Soy & Children's Health


With childhood obesity on the rise, there is a climate of concern surrounding the food we’re feeding our children. According to the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), 60 to 80 percent of children's diets aged two to nine "need improvement." Food manufacturers and the foodservice industry can rise to the challenge and provide healthier food offerings for kids. Soy can serve as the solution for many of the current nutritional concerns.

Low-Calorie/Nutrient-Dense Foods
Soy contains many essential nutrients important for growth and development and works well as a primary source of protein without contributing excess calories.

Limiting Saturated Fat Intake
Whole soybeans are naturally low in saturated fats and contain beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Defatted soy ingredients contain no saturated fats and will not increase the fat content of products and menu offerings.

Increasing Fiber Intake
Studies suggest that increasing dietary fiber can help reduce total calories and saturated fat intake among children. Soy is an excellent source of fiber.

Soy & Healthier Children WHAT KIDS SAY ABOUT SOY
Kids are becoming progressively more astute when it comes to nutrition. Some can tell you about specific vitamins and minerals that make them grow taller and strengthen their bones. Others can recall highlights from the food pyramid. The challenge is making healthy foods more appealing to kids. Here are a few suggestions from kids who participated in a recent focus group:

"You should make healthier foods fun to play with, or try making things taste sugary without putting sugar in it."
"Make soy taste like our favorite foods, like pizza and junk food."
"Soy drinks are hard to find in the kinds of packages that are easy to take with you."


The push for healthier kids' products can be a marketing opportunity. In fact, a major manufacturer has launched a protein-rich, vitamin-fortified soymilk creatively displayed in colorful, animal-themed packaging – just for kids.

Soy ingredients are available in a variety of forms, creating endless R&D opportunities:


Type Uses
Full-fat Flours (40% protein) Baking applications and soymilk production
Defatted Flours (52% to 54% protein) Baking and snack food applications
Lecithinated/refatted Flours Baking applications
Soy Protein Isolates Infant formulas, nutritional applications, meat and dairy products and food analogs
Textured Flours and Concentrates Many types of fibrous foods



Three major considerations for school foodservice menu development include:

  • Nutritional value - in keeping with school wellness policies
  • General appeal - visually attractive, easy and fun to eat foods
  • Taste - quite simply, kids will not eat things that do not taste good

Offering healthier meals and snacks in schools is a top priority for public health officials interested in preventing childhood obesity and reducing disease risk. School foodservice operators are charged with the challenging task of providing wholesome, nutrient-rich foods that kids will eat and accomplishing that within a limited budget.

Soy can help achieve these goals:

  • Use soy flour in place of or in addition to refined white flour
  • Use flavored soymilk to increase nutrient and protein value, create a creamy texture and enhance the flavor of existing menu items
  • Use textured soy protein to create blended meat offerings with lower saturated fat and total calories


  1. Soy provides essential nutrients for growth and development such as calcium, zinc, iron and folate.
  2. Soy is a high-quality source of protein.
  3. Soy can provide added fiber to kids’ diets, which generally need a boost.
  4. The neutral flavor of soy allows for use with extreme flavors.
  5. Soy product development is possible for every imaginable food category.
  6. Soy blends well with other ingredients.
  7. Combining soy protein with cereal grains increases protein quantity and quality in cereal products.
  8. Soy is a cost-effective ingredient, making it ideal for foodservice and for products that fit into the family budget.
  9. Parents respond favorably to seeing soy on the ingredient label and consider foods containing soy to be healthy.
  10. Low-calorie, nutrient-dense soyfoods can help reduce malnutrition and combat the obesity epidemic.

Download Soy & Children's Health brochure