Recently there has been a lot of hype about child nutrition, and rightly so as America’s childhood obesity epidemic continues. The Let’s Move!, Fuel Up to Play 60 and other great campaigns are encouraging our kids to get out and move, but they need energy to do so – energy that comes from what they eat.
What your child eats is also a major concern with how they grow and develop. While we’ve all been there purchasing three different shoe sizes in 6 months – that’s how their body was designed to grow and without proper nutrients to do so, we as parents aren’t giving them what they need.
While finger pointing is being done across the nutritional spectrum, it’s not always fact based or has your child’s best interest at heart. While all food should be consumed in moderation, here are five reasons why meat should remain on your child’s plate and yours:
Meat is naturally one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet
One 3-ounce serving of lean beef contributes only 180 calories, but you get 10 essential nutrients. Meat provides a substantial amount of certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids. As an added bonus, nutrients found in meat are absorbed more efficiently by the body than other supplements or food sources.
Meat Helps Bridge the “Nutritional Gap”
Meat is a vital part of a child’s diet. Results from a two year study of Kenyan school children suggest they grew up smaller, less strong and less intelligent without animal proteins in their diets.
Meat is Lean
Over the past 30 years, the fat content of lean red meat has reduced substantially. A change in farming methods and meat packing techniques attribute to lean beef containing as little as 5% fat, lean port 4% fat and lamb 8% fat.
To keep fat content in your diet low, here are some tips –
- Choose lean cuts of meat and lower fat products
- Remove any visible fat prior to cooking
- Avoid frying – try grilling, dry frying, roasting or stir frying instead
Meat Boosts Your Metabolism
Boost your metabolism by getting a third of your calories from protein, this will help contribute to more fat burning and help you feel full. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends all adults get 5.5 ounces of lean protein every day as a part of a balanced diet.
Meat is a great tool for muscle recovery
Protein helps build muscle, bone, cartilage and blood. Consuming diets lacking protein, may compromise the body’s ability to efficiently carry out protein synthesis. Each time you exercise you create tiny bits of muscle damage. Protein is involved in the repair and growth of muscles. Creatine can assist with recovery of repeated hard exercise and your body needs iron to make red blood cells which transport oxygen from your lungs to your working muscles – all found in meat.
The battle against obesity and unhealthy food choices is not going to be an easy one, but with knowledge comes power. And as parents, it is our responsibility to pass knowledge along to our children and provide them with the things they need to grow which includes healthy and nutritious food. What better way to do that than with a naturally lean and nutrient rich source – meat.
-– Kassi Williams is a proud farmer’s daughter growing up on a cow/calf and grain farm.