• Protein Products for Back-To-School Lunches

    By Shannon Koski September 2, 2016

    LUNCH.jpgA new school year means a fresh start to lunch-making. With busy back-to-school schedules, parents want to give kids food that’ll help them perform their best in and out of the classroom. Protein fortified products are at the top of the list as they enhance nutrition and healthy physical development. This is why parents are packing their children’s lunches with nutrients from U.S. Dairy to fuel their day.

    Protein supports physical development

    Dairy consumption is great for children because it gives them critical nutrients, such as calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus and protein. Notably, calcium helps children build and maintain strong bones and teeth—the second highest health concern of parents. Within dairy’s nutritional package is this nutrient that is given to kids at an increasing rate.

    Protein plays an integral role in the body's structure, functions and regulation of all tissues and organs, which is why one in three moms put forth a strong effort to add more protein to their kids’ diets.1 In developing countries, children who lack protein may experience harsh symptoms like stunted growth, malnutrition, fatigue and irritability.2 When consumed regularly, newer research is showing that protein may decrease the chances of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes later in life, another top-of-mind concern for parents.  

    Protein aids in sport performance

    Back to school also means the start of many sport seasons. At the 2016 Protein Trends and Technology conference this year, Elizabeth Sloan highlighted research showing that more than 30 million kids participate in organized sports in the U.S. each year. It also found that 60% of parents believe their child should eat a lot of high-protein foods to increase muscle size, and 37% said a high-protein diet is best for fueling athletic performance.1

    U.S. dairy proteins, whey and milk, are among the highest-quality proteins available and assist in muscle development, lean muscle building and muscle repair. They are complete proteins that provide young athletes with needed benefits when consumed throughout the day. Manufacturers can incorporate dairy proteins in smoothies, nutrition bars, yogurt and oatmeal for easy eating before and after extracurricular activities (scroll to the bottom for lunch ideas!).

    Lunch/snack ideas time ideas

    As parents hit the grocery stores, many look for foods and beverages that meet their nutrition requirements, but also are appealing to their children. In fact, kid-specific foods and beverages are projected to reach 41 billion in U.S. sales by 2018.1 Below are some ideas and inspiration to provide a protein boost to a variety of lunch favorites using U.S. dairy ingredients.

    • Flavor fruits and veggies: Pair yogurt-based dips, sauces and dressings with veggies or fruits for an added nutritional boost.
    • Entice with a dip: This protein-powered hummus is a great calcium source and a fun dip for lunch time. Milk protein concentrated is used to give this treat 5g of protein per serving.  
    • Protein the unconventional: Dairy proteins can be used in foods not commonly high in protein like beverages, bars, pastas and baked goods.
    • Snackable meal: This jerky snack uses whey protein concentrate and whole milk to create a snack that is easy to store in a book bag and contains 9g of protein.  
    • Easy bagging: Kids love trail mix and this Cheerios high protein mix uses whey protein crisps and whey permeate to total 10g of protein.  

    For more thought starters to spark kid-specific lunch ideas, and additional information and formulation parameters of dairy proteins, visit ThinkUSAdairy.org.

    1Elizabeth Sloan. Next Generation Protein Opportunities Sustaining the Rush. 2016 Protein Trends & Technology Seminar. May 3 2016.

    2SFGATE. How Much Protein Should a Child Have? 2016. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-protein-should-child-have-4225.html

    Consumer Insights Global Dairy Proteins Milk Protein Whey Protein Back-to-School
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