As summer vacations come to an end and kids make their way back to school, it is common for mothers to resume their constant search for foods that satisfies their child's discerning palate and also meet their everyday nutritional requirements. The phase of their life is one that needs to focus on nutrient-dense meals that support their high energy levels and growth of their body. During this phase, one nutrient that every child needs is protein. Protein is involved in a myriad of functions ranging from physical growth, organ health, and hormonal functions to the development of a robust immune system. While the traditional Indian diet is enriched with innumerable sources of protein, one ingredient that stands as the torchbearer of the nutrient is Soybeans.
Benefits Of Soybeans:
A humble member of the legume family of vegetables, soybeans are one of the handful of known plant foods to contain all the nine essential amino acids that constitute protein-rich food, similar to those found in meat. With the protein content of soy being 36%-56% of its dry weight, one bowl of soy can provide 28 grams of protein. The rich quality protein in soy helps growth, repairs tissue, builds muscle, enables better metabolism, and renews cells, making it the perfect ingredient to add to your child's lunchbox.
Soybeans are also an excellent source of Vitamin C, folate, calcium, fibre, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium - all while being low in saturated fat and carbohydrate. One-half cup of cooked soybeans contains around 21% daily value fibre, 25% daily value of iron, 14% daily value of calcium, and at least 9% daily value of 10 other essential vitamins and minerals. Simply put, a meal that contains soy is a wholesome one.
Soybean Recipe Ideas:
What makes soy an even more ideal ingredient is its versatility. Available in multiple forms, soy can be melded into any recipe as best suits one's child's taste buds. Be it soybean biryani or tofu crumble in their sandwiches, lunchtime can be both healthy and tasty. For kids with a sweet tooth, a soymilk smoothie with seasonal fruits or soy flour pancakes are the perfect go-to recipes for a balanced diet.
Adding one serving of soy-based foods per day - equivalent to 6-7 grams of soy protein, i.e. 1 cup of soy milk or a half cup of cooked soybeans or 50-60 grams of tofu - is a good place to start.
So, parents, in this new school season, put your concerns on the back burner and simply add this one to your pantries as a staple - soy.
About the Author: Khushboo Jain Tibrewala, is a leading nutrition expert and health strategist. She is also a supporter of the Right To Protein initiative.
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