Mornings are chaotic in most households and a healthy breakfast could be a casualty of the school bus schedule, lost homework or sleeping through the alarm. But adequate nutrition makes the difference between an alert, focused child with on-track development and the poor performance and health risks associated with breakfast-skipping. Get your dawdler off to a good start with a quick protein shake that is delicious and loaded with nutrition to last through a busy day.
The easiest shakes in the world consist of dumping frozen fruits and low-fat yogurt in the blender. Yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium and using low-fat ensures heart-healthy habits and better weight maintenance. For a rich, creamy shake that will disappear in record time, toss in fresh or frozen strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or a berry mix and pulse or blend until the drink is smooth. If your kid is adventurous, mango or pineapple chunks are a tasty change. Make enough so you can have one, too.
Soy is a valuable source of protein for vegetarian and vegan families and for kids who don't tolerate cow's milk well. Soy milk and soy yogurt make a great base for a protein shake. Try adding kiwi to your blender for a fun, green shake dotted with tiny black seeds. Or flavor a shake with blueberry and pomegranate juice for purple protein.
Egg-cellent Protein Shakes
At every age, protein should compromise between 10 and 30 percent of a kid's diet, according to the Mayo Clinic, for building strong muscles, boosting immunity and providing energy. Eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein available. Get the major protein of eggs in a shake without the risk of eating raw eggs. Use egg substitute to make a morning eggnog, flavored with a little vanilla and sweetened with stevia or honey. Sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg across the foamy top for an authentic eggnog flavor.
Protein powder can help keep your tween's and teen's growth on track. Add protein powder to a morning shake of fruit and milk or yogurt. Spoon plain yogurt into the blender and add a dash of chocolate syrup for a treat. Or add powdered milk to a banana-based shake that doesn't contain any other milk or yogurt. Do-it-yourself shakes with protein powder or powdered milk allow you to control the fresh ingredients. The diet-conscious teen can opt for low-fat and the fussy fruit-loving child in the family won't object to a nutritious enhancement of a convenient, instant breakfast.
- University of Rochester Medical Center: High Calorie, High Protein Diets for Kids -- Milkshake Recipes
- USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine: How Much Protein Do Children Need?
- Mayo Clinic: Nutrition for Kids: Guidelines for a Healthy Diet
- Mayo Clinic: Soy
- Georgetown University Dining Services: Protein, What Does It Do?
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images