Protein & Picky Eaters

Updated: Mar 30



A big concern for many parents of picky eaters is that their child is not getting enough protein from their diet. Yet I love the story I read about pensioners in the UK getting the majority of their protein from bread.

Yes, protein is found in the most unexpected of places!

Protein provides the building blocks for growth, boosts energy and repairs injuries so is undeniably critical and essential for optimal health.

I know though, that although I hear parents stress all the time because a child is not eating meat, or is only able to manage chicken nuggets, for example, that getting enough protein is rarely a problem.

In fact, most children have two to three times the quantity they need in their diets. Even extremely selective eaters are usually able to find enough protein sources across their choices to fuel the body.

Read on to find out where protein may be found and how to get creative if you would like your child to eat more.


Protein for picky eaters

Only ten to twenty percent of our child’s calories need to come from protein so I am pretty sure you will look through this list and feel reassured (even if they are not eating meat). If you feel your child not ticking enough of these boxes, it is advisable to seek external confirmation.


Good sources


1. Meat/fish/chicken – this is what most people think of when discussing protein.

Meat can be quite a challenge for young children as it’s often a lot of chewing for little reward!

But it can also be easy too as a lot of fussy favourites tick these boxes:

– Cheeseburgers – meat, buns and cheese are all protein sources – Chicken nuggets – yes, I know there is a big sigh from many parents “my child only eats nuggets not ‘real chicken’”. Luckily the body doesn’t know so is just as happy building away from nugget protein! – Fish sticks – again, the body is quite happy with any type of fish. – Spaghetti Bolognese – perfect for the whole family and both the meat and the pasta are protein-rich.