If there’s any part of Motherhood that tests my creativity the most, it’s meal time! There are babies who will eat anything and everything you put in front of them and then there’s you. Karma is really kicking me in the butt with this one. My own Mother tells me countless stories of preparing separate meals for me from the rest of the family. My picky eating drove her bonkers!
So here we are, working hard at getting you the proper nutrition. You are primarily a vegetarian, with the exception of hot dogs (sometimes) and my meat spaghetti sauce. So naturally, it’s a priority every day that you eat enough protein. Over time, I have found some protein rich foods that you love. For breakfast you enjoy oatmeal, eggs or a protein smoothie. For lunch, you like seasoned black beans and avocado. For dinner, you love lentil or pinto bean soup and broccoli (if it’s hidden).
With hard work and a little creativity you are eating well, my strong boy!
With So Much Love,
I felt inspired to write about toddlers and protein because Dutch’s diet is primarily vegetarian. Meat doesn’t interest him in the least. He must have taken after my taste buds because I’m the same way. While I do eat meat, it isn’t my favorite. In fact, there have been times in my life where I’ve eaten strict vegetarian and vegan diets. That’s why I wasn’t concerned when Dutch showed little interest in meat. I know firsthand that there are plenty of other protein rich foods that will ensure he gets the nutrition he needs.
But just how much protein does a toddler need? Not as much as you might think. My research shows an average of about 16g per day, or 0.55g of protein per kilogram of body weight. And for Mom? 0.8g per kilogram of body weight, or somewhere around 46g. Increase that to 71g of protein per day for nursing or pregnant moms! (Source: Protein: Are You Getting Enough)
I’ve listed below some of our favorite snacks that also happen to be packed full of protein.
- Avocado (about 3g per serving)
Try Dutch’s favorite guacamole recipe: 1 avocado, 1/4 tsp garlic powder or minced fresh, 1/4 tsp onion powder or minced fresh, 1/4 tsp cilantro or minced fresh, dash of cayenne pepper, dash of lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
We also swap avocado for butter or mayonnaise.
Lentils are highest in protein with about about 18g per serving. Dutch loves the “Amy’s” brand lentil vegetable canned soup. We also like seasoned black beans (about 15g per serving), just add some salt, pepper and lime juice. And last, we steam green peas (about 8g per serving).
Cottage Cheese is highest in protein with about 15g per serving. Dutch also enjoys mozzarella cheese (about 6g per serving).
- Peanut Butter (about 7g per serving)
We dip apple slices in peanut butter. Try our favorite green protein smoothie: 1 c coconut water, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 c greek yogurt (about 15g of protein per serving), 1 banana, handful of spinach, 1/2 c frozen berries. Blend until smooth.
- Eggs (about 6g per serving)
Try Dutch’s favorite scrambled egg recipe: 1 egg, dash of milk, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. He loves to dip eggs in ketchup.
- Almonds (about 8g per serving)
We like shaved almonds in oatmeal or granola, also try almond butter.
- Oats (about 10g per serving)
Try our favorite oatmeal recipe: 1 c water, 1/3 c Coach’s Oats, 1 tbsp butter, 1/4 c granola, 1 tbsp shaved almonds, 1 tbsp agave, 1/2 c berries. Boil water, cook oats for 5 minutes until tender. Combine ingredients.
- Broccoli (about 11g per serving)
Dutch won’t eat veggies unless they’re hidden. I steam until very tender and add to pasta. An even better idea is to steam, puree and add to pasta sauce. They’ll never know the difference.
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I hope that one or more of these ideas might “boost” your family’s menu. And I’d love to hear your thoughts, what protein packed snacks does your toddler enjoy?