Protein for Kids: What Age Can a Child Have Protein Shakes?

December 09, 2021 6 min read

kids protein shakes

 

There are many protein shakes available, and if you drink them, you might wonder if your kid can try them too. However, when it comes to a child's body, things are not so straightforward. Read on, and find out when it's convenient to give them supplements, and everything you should keep in mind.

Is Protein Powder Safe for Children?

Many people add protein powders to their drinks, especially if they're trying to have a healthy life. If you're exercising more, and if you're incorporating new habits into your daily to-do's, you might wonder if protein supplements are good for your children as well.

A child's body is not the same as an adult's one, which is why medicines have a different composition when they're meant for kids. Even so, it doesn't mean protein powders are necessarily bad for your kid.

Generally speaking, protein intake can be beneficial for your child. However, it completely depends on what their body needs. In other words, the only way to know if protein supplements are good for your kid is to determine if they're getting enough protein overall.

Most children don't need protein powders because they usually get enough protein if their diet is well-balanced. If they don't have any medical conditions (such as a protein deficiency issue), they shouldn't need any extra protein at all.

Protein Supplements Can Be Helpful Sometimes

You shouldn't give your kid protein powder unless you have a good reason to do so, but there are certainly occasions when it makes sense to incorporate some grams of protein into your child's diet.

While too much protein could be harmful to your child, if their body needs it, you might benefit from adding a protein supplement into what they already consume on a daily basis.

Children who are diagnosed with medical conditions might require extra protein to guarantee they are healthy. If your kid, for example, is underweight, making protein powder milkshakes for them could help with weight gain.

Another good example of children who need extra protein are picky eaters, kids who have metabolic conditions, or the ones who are vegetarian or vegan diets.

Excessive protein intake can hinder your child's development, but some kids need a higher protein diet as well. It all depends on your kid's needs, which is why it's so important to assess them first.

If you talk to a professional, they usually recommend incorporating more protein-rich foods into your child's diet first. After that, in some cases, they might suggest using protein powder, and they frequently tell you what ingredients to look for and how much powder to incorporate into their meals to avoid side effects.


making a protein shake

See our collection of meal replacement shakes.

Do Protein Powders Have Side Effects on Kids?

Although adults can benefit from drinking protein powder (especially if they're trying to gain muscles while they're exercising), children have different needs. You could give your child the best protein powder and still harm them because their bodies might not need it.

Kids always benefit from natural protein sources, so if you want to guarantee their bodies are developing correctly, ensuring a daily protein dose is always the best option. Thus, they should eat a healthy and well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods and has as few artificial sweeteners as possible.

Giving your children protein powder when they don't need it might cause unintended health consequences, for example, your child could experience changes in their body weight.

Since a high protein intake represents excess calories and sugar for your child, they could gain weight, and it could also hinder their muscle development. Academic research institutions, peer-reviewed studies, and many professionals recommend not giving protein powder to children who don't need it, which is why consulting with an expert is essential in all cases.

Additionally, ingesting more protein could result in organ damage. Your kid could get kidney stones, experience dehydration, or even have liver issues.

In some cases, your children might be very picky eaters, and you might be worried that they are not getting the protein and amino acids they need from whole foods because they don't eat a well-balanced diet.

However, if that happens, you should always talk to an expert and ask them about different recommended protein powder options. Additional protein must only be incorporated into your kid's diet if a professional is supervising you.

Giving protein to picky eaters without an expert to provide medical advice is also very dangerous because it might affect their body's ability to want other foods. Therefore, they might not be hungry for different things because they're drinking all they need when they take their glass of Whey protein.

Excess protein can not only be detrimental to your child's health - you might be very surprised to know that some protein drinks do not even comply with specific regulations. In other words, the ingredients are not medically reviewed, so you might be giving your kids something that hinders their immune systems.

How Much Protein Does Your Child Need?

The amount of protein your child needs depends on their weight, but that's not the only way to do the math. There are specific nutritional goals for age-sex groups, based on dietary guidelines recommendations, for example, if you have a toddler who's one to three years old, they should not consume more than 13g of protein per day.

Another way to view it is by remembering that 10 to 30 percent of the calories your child consumes should always come from protein. Going over that could lead to possibly dangerous consequences, such as damage to your child's kidneys, liver, or habits.

However, a child who's under those parameters (which could happen if your kid is a picky eater or has a medical condition) can also suffer the consequences of not having enough protein in their body. Thus, incorporating more into their diet could be beneficial for their development.

What Type of Protein Supplements Should You Buy?

One of the biggest problems with this industry is that many products are not regulated or medically reviewed. Therefore, when you go to a store looking for a protein supplement for your child, you might find something that's not approved by specialised organizations.

 

kids drinking a green protein shake

The best option in these cases is to consult with a pediatrician or dietician. They are experts in the field, and they can suggest the safest alternatives for your kid.

Some people might believe giving their child some of their own protein powder might be a good idea, but you should never do that. Whey protein and other adult alternatives contain too many calories for a kid's body, and that could lead to unwanted consequences. Here are some tips to find some possible options:

Check the Label and Revise the Protein Levels

As it was mentioned before, giving your child more protein than what they need could be a problem. Thus, the first thing you should do is check the label on the powder and determine how much they would get per drink.

If you find a kid-friendly powder, you should still check the label and see how many calories you would be giving to your child. There are specific dietary reference intakes you might know of already, and following the guidelines allows you to guarantee you don't harm your kid's development.

Review The Ingredients

Overall, you want to avoid sweeteners and extra ingredients that your child doesn't really need. The best option to guarantee they're getting the protein they require is to incorporate better alternatives in their diet, for instance, vegetable oils, dairy products, soy milk, nut butter, and more.

Nonetheless, if you are going to buy a protein supplement, you should try to guarantee that its ingredients are concentrated. Suppose that you choose a specific brand like Whey. In that case, you should make sure that 'Whey protein' is the primary ingredient in the formula, and that it does not include things your kid doesn't really need.

Some of the quality products you may want to consider are the Optislim shake, the Optifast range, and the Fat Blaster shake range.

When in Doubt, Ask an Expert

Giving your kid an extra fruit smoothie, whole-milk snacks, or a peanut butter sandwich once in a while is never a bad idea. However, if you allow them to drink protein shakes every day without needing the extra calories, you might be severely hindering their development.

There are special occasions when children do need to take protein, but if you want to know for sure, you should talk to an expert. Dieticians and pediatricians can guide you and help you determine what's going on with your kid.

In some cases, even if your kid needs more protein, experts might recommend a change in their diet. Thus, you should never try to guess or give your kid something that could harm them.

Key Takeaways

A kid could have a protein shake at any age, but you should ask yourself if your child really needs it. Protein supplements are very useful, especially in cases where children require extra calories.

However, they can also be harmful if you give them to a kid who doesn't need them. They have a myriad of side effects you should avoid, so consulting with an expert is always the best idea.

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