Kids’ special: Protein power
As a kid you do lots of activity and you need to make sure you get proteins – these are nutrients for your body’s muscles to keep you strong and help you to move easily.
What your muscles do
- Muscles are used to protect your skeleton
- Muscles help the body move
- Muscles are made of proteins
What proteins do
- Help you grow
- Help you build muscles
- Help your body repair when it needs to
- Give your body strength
Think of a house: the framework is like your skeleton and the bricks are like your muscles, used to protect the framework. Proteins are made up of lots of very special ingredients called amino acids.
Getting to know amino acids
- Amino acids are special ingredients used to make protein.
- Essential amino acids can only be found in some foods.
Protein foods which have the special ingredients to make good quality muscles (bricks) include animal-based foods such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese and milk, and plant-based foods such as seeds, nuts, boiled beans and grains. You need to eat a wider variety of these plant foods to get all the essential amino acids.
Making a move
Muscles get stronger the more they are used for movement. Any movement you do on your feet and legs that works your muscles against gravity is called weight-bearing exercise.
- Improves the hardness of your bones (this is called ‘bone density’)
- Helps the muscles to be stronger so the body can move more easily
Find the correct word/s to fill the gaps in the following paragraph about proteins. (See below for answers)
The nutrient 1 __________ is made up of special ingredients called amino acids. Your body needs these special ingredients to 2 __________ 3 __________. Muscles protect your body’s 4 __________, and they also help you to 5 __________. Protein is easily found in 6 __________–__________ foods such as meat, fish, eggs and milk. Protein is also found in plant-based foods such as 7 __________, 8 __________, 9 __________ and 10 __________ __________. You need to eat a wider variety of plant-based foods to get all the essential amino acids.
It’s important to eat a variety of protein foods so all the ingredients are available to make muscles and grow. Different protein foods contain a variety of other nutrients you need: red meat gives you iron and zinc, eggs have folate and vitamin A, while boiled beans have B vitamins and magnesium.
Food for thought
Which ingredient/s in this smoothie belong to the protein group of food?* (See below for answers)
Fun activity: Jail break
For two or more people
Equipment: a heavy object such as an ice cream container filled with stones
- One person is the hider (jail warden) and the other person or people are the finders (prisoners).
- Nominate a large area to play the game with lots of hiding places (for the object) and a small area as the jail within the nominated area.
- The finders all close their eyes and count to 60.
- The hider hides the heavy object somewhere within the area.
- Once the finders have counted to 60 they have to find the hidden object.
- Meanwhile, the hider can tag the finders and send them to the jail.
- When sent to jail the finders have to complete 30 star jumps before they can get out of jail and return to find the object. The hider must stay 10 metres from the jail area.
- The finder who gets the object then becomes the hider and the game starts over.
Check out the other cool stuff in our Kids' specials!
Kids' special: Carbohydrates? Sweet as
Kids' special: Fibre is full on!
Kids' special: Dairy delicious
Kids' special: Processed food
Kids' special: Water
Kids' special: Snack attack
Kids' special: Fat
1 = Protein, 2 + 3 = build muscles, 4 = skeleton, 5 = move, 6 = animal-based, 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 = cereals, nuts, seeds, boiled beans
*Yoghurt and trim milk