The Main Course Project

Providing high quality, animal protein sources to food insecure kids.

Quick Facts

The Main Course Project began in 2015.

The program works in conjunction with Drive to Feed Kids. 

Why is protein important in children's diets?

Proteins provide amino acids, the building blocks of growth for children. Unlike other protein sources, animal protein is the only complete protein, providing the nine essential amino acids needed for healthy growth and development.
Amino Acid Studies. What are amino acids? July 2015. Retrieved from http://www.aminoacid-studies.com/amino-acids/what-are-amino-acids.html

Why aren't there visible side effects to child food insecurity?

A child can look normal but may not be getting sufficient nutrients for normal brain development leading to learning problems, cognitive thinking issues, social and behavioral disorders. Therefore, highly nutritive, high quality animal protein sources is vital for young, developing children’s diet.


Slopen, N., Fitzmaurice, G., Williams, D.R., & Gilman, S.E. (2010). Poverty, food insecurity, and the behavior of childhood internalizing and externalizing disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49,444-452.

CDC. Basics of Childhood Obesity. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/basics.html. Accessed: June 12, 2013.

 

girl on playground

The Main Course Project

The Main Course Project is a program with the purpose of supplying food insecure children with the high quality, animal-based proteins our farmers and ranchers produce. DTFK participants who support their local backpack programs not only raise funds for these organizations, but can now provide viable sources of high quality, animal protein sources for food insecure children through the Main Course Project.
 
The project is supported by members of the animal feed industry who are a part of the Drive to Feed Kids initiative. The Main Course Project provides an inventory of shelf-stable, ready to eat, high protein and nutrient meat sticks that are purchased or received via donation, warehoused and then distributed to local backpack programs that DTFK supports.

Animal Protein

Why is it important in a child's diet?

Protein is a vital nutrient needed for proper development and often times is overlooked in a child’s diet.

Proteins provide amino acids, the building blocks of growth for children to produce things like enzymes and hormones, build muscle tissue, skin and bones and transport nutrients. Unlike other protein sources, animal protein is the only complete protein, providing the nine essential amino acids to healthy development. 

These nutrients first go to maintain vital body functions and then toward physical growth and development. Lastly, proteins go toward brain development. This is why adequate protein is needed to maintain not only physical growth and development, but brain development.

A child can look normal but may not be getting sufficient nutrients for normal brain development leading to learning problems, cognitive thinking issues, social and behavioral disorders. This is why the highly nutritive, high quality meat protein is so vital for young, developing children.

The Impact of Protein on Cognitive Development

A Case Study in Kenya

A great example of the effects of protein on child cognitive development is a recent landmark study in Kenya. This research trial monitored the test performance of children who were found to be malnourished or underweight. Over 6,419 children were a part of the study.                                              

After supplementing the children’s diets with protein from meat and milk they found that these animal proteins can increase physical and cognitive development. These children's test scores improved by 45% and 28% respectively.

The Impact of Dietary Intervention on the Cognitive Development of Kenyan School Children  J. Nutr. 2003 133: 11 3965S-3971S