Since protein can be found in a variety of foods, it makes it easy to meet the recommended daily allowance in the diet. However, if your son does not eat meat frequently enough he runs the risk of becoming iron deficient. Red meats are particularly good sources of iron, as the body most easily absorbs iron from animal products. But red meats are not the only source. Beans, nuts, and dried fruits are also good sources; other high-iron foods include iron-fortified cereals, whole grains (oatmeal, bran flakes), leafy green vegetables, eggs, and peanuts.
Children under 10 years of age are recommended to receive 10-12 milligrams of iron each day. Once your son is older than 10, his iron requirement increases to 15 milligrams per day. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue, irritability, headaches, and lack of energy, so it is important to add other foods high in iron to his diet.
In addition to protein and iron, be sure your son is getting a balanced diet. This includes all of the foods groups: three to five servings of both fruits and vegetables; five to six servings of bread, cereal, or pasta; two to three servings of dairy; and small amounts of fats, oils, and sweets each day. Overall, a healthy diet is one that is low in sugar and fats and includes a variety of foods from each of the five food groups.