My son has a lean body frame. Anybody who looks at him tells me, “You should give him nutritious food.” Well, I do. Everything that goes into his tummy is nutritious and part of a balanced diet. And the moment I say that the next statement is, “Give him eggs and meat. The more the better. They are just superfoods and will help your kid gain some weight and strength.” But the moment I disclose that we are pure vegetarians; they all go gaga over it and say, “Vegetarian? No doubt your kids look so lean and weak. You anyways don’t have much to eat except ghasphus. And proteins? Do you get enough of them from legumes and milk?” with a concerned look they continue, “let your kid have non-veg. Meat is super rich in proteins and will add to his strength.”
All vegetarians have heard this at least once in their lifetime. As a mommy even I did. So I did a little research to bust a few myths around non-veg and the fuss about animal-based protein.
- Animals are the only sources of rich proteins: No. There are many plant-based proteins. Soya chunks from defatted soya flour, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains… They all are good sources of proteins for even vegetarians.
- Animal sourced proteins make you fat: Protein is the building block of our bones, muscles, skin, and blood. It is also essential for the recovery and repair of tissues in our body. But protein does not make one fat. The high-fat content in animal meat adds to the body weight, and not the proteins. On the other hand, plant-based protein is high on fiber. For example Fortune soya chunks made from defatted soy flour are 99% fat-free.
- Plant-based protein is incomplete and doesn’t contain all essential amino acids: Vegetables like broccoli have all the essential amino acids required for a body to function properly but you might have to feed only broccoli to your kid all day long to accomplish the required goal of proteins. Or, feed your kid a cup of legumes, 3 servings of grains and a handful of nuts in a day to fulfill his daily protein intake. Alternatively, include soya chunks in your kid’s diet as soya pulao, soya cutlet, soya veggies, etc to fulfill all the protein requirements of the day in a single serving only. Fortune soya chunks have the perfect balance of all 9 essential amino acids and have 15 times more protein than milk. They are a complete source of protein and relished by children across age groups. Plant-based proteins usually contain fewer calories, less fat, more fiber, and more nutrients (like magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamins A and C).
Proteins are known to maintain body mass, develop immunity and add strength to bones. Giving a protein-rich diet definitely makes your kid stronger within but he needn’t add unnecessary weight to look strong. My son looks lean but he weighs perfect according to his pediatrician. He is taller than most of his friends of similar age group and can beat almost half his class if he runs a race with all of them. By no means can a weak child do that!
Having non-veg or not is a personal choice and nobody can judge who is on the right side, definitely not on the basis of my son’s body frame. But as a vegetarian mom, who plans to raise her son as a vegetarian, I want to assure all the moms that we have many healthy options of nutrients including proteins and in some cases even healthier than animal products. So give your children the right nutrients and remember, it is always important to be strong, rather than look strong..
This blog is written in association with Momspresso and sponsored by Fortune.
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