Advertisement

Why do children need protein?

Jodie Shield
Healthcare Specialist
Growing kids need protein to help them build and repair cells, enzymes, and hormones, and, as a last resort, to provide energy. In addition to protein, foods in the protein foods group supply varying amounts of zinc, magnesium, B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, vitamins B-6 and B-12), and vitamin E. Many also provide iron. The type in meat, poultry, and fish (heme iron) is better absorbed than the iron in eggs, dried beans, and peas (nonheme iron). And while we are on the topic of health, this food group offers the max in terms of a vitamin-mineral package. For example, B vitamins act like sparkplugs to help the body use and produce energy. Protein foods also help form new blood cells and body tissues, and they help the nervous system function properly. Their iron helps carry oxygen in the blood and prevents anemia; their magnesium aids in bone building and energy release in muscles; and their zinc helps the immune system function.
Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

More About this Book

Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

In a world of fast food, supersized sodas, and televised temptations, this guide shows how to buck the obesity trend currently in the national spotlight—and have fun doing it. Using a family...

Continue Learning about Healthy Eating For Children & Teens

5 Tips for Packing the Perfect School Lunch
5 Tips for Packing the Perfect School Lunch
For many parents, the most challenging thing about school isn’t picking up the kids from soccer practice or making sure they get their homework done. ...
Read More
Why should teenagers eat snacks?
Rapid growth spurts, intense sports workouts, and staying up later at night leave teens ravenous, so...
More Answers
Is it okay for my child to skip meals?
When kids skip an occasional meal, it’s usually no big deal. Learn more from our experts about eatin...
More Answers
How often should children eat each day?
How often should children eat each day? Most children and teens need to eat every three to four hour...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.