No one ever told me how much I’d worry when I became a parent. Thinking back, the worrying started the second I found out I was pregnant. I worried if the baby was healthy, if she was developing appropriately, and if I was drinking enough water. That worry carried on for nine months and when she was born via emergency C-section. It also continued through the first few nights (was she breathing?), into toddlerhood, and when she started school.

Parents worry for all kinds of reasons, but one of the most common is food. It can be overwhelming making sure your kids get the proper nutrition they need to grow and thrive. In addition to fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy, protein is an important component of a child’s diet that helps build muscle, provides energy, and keeps their belly full.

Luckily, there are tons of kid-friendly protein choices that appeal to little taste buds. Here are some easy ways to incorporate more protein into your kids’ diets.

Drink It


Two boys drinking strawberry smoothies from glasses

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children can get protein they need from drinking the recommended amount of milk.

Another way kids can get protein is from smoothies, such as IsaKids® Super Smoothie. This nutritious snack is great for a balanced start to the day, an after-school boost, or anytime nutrition. IsaKids Super Smoothie has 10 grams of protein sourced from grass-fed cows not treated with hormones or routine antibiotics and is available in kid-approved flavors like Strawberry Blast and Ice Cream Cookie Crunch Flavor.

Snack On It

A plate of peanut butter toast with blueberries on top

Kids of all ages love to snack, which is no surprise to parents because kids are always on the move. They burn energy so fast that it can be hard to keep their tanks from running low on fuel. Instead of dishing out cheese crackers and animal cookies, try offering snacks that are packed with protein to keep them going longer.

Pair apple slices with peanut butter, or serve hummus with carrot sticks. Low-fat cheese, lunch meat, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, and nuts are also good options for a healthy, balanced, and protein-rich snack.

Cook It

A mother and her daughters putting sauce on pizza

It can be challenging to prepare dinner after a long day at work. But, filling your kids up with fast food can contribute to unhealthy eating habits and negatively impact their health.

Instead of hitting the drive-thru for a greasy cheeseburger, prepare a healthy, protein-packed meal like spaghetti and turkey meatballs at home. There are also plenty of hearty, delicious vegetarian options like this sweet potato, kale, and white bean stew, perfect for a chilly fall night.

Now that my daughter is almost 12, the worry is still there — even more so as we navigate the tween years (send help!) — and according to my mom, will never stop. I’ve learned that as a parent, you can only pave the way for your children; the path is up to them.

Instead of wasting time worrying about things that are out of my control, I’m working on letting go and being more confident in my parenting decisions. And that not-so-little-anymore girl is who I have to thank for being my greatest teacher.