Are protein drinks good for kids?

Protein is an essential nutrient for growth and development in children. As a parent or caregiver, you may wonder if protein drinks can be a beneficial addition to your child's diet. 

However, before incorporating protein drinks into a child's diet, it is crucial to understand the evidence-based benefits associated with it.

What are Protein Drinks?

Protein drinks, also known as protein shakes or smoothies, are beverages formulated to provide a concentrated source of protein. They typically contain protein powders derived from sources like whey, casein, soy, or plant-based proteins like pea, rice, or hemp. Some protein drinks are fortified with vitamins and minerals to enhance their nutritional content.

The Potential Benefits of Protein Drinks for Kids:

  • Muscle Development: Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, making it important for active children who engage in sports or physical activities.
  • Satiety: Adequate protein intake can help support feelings of fullness, potentially reducing overall caloric intake and junk eating.
  • Nutritional Support: For children who have difficulty meeting their protein needs through regular meals, protein drinks can serve as a supplement to ensure adequate nutrition.
  • Convenience: Protein drinks can be a quick and easy way to provide essential nutrients when time is limited.

Evidence-Based Recommendations:

  • Age-Appropriate: Protein drinks are generally not necessary for healthy children who consume a balanced diet with adequate protein from whole food sources but in certain circumstances, such as picky eaters or children with increased protein needs, a protein drink may be considered as a boon.
  • Read Labels: When choosing a protein health mix, opt for products with NO refined sugars, NO harmful additives, colours, flavours and preservatives. Select them based on your child's dietary needs and allergies.

Protein drinks can be a convenient way to supplement a child's diet when used judiciously and in specific situations. However, whole foods should remain the primary source of nutrients for children to ensure a balanced diet. Remember that a varied diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, is the cornerstone of healthy growth and development in children.

 Also check out: Why are protein drinks good for kids?