Protein for Toddlers
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I could use some advice on protein for toddlers. My daughter is 17 months old. She is eating a lot of fruits and vegetables (hooray for that) but she does not seem to like meat at all (can't blame her). I'm concerned that she is not getting enough protein. She'll eat some eggs and some veggie chicken nuggets but that's about it. We are still nursing a lot and I know she gets protein there, but I still feel some concern. Has anyone gone through the same situation or have any suggestions?
I think I read somewhere that if you look at a toddler's diet over a week or a month instead of each day, they may eat a lot of one thing for days at a time but it balances out over time. So try not to worry. The fact that she's still nursing is just wonderful for her nutritionally, too.
Here are some favorite veggie protein sources at our house: peanut butter/jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread (whole grains have protein, too); brown rice and beans; baked tofu (try to do this occassionally because of phytoestrogen concerns); almond milk; if you do dairy, cheese or yogurt.
In a nursing child - one who isn't being fed formula - I wouldn't worry about tofu and miso and other soy products. Cultures like Japan and China are not seeing these phytoestrogen problems. I'm coming to believe its really an issue of soy formula use and an issue of dairy drinkers replacing pound for pound their excessive dairy consumption with excessive soymilk/cheese consumption. Just make sure you get organic soy - it is a prime gmo food. Now if you have hypothyroid problems - yes, you should avoid soy.
Yes it is the replacement of the dairy industry's "milk need" that is causing the problem but also the fact that us Westerners tend to overdo everything. While the Japanese eat soy, it is a condiment as meat is, not a staple. Here in the U.S., if we eat soy, it is the staple, not the condiment much like animal meats are. Soy is fast becoming a replacement for BOTH dairy and meat sources and we are overdoing our consumption of it... as we overdo most things when it comes to food.
I haven't heard anything about prople with hypothyroid avoiding soy. can you explain or point to sources so I can show it to my sister?
Soy is the absolute worst thing for hypothyroid people. The reason is that soy inhibits the uptake of thyroid hormone by the body. I will have to find all of my sources for this but you can start at http://thyroid.about.com. I did not know this until I uncovered the research myself in this pregnancy (when I was trying to figure out why the hell my thyroid was going so wacko) and this is why I went to eating meat for protein.
There is SO MUCH evidence out there that soy can be behind borderline hypothyroid in women prone to it and also for children on soy formula. The bottom line is, if you are hypo, you shouldn't be eating soy as it will block the hormone you are taking from being used by your body.
I am wondering. My husband has hypothyroidism. Does this mean he should never eat soy, or can he have it once in a while? He likes the tofu stir-fry I make sometimes, and a few other things. Is it ok just occasionally?
I have been eating tofu once every month now and will probably continue to do so. If you are going to eat it, make sure its organic too.
I agree and this topic infuriates me!!! When will our society learn to not throw the baby out with the bath water? Every time I turn around I have people going off about soy and how dangerous it is as an excuse to not change their dairy- and meat-based diet! The same thing was done with salt. It became a bad guy and everyone did away with it completely and then problems stated popping up for athletes and active people.
The problem, as stated above, is soy formula, soy as a replacement for milk when the milk intake is not decreased (the decrease SHOULD happen naturally because the body does not rely on soy as a "whole" food like it does with milk, and therefore does not crave it), and for those with thyroid problems. As long as none of these apply to you, don't get too worried about soy. Asian cultures have used it for years with none of the same problem we have.
I have read that protein is not the big deal that most parents think it is. In fact, it's said that too much protein leaches calcium out of the body--this is the reason that cultures that don't consume dairy products (most Asian cultures, e.g.) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis, while we Americans, who are always pushing dairy for calcium, have the highest (the excess protein in cow's milk blocks or pushes out its calcium, something like that). That is also a concern with the high-protein diets popular nowadays--long-term bone density loss. It's thought that consuming less protein allows your body to function better with much less calcium that you would otherwise need. If you're eating a whole foods diet, and you're getting enough calories, you're getting enough protein.
I'd love to hear from anyone with more info on this, supportive of the above or not.
I have a ton of information to support this. I just finished last night reading a book called The Bond Effect: Nutritional Anthropology wherein most of this stuff is discussed and these questions raised (why do we have such high proportions of osteopersosis given our rich in calcium diet - BECAUSE OUR BODIES AREN'T PROCESSING IT.
"... Put simply, excess protein in the bloodstream causes calcium to be lost in the urine. Americans already eat too much protein and, of course, there is protein in milk.
"Excess protein wields a double whammy. Protein metabolism leaves the blood acidified... so the body restores the blood neutrality by using alkaline calcium salts. Where do they come from? From the bones!
"The second part of the double whammy is more subtle. Protein has a strange effect on the kidneys. Kidneys are there to filter waste matter from the blood stream. The membrane which controls this has to be finely tuned. It must only let through the waste products. It should not let through the good substances in the blood.
"But, under the effect of excess protein, the kidneys lose this fine tuning. They start to leak calcium. The body finishes up with a negative calcium balance and it has to make up the deficit from the stores in the bones."
There is much more on this topic in the book and also on the subjects of other diseases like digestive diseases, cancers, yeast infections.... I found this fascinating:
"Humans are lactivores, but only to about three years old. In common with all mammals, the new born of the species first lives off his mother's milk. This requires a quite distinctive digestive process. Weaning in humans under natural conditions, happens when the child is about three years old. Until this time, the child is secreting a different set of digestive enzymes. Two important ones are lactase and rennin....
"Rennin is used to make cheese from milk. It is obtained from the stomachs of slaughted unweaned calves. Cheese is therefore milk made digestable thanks to extracts from a dead calf's stomach."
That is fascinating. The stuff they use to make cheese is "rennet" and I buy rennetless cheese at the HFS. I wonder if "rennin" is something else or if they have it wrong?
No, it is the same thing. I didn't type the paragraph on the use of the word. :-)