Is My Toddler Getting Enough Protein?
I hear from parents all the time with the concern that their toddler isn’t getting enough protein. Their gut instincts are pretty interesting on this because it turns out yes, toddlers have very high protein needs for their size. In fact, pound for pound, they need more protein as toddlers than they ever will again in life during teenage years or adult, manhood – with one exception. If they happen to be a pregnant or nursing women at some point, they need higher protein still.
But yeah, relatively, toddlers need a lot of protein. But, they’re pretty tiny. The total amount of protein they need is only 13 grams a day. Putting that in perspective, milk has a gram of protein per ounce. So, if they’re drinking 13 ounces a day of milk, they’re likely meeting all their protein needs and the rest is just a bonus.
What toddlers are not getting enough of, it’s not protein that’s the big issue. They’re not getting enough fiber. They’re not getting enough vegetables. They’re not getting enough fruit. They’re not getting enough whole grain. They’re often not getting enough vitamin D, enough potassium, and enough omega 3 fats.
I’m less concerned with the amount of protein that kids are getting and more concerned with other things many toddlers don’t get enough of. But the amount of protein they’re getting? Even though they need more than they’ll need later, most toddlers are getting plenty.