As parents, one of the common complaints we’ve all had is how little our kids eat. I remember trying out innovative ways for them to eat their vegetables and fruits. But, I wasn’t paying too much attention to the protein in their diet hoping that the regular dal and milk will take care of their protein needs. I later realized that they needed much more protein during their growth spurts, and their diet may have been falling short.
But then they crossed the 5-year mark and 10 and I relaxed. They had turned from fussy eaters to voracious eaters. I do crib about the large quantities of food that I cook these days. But you know my biggest challenge? It is to ensure that they do not ingest too many empty calories and to maintain a good protein and carbs balance in their diet. You know, how kids sneak in biscuits and snacks with their sweet smiles and persuasive honey-coated words. My younger son comes often with me for grocery shopping. And you should see his persuasive skills at work to buy the junk he likes. It takes me all my powers of patience to keep his demands at bay only giving in a little.
And then last year, the elder son turned 14. Suddenly the boy shot up in height. He had a huge growth spurt as we parents braced for puberty and teen tantrums. Now, I wanted him to have a perfectly balanced diet. I knew that his weight had to keep up with the changes in his body. Most parents are caught by surprise by what is called the second growth spurt which hits boys between 10 and 15 years of age and girls between 8 to 15 years of age.
This is also the time when his academics require a lot of attention and he is also at the peak of his playing and other co-curricular activities. There have been days in the past year when he has had activities all 7 days a week. Just seeing the way he studies, plays and attends quizzes makes my mind reel. I don’t want his body and mind to burn out. Of late, he has started hating milk. He wants coffee or tea these days and there goes another source of protein. He does like curd or yoghurt though and hence that is a good option that he has daily.
Good diet and exercise plays a crucial role now.
According to studies, children in the second growth spurt need 2X Protein as per Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA), as compared to protein intake during childhood years (4-6yrs).
It is no surprise that their demand of protein touches sky high, as it is the most important component for growth and repair of muscles, organs and bones which is important for a child’s growth and development.
Then I came across this chart from National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau report (India). As the chart above shows, both girls and boys are consuming much less protein than they require even before they hit puberty and this deficit only widens in their second growth spurt. This compromises reaching their optimum growth in terms of height and weight.
Another important point to note is that the best quality protein (that contains all amino acids) comes from:
- Milk and milk products
- Soy protein
- Meat products
Since I became aware of this, I’ve incorporated more proteins in his diet to ensure that his mind and body stay sharp and fit. I also took a look at the protein component in my son’s health drink. It had only 7.6 gm protein/100 gm. That cannot be enough. I needed a protein supplement that had at least 50% more protein than this. I found out that Protinex Grow had more protein per gram, suitable for my child’s second growth spurt.
Eggs, chicken, curd, paneer, milk (morning cornflakes) and loads of lentils and pulses are now a part of his regular diet.
Do you pay special attention to the protein intake of your kids especially during this second growth spurt?
Pic courtesy: Pavel L Photo and Video by Shutterstock.