Every parent understands how difficult it can be to convince children to eat healthy foods. Sometimes it seems impossible, as children are often finicky about the taste and texture of their meals. To ensure that your child receives the vitamins, nutrients, and proteins he or she needs to thrive, you may need to do some experimenting. If you’re having trouble getting your child to eat clean, high-quality sources of protein, we’re here to help. Scroll down to check out our list of the best high-protein snacks for kids.
Why Kids Need Plenty of Protein
Protein is essential for people of all ages, because it helps build, maintain, and replace body tissues like muscles, bones, blood, and body organs. It provides the building blocks our bodies need to grow, making it especially beneficial for infants and children. Occasionally a child will require more protein due to health problems, such as a chronic infection, physical injury, or medical condition.
The body synthesizes some proteins naturally, while others (known as essential amino acids) must be obtained through the diet. Since protein sources differ greatly when it comes to nutrition, we encourage you to seek out clean, healthful protein sources made in the United States. To that end, and to ensure that your child doesn’t fall short when it comes to protein intake, we encourage you to explore the following high-protein snacks for kids:
High-Protein Snacks for Kids
A Glass of Milk
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of 2% milk contains approximately eight grams of protein (source). Although the benefits of milk for children may be a bit overblown, milk can still add calcium, protein, and a variety of other nutrients to your child’s diet.
Though often overlooked, cottage cheese offers an impressive amount of protein without adding much sugar or fat. You can find mini containers for snacking or packing into your child’s lunch box. And if your child finds the taste bland and boring, try adding a few pieces of fruit on top, like pineapple, peach, or melon.
Mozzarella cheese sticks make a fantastic snack for kids. In addition to being tasty and portable, they’re packed with protein and calcium. Plus, they’re fun to eat! Teach your child to peel off bits of the stick, savoring the cheesy goodness. However, be sure to stick with low-calorie cheeses and small serving sizes to ensure that your child doesn’t consume too many calories.
Like milk, cottage cheese, and many other dairy products, yogurt provides a hefty helping of protein. Although it comes in a variety of tasty flavors, beware of the added sugar in these products. Stick with plain yogurt instead, and add a bit of cinnamon or fresh berries for flavor.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with one large egg containing about 6 grams of protein. Plus, they’re affordable, accessible, and easy for young children to chew. Instead of frying or scrambling your kids’ eggs, try hard-boiling them. They’ll contain less fat and become more portable – perfect for snacking on the go.
So long as your child isn’t allergic to peanuts, peanut butter is a great way to amp up his or her protein intake. Be sure to select the product carefully, as many peanut butters contain an absurd amount of added sugar and hydrogenated oil. Ideally, your peanut butter will only contain one product: roasted peanuts. You could also try another nut-based butter, like almond butter or cashew butter. Pair it with a low-calorie fruit or vegetable like apple slices, celery sticks, or carrots.
Plain old nuts provide a delicious dose of protein. Purchase mixed nuts for some variety or stick with peanuts, almonds, and pistachios, which provide more protein than other nuts. In addition, be sure to prepare your serving sizes carefully. Since nuts are so tasty and easy to grab and go, many people go overboard, consuming more calories and fat than they had anticipated. We recommend filling small containers (like zip-lock bags) with perfectly portioned handfuls of nuts. Sunflower seeds are another great option.
Finally, if you’re looking for high-protein snacks for kids, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality snack mix. Instead of Chex Mix or a sugary trail mix, try MEAT-SNX™ (formerly known as SNX-SMART), a chicken protein snack that offers 15 grams of protein per serving. This crunchy mix comes in three scrumptious flavors: cinnamon bun, cheese pizza, and sweet BBQ. It promotes muscle recovery and supports healthy digestion. Plus, in addition to protein, it provides four grams of fiber, very little sugar, and zero carbs.
Kids love this tasty treat, and parents love that it can provide a heaping helping of protein while still satisfying their children’s taste buds. MEAT-SNX wasn’t specially formulated for children, but it has been gaining traction with parents seeking out clean, healthy protein sources for their children. The protein in the product comes from chicken, but parents find it a lot easier to get their kids to eat MEAT-SNX than a chicken breast. If you’re looking for high-protein snacks for kids, you can’t go wrong with this crunchy, delicious snack mix.