Beefing Up Breakfast, Part 2
A varied diet that supplies enough calories will generally supply enough protein. ADHD children who are strictly vegetarian and those who avoid only meat or dairy can get enough protein from a diet rich in whole grains, legumes (dried beans and lentils), and the many meat and dairy substitutes made from soy protein and wheat gluten.
Protein in a pinch
Here are some easy, tasty ways to get enough protein into your carb-lover's diet without turning your kitchen or dining room into a battlefield. The idea behind all of them is to start with her favorite carbohydrates, such as waffles, toast, jam, or fruit. Then you add in high-protein foods you know your child likes, such as eggs, meat, peanut butter, yogurt, cheese or other dairy products, or beans. Combine these foods in creative ways:
- Top waffles with melted cheese or ham and cheese, instead of syrup or fruit.
- Spread peanut butter on apple slices, a halved banana, or celery sticks.
- Fill a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, black beans, and cheese.
- Spread a toasted, whole-grain bagel with peanut butter or another nut butter, such as almond or hazelnut.
- Wrap a slice of turkey bacon around a firm-ripe banana; broil or grill until the bacon is thoroughly cooked.
- Saute lean, breakfast sausage patties with pieces of diced apples.
- Swirl crushed fruit or fruit jam into plain yogurt and top with dry, whole-grain cereal or chopped nuts.
- Fill an omelet with chopped or sliced fresh fruit or spreadable fruit.
- Serve tuna or chicken salad, sloppy joes, chili, or baked beans over toast.
Children need less protein as they move from infancy into childhood, but their protein requirements increase again around puberty. In the United States, however, most children (and most adults, for that matter) consume more protein than they need at every stage of life. As long as your child's growth rate is normal, you can be pretty sure he's getting enough calories and also getting enough protein from the foods that are providing those calories. This is true even if most of those foods are also high in carbohydrates. The only child who might be at risk of protein deficiency is a child whose diet doesn't provide enough calories overall or a child whose diet is restricted in any way that regularly excludes good, quality sources of protein from animal or plant foods.