Nutrition - Protein
Every kid needs to stock up on protein to grow up to be strong and healthy. Find out what this essential nutrient is and why it's so important to your body.
Why Is Protein Good for You?
Did you know that your body's tissues, muscles, organs and immune system are mostly made up of protein? And so are the outer layers of your hair, nails and skin! Protein builds, maintains and repairs your body's tissues, and makes antibodies (the part of the immune system that fights off infection) and hemoglobin (the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body). Protein also helps your muscles grow, increases strength and improves athletic performance - that's why you see so many athletes munchin' on protein bars. But be careful - eating too much protein can make your body lose calcium, which is necessary in building strong bones.
What Foods Can Protein Be Found in?
Protein is made up of amino acids. There are a total of 20, but your body can only produce 14 of the 20 amino acids, so you'll have to get the rest from food! Protein is found in milk, eggs, peanut butter, chicken breast and hamburgers (as long as they're made of lean ground beef!). Seafood like fish, shrimp, crab and lobster are other excellent sources of protein. You can also get your protein fix by adding protein powder to your cereal, yogurt, milkshake or fruit smoothie! If you want to increase your protein intake, just add some cheese slices to your apple, eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, or make a breakfast drink by blending one cup each of milk, yogurt and your favorite fruit.
Protein - Did U Know?
- The recommended daily intake of protein depends on how much you weigh. You need to eat about 0.5 grams of protein for every pound you weigh, so a kid who weighs 100 lbs. should have about 50 grams of protein every day.
- Each gram of protein contains four calories.
- Vegetarians can get complete protien from eating combinations of legumes and grains like soy and rice.
- Protein deficiency can cause loss of hair and muscle mass.