Rice is one of the most popular foods around the world, but it is not a complete protein. For this reason, protein sources like beans and legumes should be added to rice to make it protein-rich.
It is important to know the nutritional value of rice-based foods, especially if your child has a food allergy to wheat. Many wheat-free foods are made with rice. Since growing children and teens require high levels of protein in their diets, you can enrich rice dishes with foods rich in protein.
Avoid Convenience Foods
Although almost all busy parents occasionally need to turn to frozen dinners or convenience foods, these foods typically have little protein in them. Frozen chicken pot pies or rice-based foods often have small squares of processed chicken in them. As you know, it is important to read every label before feeding any store-bought food to a child with a food allergy.
Protein Content in Rice
The type of rice that contains the highest amount of protein on its own is wild rice with 6.5 grams of protein per cup. Brown rice is the next-best choice with 5 grams of protein per cup. It is best to avoid white rice, with only 3.5 grams of protein in one cup.
Adding Protein to Rice Dishes
If time allows, you can make your child protein-based rice foods at home and freeze extras for a day that is overcrowded with sports, music lessons, or other activities. Adding meat adds a complete protein to your rice dish since meat has all nine essential amino acids in it. Most kids love the taste of ground beef, chicken, or pork that is chopped or shredded.
Dieticians often recommend adding beans to rice dishes to make them rich in protein. Rice and beans is a popular dish that is eaten around the world, and it is highly nutritious. Instead of simply eating a bowl of rice and beans, many children prefer a tortilla filled with rice and beans plus spices to add flavor to make a burrito. If your child is not allergic to dairy products, you can sprinkle shredded cheese on the rice and beans before rolling up the tortilla. Older children often enjoy a bowl of soup, especially on a cold day. You can add beans and cooked brown rice to ready-made soup for an easy lunch with a boost of protein.
Although vegetables are not the best source of protein, they do add some of this nutrient to rice dishes. The best vegetables are dark green chopped
spinach, broccoli, collards, kale, and other greens. You can be creative by adding chopped tomato and ground beef or meat, if you like. Children with
dairy allergies will have to pass up the cheese, but you can sprinkle cheese on top if your child is not allergic to dairy products.
Another kind of protein-based rice food that children enjoy is any dish prepared with rice noodles. You can find many Chinese, Japanese or Thai recipes that use rice noodles. If you like to be creative when cooking, you can whip up a quick dinner by stir frying cooked rice noodles and a variety of vegetables. Add stir fry sauce or other seasonings. Beware that some ready made sauces contain wheat and will need to be avoided if your child has a wheat allergy.
Protein-Based Rice Snacks for Children
Just because a child has a peanut allergy or other food allergy, he does not need to pass up foods that other children eat. Rice cakes can have cheese spread or peanut butter on top, and you can make a smiley face with raisins or strawberries to add more nutrition. Most grocery stores across the country sell rice flour bread in the frozen food section. This is a great way to give your child a turkey sandwich, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, or nut butter sandwich. With a little bit of imagination, your child can eat high-protein rice-based foods that he enjoys.