Living Well Kids Crew Meet Chia

Healthy eating can be made fun when learning with the Kids Crew!

Our Kids Crew is here to encourage healthier choices and teach children about good nutrition.  Kids Crew is based on MyPlate and each Kids Crew character represents a section of the MyPlate.

For the Protein section of MyPlate, our Kids Crew character is Chia!

Illustration of Kids Crew character Chia the cheetah

Chia loves running and she represents the Protein food group. Her favorite foods are tuna fish and beans. Chia teaches us about the importance of being physically active every day.

Protein Foods

Protein is an important nutrient since there is a limit to how much protein our bodies can absorb in one setting.  It is important to include protein foods in all meals and snacks throughout the day.

Of course meats count as protein such as chicken, turkey, beef, and pork.  When choosing meats, go for lean meats such as 93% ground, beef sirloin, and pork tenderloin.  When looking at meats, the white marbling is the fat.  Choose meats with less white marbling or fat and trim off any white fat pieces on the ends.  A fun fact is the red fluid that comes from meat is not blood; its myoglobin, a pigment that gives muscle its color.  There is not any blood in meat products unless buying a specific item made with blood such as blood sausage, a common international food.

Don’t forget fish!  Fish contains a certain type of healthy fat, omega-3, that meats do contain in significant amounts.  Fish such as salmon and tuna are excellent options.  Try choosing fish twice each week to get the right amount of healthy fats.  Fresh, frozen, and canned options are all great.  When possible choose wild-caught, but remember it is healthier to eat farmed fish than none at all!  Canned tuna and frozen Open Acres salmon fillets are easy, nutritious, and delicious options.

Eggs are also an excellent protein option!  Consuming an egg a day can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Last week we met Colby and learned about nutritious dairy foods.  Dairy foods and soy based dairy substitutes double as protein foods as well!  If someone is a vegetarian or does not eat meat often, dairy foods are great in helping to meet protein needs.

While many think of animal foods as protein, there are great plant based proteins too!  Nuts, seeds, nut and/or seed butter, beans, hummus, and legumes are plant-based proteins that also contain other nutrients including fiber and healthy fats!  Quinoa is another plant-based option that is higher in protein!  When planning your meals and snacks, remember to include plant-based proteins for better health.