Written by : Ng Pui Yu, Registered Public Health Nutritionist (UK)
Chicken drumsticks, salmon and pork chops …… Adults generally think that children need to eat more meat if they want to grow. In fact, how much meat do children aged 2 to 5 years old need to eat a day in order to grow? How should parents choose?
Nutritionally speaking, meat, fish, eggs, dried beans, nuts and seeds are all protein-based foods. The Department of Health recommends that children aged 2 to 5 should eat 1.5 to 3 taels of these foods per day, and 1 tael is about the size of a ping-pong ball of meat. Parents should choose “only lean” meat for their children and minimize offal consumption. Vegetarians should eat more dry legumes and nuts to increase their protein intake.
In addition to protein, these foods also provide a variety of nutrients, such as
1. Protein-derived foods
– Meat, poultry, fish and eggs are good sources of vitamin B12
– Red meat and egg yolk are rich in iron
– Fatty fish (such as yellow croaker and salmon) provide omega-3 fatty acids
2. Protein-based foods from plant sources
– Soybeans and their products (e.g., tofu, dried tofu, and tofu skin) contain the same “complete protein” as meat and can replace meat
– Soybeans and their products, dried beans, nuts and seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, iron and dietary fiber
Although protein foods have many benefits, overconsumption will increase the risk of overweight and chronic disease, remember that 1.5 to 3 taels per day is sufficient.
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