The Importance of Protein

The Importance Of Protein

To facilitate normal growth and development, babies require plenty of high quality protein. During the early months, breast milk and formula provide adequate protein. However, when a baby weans to table food, it’s essential to replace protein no longer being supplied by formula or breast milk, with appropriate food choices.

A six-month to one-year-old needs about 13 to 15 grams of protein a day, while toddlers need 13 to 19 grams according to the FDA’s Recommended Daily Intake (RDI).

Some nutritious ways to include protein in your child’s diet*:

  • Dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, poultry and soybeans are high quality proteins because they provide all of the essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesize and must be obtained through the diet.
  • Many plant foods also supply protein, although its quality isn't as complete as animal sources of protein. By providing a variety of plant foods that contain proteins, such as legumes, nuts (in the form of nut butter* until they are three), seeds, and grains, babies can get the protein they require.

Consult your pediatrician about specific recommendations for introducing these foods to your baby especially if there is a family history of allergens to these food products.

Breast milk or formula can still provide the primary nutrition for babies and toddlers between 12 and 24 months, depending on their individual development, but introducing foods containing protein at every meal will help them transition to table food. For lunch, consider serving  Earth’s Best Organic® Veggie & Protein Purees as a wholesome option. Once a baby is old enough to chew modified table food, try offering some tender ground chicken or turkey, tender flaked fish, mashed legumes or scrambled egg.

*Note, always supervise your baby when eating as foods such as nut butter which can represent a choking hazard for little ones.

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