My 3-year-old daughter won't eat meat.
How much protein do children need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for protein are based
on body weight and include age-related adjustments for the extra
protein needed for growth, said nutritionists at the USDA/ARS Children's
Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Healthy 1-to-3-year-old children need 0.55 grams of protein per
pound of body weight per day, which means the average 29-pound toddler
needs 16 grams of protein each day. The RDAs for older children
are 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight for 4-to-6-year-olds;
0.45 grams for 7-to-14-year olds; and 0.4 grams for 15-to-18-year-old
boys. The RDA for girls over 15 and boys over 18 is 0.36 grams of
protein per pound of body weight, the same as for adults.
Although your daughter shuns meat, she can still get all the protein
she needs from dairy foods, grain products and vegetables. A one-ounce
serving of cheese, a cup of milk, an extra-large egg, two tablespoons
of peanut butter or one-half cup of beans provide six to eight grams
of protein each, which is about the same amount in each ounce of
lean meat, fish and poultry. There are also two to four grams of
protein in each serving of breads and cereals and one to three grams
in a serving of most vegetables.
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