6 Vegetarian Protein Sources for Children: All You Need to Know! #63PercentMoreProtein

Though I am not a vegetarian, my daughter doesn’t like eggs and non-veg. And thus, finding the right vegetarian protein sources sometimes feels like a puzzle. As a parent, I often overlooked the importance of protein in my child’s diet. But then I came across a research that talked about the protein requirements in children. Children aged (4-6y) require 16.0 g of protein per day and children (7-9 y) require 23.0 g of protein /day; Boys (10-12y) require 32.0g of protein/day; Girls (10-12y) require 33.0 gof protein per day; Boys (13-15y) require 45.0 g of protein per day; Girls (13-15y) require 43.0 g of protein per day.

When it comes to non-veg, we have multiple of options – lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and more! My child however prefers vegetarian food and I found my way. Here’s how:  

Why should we focus on protein?

Before getting into specifics, I want to discuss why protein matters. I learned that protein plays a vital role in building and repairing tissues. It even supports immune function and maintains healthy skin and hair. Protein is found in each and every tissue of our bodies, like muscles and bones. Protein also makes growth hormones that facilitate growth and development.

Coming to our little ones, who are constantly growing and exploring the world around them

Sources of protein (Plant-based):

The most time-consuming part is finding plant-based protein options because my little one is on a vegetarian diet. And here are some options I explored:

1)Beans and Legumes: Coming to legumes, they are a powerhouse of vegetarian protein sources. Legumes are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. I give my daughter lentil soup followed by a bean burrito (that’s basically beans rolled in a chapati).

2)Chickpeas: I recently found that chickpeas have proteinwhich make them an ideal protein source for kids. She loves eating hummus made from chickpeas and some days she just prefers to have chickpea curry.

3)Nuts: Almonds, walnuts – these are my daughter’s favorites. The best part is that all these nuts are not only crunchy and delicious but also packed with protein and essential fatty acids.

4)Seeds: Seeds are also known as one of vegetarian protein sources. I often sprinkle pumpkin seeds rich in proteins into smoothies so that she can enjoy her drinks while she gets all the essential proteins.

5)Tofu and Tempeh: I recently explored tofu, and my daughter loves it. The appearance initially might not look that good but tofu and tempeh are versatile vegetarian protein sources. I always transform the little cubes of tofu into mouth-watering dishes. From cooking some crispy tofu nuggets to tempeh stir-fries, I experiment a lot.

6)Whole Grains: Grains are a crucial part of the Indian diet, and some of the best ones we can give to our children for protein are Quinoa, millets etc. These options are not only hearty and but also filling. I swapped out refined grains for their whole-grain counterparts. And trust me, this single step can boost your child’s protein intake while also providing essential nutrients like fiber and B vitamins and this is my personal experience too.

How to meet the daily requirements of protein for growing kids

Every child’s nutritional needs vary based on their age and physical activity. My child engages in a lot of physical activities, so I try my best to include the above homemade food on a daily basis. But, like many parents, I struggle because my child does not always want to eat what I make. 

Also, some studies suggest plant proteins may lack in one or more essential amino acids (source). However, we can improve the protein quality by mixing few plant sources together. I have started to find other vegetarian protein sources that my child would happily eat or drink. That’s how I discovered Complan. 

Complan has 34 vital nutrients including 100% milk protein, andit contains 63% more protein than other nutrition drinks. It is clinically proven to support 2x faster growth. It has become my go-to option for satisfying snacks between meals.

How to get protein from milkshakes and pancakes?

My daughter loves smoothies and shakes. I simply blend together some fruits, a splash of milk, and a scoop of Complan for a delicious and nutritious treat. Trust me, it tastes yummy. During weekends, for making pancakes, I use one banana, some flax seeds, oats and a scoop of complan, and it’s ready. I experiment with Complan in various porridges and waffles too.

As a parent myself, I know how difficult it gets to raise a child on a vegetarian diet. But with a little creativity and knowledge, I discovered many vegetarian protein sources. Like me, even thousands of parents out there want their children to thrive. And trust me, from beans and legumes to nuts and seeds, there are plenty of plant-based protein sources to choose from. And with Complan, we can ensure our children get nutrition that is delicious and convenient.

I tried, it’s now your time to try the dishes above out, and do let me know your experiences! 


The views expressed in this blog post are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Complan.

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