When it comes to the overall development of a child, protein becomes a vital part of his diet. But all the kids are not able to meet their daily need of this micronutrient, protein.
If you feel that your child’s growth is not normal, consult with your pediatrician. He may check your child’s growth levels and recommend the solution to you. Slow growth can be a result of low protein intake too, hence add a sufficient amount of protein-rich foods to your child’s diet.
Why do kids need proteins?
Protein plays a crucial part in many biological tasks, comprising retrieval and healing of tissues. Children who do not get enough amount of daily protein requirement may fall sick frequently. They may have poor concentration and can feel tired and exhausted always. They may also face poor bone health and poor immunity. Hence it is must to add an ideal amount of protein in kids’ diet regularly.
15 Protein Sources For Vegetarian Kids
Meat and eggs are the most common sources of protein. But if you are not a non-vegetarian, you need to find the vegetarian protein source for your child’s optimal growth. Here are some vegetarian foods that are rich in protein content and you must add them to the kids’ diet regularly.
1. Peanuts – Topmost Vegetarian Protein Source
Eating roasted peanuts, peanut jaggery chikki, or adding peanuts to the food is a common method of adding the best protein in your diet. Give a protein and iron-rich chikki to your children every day and see them growing well.
It contains around 3 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds. They don’t taste too good, but the older kids can have the roasted and salted flaxseeds any time of the day. You can also add them in bread, muffins, and parathas, etc.
1 cup of chickpeas contains approximately 12 grams of protein. You can give it to them in the form of roasted chickpeas (Kabuli Chana), chhole-bhatura, hummus, etc. The Indian dishes made with chickpeas are loved by all, kids cannot be an exception to that.
All kinds of beans contain a good amount of fiber and protein. Add the cluster beans, kidney beans (Rajma), soybean, double bean, even lentils, peanuts, and peas fall under the beans category so add them all to your kids’ diet. Add it to their bhel or grind them together with a dosa batter or paratha dough to enhance the protein intake and make them healthy.
5. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great source of Vitamin E, B6, Iron, magnesium, folate along with protein. Add roasted sunflower seeds to paraths, pancakes, multigrain breads, add it to the chutney and dips or just let your kids munch on the roasted seeds that are crunchy and tasty.
6. Green Peas
Green peas is another vegetarian protein source that is easily found in Indian households. Let your kids munch on some mutter kachori, mutter pulao or samosa sometimes. Add boiled green peas to the bhel, or parathas can be stuffed with this healthy and protein-rich bean.
7. Lentils / Dals
Indians use lentils or dals as their staple food. Pulses like Tuar Dal, Masoor Dal, Moong Dal, Urad Dal, Chana Dal are commonly found in Indian kitchens and foods. Lentils are an outstanding source of plant-based protein. Nearly all the cooked pulses contain about 14-16 grams of protein per cup, that is definitely more 1 large boiled egg. Lentils are also a perfect source of complex carbohydrates and fiber.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
50 grams of pumpkin seeds can give you approximately 16 grams of protein that is much more than protein in one big egg. Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants that can help diminish stress and retain the body’s fitness besides giving good-looking hair and skin.
9. Rajgeera / Amaranth
Amaranth or known as Rajgira in India, is being used as a fasting food since ages. It is high in manganese, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, and protein. Offer a Peanut-Rajgira chikki to your kids every day and you will notice an amazing physical growth in them.
Sprouts like chickpeas, moong (green gram), raagi are known to be a great source of calcium and protein. Adding them to your kids’ diet regularly will help you keep your child happy, healthy and vibrant.
11. Milk & Milk Products
A glass of milk may help to keep yourself fit in many manners. Apart from being a rich source of calcium, milk provides 8 gm protein per cup. It keeps the bones and skin healthy and happy too. Other milk products like curd, yogurt, paneer, buttermilk, etc are known to be the source of good health in Indian households.
12. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds or Teel have been used in many parts of India as a regular ingredient for seasoning. Teel ki chikki, Teel ke laddu, Gajjak or adding sesame seeds in puris, parathas, cheelas are the great ways to add sesame seeds in your child’s diet.
Quinoa is not a native food to India. So it becomes an optional food for vegan protein sources. It contains a good amount of protein and can be used like any other grain and add to your kids’ diet. Quinoa is a good source of iron, copper, protein, thiamin, fiber, and vitamin B6, etc. It is one of the least allergenic grain crops.
Nuts are known to be a haven of nutrition. Kids must eat nuts like almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts regularly. They contain vitamins, good fats, and protein. Almonds and walnuts are extremely essential for the child’s growth. They also help the kids to be brainy and have more concentration over studies.
Don’t forget to give masala milk to the kids regularly which has added dry fruits or dry fruits powder into it. This traditional Indian drink will make them healthy as it is enriched with calcium and protein.
Cooked soybean offers 28 grams of protein per cup. Soybean can be added in many ways to the food of the kids. Soya chunks, Soy milk, and tofu are some of the commonly used Soy products and can be cooked for the main course or can be included in the snacks like soya patties, soya kheema etc.
I am raising my little one veggie so this post is really helpful, thank you for sharing! We definitely use things like quinoa and chickpeas but I know have lots of other ideas!
Little Duniya says
Must add them all for the overall growth of the child and they will get to taste many more foods.
Thank you for sharing such a comprehensive list. Who says eating vegetarian needs to be boring!
Little Duniya says
Yay, being vegetarian is not at all boring and definitely has more options than non-vegetarians.
I had no idea flax was such a good source of protein. Will be adding that to more baked goods and smoothies.
Jennifer Tanney says
I grew up vegetarian so most of these I’ve had before. They are all excellent sources of protein that my son enjoys for the most part. But I’ve never tried rajgeera. Great list!
Main Mom says
Great suggestions for getting protein in other than chicken nugget form, lol!
Pragnya Mishra says
Aha! That’s a good list. I would add dalia/ broken wheat and millets too.
Little Duniya says
Yes, they are a must for growing babies and kids
Janaki Srinivasan says
Thanks for the list. I use some and now I know of some more.
Kavita Singh says
Saved this post and would surely be sharing it with my other mom-friends. It is absolutely important to provide young kids with proper intake of protein to help them grow properly.
These are great ideas pinning for later since my son’s not a huge meat eater
Cyndi Buchanan says
It’s so silly that people think you have to eat meat to get enough protein. Clearly by this list there are tons of food with plenty of protein.
Aditi Wardhan Singh says
This is so very important to keep in mind. Foods to eat adn not eat.
OMG i need to save this! I need my daughter to eat more of these things for protein!! Thank you!!!
That’s a very useful list . I dont know whats Rajgeera , need to search for it .
Getting enough protein in my girls is an ongoing battle. They don’t eat a lot of the good protein sources so we have to get super creative.
It is good to have some ideas for vegetarian sources of protein. We are a vegetarian family, and usually there is no issue with protein, but it helps to know some good sources.
Lynn Armstrong says
Green Peas and Pumpkin Seeds 😉 who knew! These are my kids favorites! Thanks for all the tips!
This is a good list for all veggies – kids and adults alike.
Great list of proteins. It is so easy to forget how many sources there are.
This is full of great information! thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Angel | Mommy-ing Differently says
I definitely needed a list like this! Ugh thank you!!
This is super informative. Thank you for sharing.
One of our children was put on extra protein by our dr. This is such a helpful list! Thank you for putting it together, it’s so thorough.
I will save your post to come back later, a great list that I was looking for it for so long time.
This is a great list of foods and protein sources. Our family is vegetarian and we like to make sure we get a balanced diet.
Great informative post. I once thought of becoming vegetarian but i felt like there was not much options.
Rikki Ridgeway says
Protein is a vital part of our diet. Thank you for sharing this list to help others!
Patricia Chamberlain says
This is such a great list! We are not vegetarians, but are always looking to add protein into our child’s diet!
Sonia Seivwright says
Great list. Healthy kids Happy Life.
Great list of all the healthy and vegetarian sources of protein. It’s definitely a myth that you cannot get protein if you do not eat meat. Your post is great source of info for all those who are looking for vegetarian source of protein for kids and adults