Are your kids constantly reaching for goldfish, Moonpies and Takis? Are gas station snacks their food of choice? Our kids’ bodies are going through rapid growth and development at a pace that’s hard to keep up with. If we’re not being intentional as parents about feeding our kids protein packed meals, we’re dropping the ball on something that’s far too important.
When you track your macros (at least for a time) you learn how intentional you have to be to move the needle on your protein goal everyday. You learn that foods you thought were “healthy” or even advertised as such just aren’t really enough to meet our needs.
Here’s what I mean:
- “My kids eat protein, they have a Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich for lunch.”
- “My kids eat protein. I give them cashew nuts for their snacks.”
- “They pack a cheese stick for lunch.”
- “My kids eat protein, they pack a granola bar for lunch.”
- “My kids eat healthy, they always get fresh fruit in their lunch.”
Pair those feeble attempts at a “protein packed” lunch with cereal for breakfast and maybe a grilled cheese after school- it’s no wonder our kids are hungry! But here’s the thing- in an attempt to satisfy their hunger they’re going to keep reaching for foods that WILL NOT fill them up. Most of our kids simply don’t have the maturity level to choose the chicken breast over Takis. Who am I kidding, grown adults struggle with this, but we are here to help!
Recipe Links to Protein Packed Meals (that our kids enjoy!):
- Green Chili Egg Casserole, 34.5g protein per serving
- Chorizo Breakfast Burritos, 18.4g protein per serving
- Philly Cheesesteak Pitas, 45g protein per serving
- Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken, 40.6g protein per serving
- Tuna Casserole, 22.7g protein per serving
- Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, 35g protein per serving
- Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pork (omit Jalapenos if your kids don’t like spicy), 37.9g protein per serving
- Chicken Parmesan Muffins (20.7g protein per serving)
- Cream Cheese Chicken Chili (42.8g per serving)
- Sloppy Joes (30.6g protein per serving)
- Sausage Bean Stew (23g protein per serving)
- Hot Honey Chicken (22.3g protein per serving) with Classic Mac and Cheese (17.5g protein per serving)
- Crack Chicken (30.2g protein per serving)
- Italian Baguette Sandwiches(35.7g protein per serving)
You can find so many more family friendly protein packed recipes just like this in our Monthly Macro Meals. You can purchase separately HERE or subscribe to get them each month at a discounted rate HERE.
How many grams of protein do kids need in a day?
The research is mixed on exact grams and we’re not advocating you track any of your children’s protein consumption by the gram, but what you can do instead is make sure they have a significant amount of protein with every meal. Be aware of which foods truly move the protein needle and which foods don’t.
How do you handle picky eaters? If they don’t eat what you make, they don’t eat?
- Lead by example. If your kids see you eating a variety of protein packed foods, it will encourage their participation.
- Limit snacking and stick to a solid meal routine. When kids are hungry before meal time they are willing to eat more and take more chances on variety.
- Quit giving alternative choices. If your kids gets to decide between your home cooked meal and frozen pizza, they’re going to choose the frozen pizza. Stick to your guns.
- Ask for recommendations. Have your kids look through our protein packed recipes and pick out meals they want to try.
- Incentivize eating their vegetables with a dessert option. In our house this looks like, “If you eat your vegetables you can have a serving of ice cream afterward.” This way you’re not forcing anything, they get to determine if it’s worth it or not.
Do you feel being strict about food with your kids will set them up for future food failures?
Setting healthy parameters and boundaries for food with your kids will help them more than hurt them in the long run. Remember that kids today live in an instant gratification world and healthy eating is a lifelong pursuit. Setting the precedent that you’re a family that eats at home together around the dinner table will yield so many health benefits, both physical and emotional!
Don’t cater to your kid’s whims because of their complaints. You’re the adult. Be strong for them.
“Of course there’s moments to collaborate with our kids, but there are also moments to own our authority and make the decision ourselves.” @drbeckyatgoodinside