite fruit to provide a yummy protein packed snack.
- Turkey Roll-Ups - This tasty snack is not only delicious, but is a nutritious high-protein snack. Place cheese and veggies on a piece of turkey and roll it up!
- Cucumber Sandwich - Swap the bread for cucumbers and add hummus, or any spread you like with a tomato slice and deli meat that is perfect for snacking. Your child will not only get their fix of veggies, but protein as well.
- Veggie Smoothie - We promise your kids will love this! Take spinach and kale and mix it with berries, yogurt, and any other ingredients you want to create a veggie packed, but tasty smoothie. Optional: add 1.5oz of the Healthy Height shake mix to help your child grow and get the protein they need.
- Veggie Chips - If your kids refuse to eat their veggies, this might be your best best! Slice zucchinis and season with olive oil and other spices and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 mins or until crispy and brown. Your kids won’t believe they are eating vegetables.
- Cheese & Crackers - This classic snack will help your child get their daily value of dairy in an easy and fun way!
If you are concerned about your child’s height or that they are not receiving the proper vitamins and nutrients, Healthy Height is the answer! Healthy Height is a great-tasting shake mix that is clinically shown to promote natural growth in children. With just six months of use, you will see a height increase!
Our formula contains safe, soy and hormone free ingredients including nutrients that are needed to support growth. In addition, Healthy Height is an excellent source of high-quality whey protein to help kids grow! Look out for more information about Healthy Height.
*All daily recommended value information based on choosemyplate.gov