Protein Shakes for Kids: Is It Safe, Benefits & Recipes

Protein Shakes for Kids – Are They Safe?

Medically Reviewed By
Vandana Sharma (Paediatric Nutritionist)
View more Paediatric Nutritionist Our Panel of Experts

Protein is one of the big three nutrients required by people of all age. There are several important sources of protein, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, that make part of a balanced diet. Including protein shakes in your child’s diet can be a quick (and tasty) way of ensuring that his daily requirements of this macronutrient are met, and you must be considering giving this ideal fuel in your kid’s diet, but before you do so, you must know that these shakes have a few limitations. Read this article to know if it would be safe to introduce protein shakes in your child’s diet.

Can Children Have Protein Shakes?

Is it safe to give a child protein shake? This is an often asked question by parents who are concerned about their children’s diets. If your child is naturally lean, you may wonder if you should perhaps add protein powder or protein shakes in his diet. But you need not concern yourself. A healthy diet is more than sufficient to provide all the necessary nutrients, for example, protein-rich foods include chicken, eggs, legumes, pulses, milk products, etc. To put it plainly, protein shakes are not essential at all. But if you feel like your child is not getting the required amount of dietary protein from daily food, there are a few options. You can find protein shakes in the form of ready-to-drink liquids or powders, specific to a child’s age and requirements which can be mixed with water or milk.

Daily Protein Requirements for a Child

Children require far lesser protein than adults do. Research shows that very young children, that is between the ages of one and three, need around 22 grams of protein per day. Children between the ages of nine and thirteen need approximately 54 grams of protein a day. When it comes to kids between the ages of 13-18 years, the need varies by sex, with boys requiring 70-78 grams of protein and girls requiring 63 to 65 grams of protein per day.

Some health standards suggest that teenagers might need more protein than even adults as they are going through growth spurts at the time. Overall your child should be receiving around ten to thirty-five per cent of their total daily amount of calories every day, in order to promote health, metabolism and muscular growth.

Types of Protein Shakes

Market protein shakes come in a variety of flavours, including strawberry, cookies and cream, chocolate, vanilla and so on. You can also mix the protein powders with fruit smoothies or milkshakes and make your own unique combinations. Most commercial powders are milk-based, that is whey protein or plant-based, that is soy protein. Please ensure that your child is not allergic to any of the ingredients found in these shakes. Further, ensure that the protein powders have low levels of sugar and high amounts of protein before buying them for your little one.

Types of Protein Shakes

Can You Use Protein Shakes as a Meal Replacement for Kids?

Proteins are essential in constructing the framework of the body in the form of muscles and tissues. They are also important in carrying oxygen in the blood, countering pathogenic infections, and stimulating chemical reactions. Due to their importance, you might be willing to supplement your children’s diets with protein shakes, especially if your kids are picky or play a lot of sports. However, being reliant on these shakes as protein sources will not be healthy for your child. This is because whole foods have a host of other important nutrients that they will be missing out on if shakes are used as meal replacements.

Is Having an Excessive Amount of Protein Harmful for Your Child?

Consuming excess protein will not help with a child’s growth and muscle development. The bright side is that protein overdose is practically impossible, as a child will have to eat double the daily required amount of protein for long periods of time to experience any negative effects. In fact, as the body cannot store protein, it is either metabolized as energy or stored in the form of fat.

Delicious and Healthy Protein Shake Recipes for Children

There are several delicious and healthy homemade protein shakes for kids as a substitute for the commercial options.

1. Orange and Coconut Shake

This shake is excellent for athletic kids as it provides both proteins as well as electrolytes required for those who are active.

What You Need

  • Half a cup of coconut water
  • Two tbsp of crushed mango pulp
  • Half a cup of orange juice concentrate
  • Two tbsp of any yoghurt
  • Crushed ice

How to Make

Combine all the ingredients in a mixer and blend until a smooth consistency is reached. If your kid likes it sweet, add some honey or jaggery.

2. Soy and Chocolate Shake

A high-protein shake, this is a delicious alternative to milkshakes.

What You Need

  • Two tbsp of cocoa powder
  • One tsp of chia seeds
  • Two tbsp of honey
  • One cup of soy milk
  • One cup of tofu
  • Two tbsp of peanut butter

How to Make

Simply blend all the ingredients together and serve it with or without ice.

3. Tofu and Berry Shake

A vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant-packed shake, this is as nutritious as it is tasty.

What You Need

  • Half a cup of tofu
  • Five tbsp of pomegranate juice
  • One ripe banana
  • Two cups of crushed berries of different kinds
  • Ice

How to Make

Blend together all the above ingredients in a mixer until you get a smooth texture. You can replace the pomegranate juice with any other flavour.

Tofu and Berry Shake

4. Coconut and Pineapple Shake

This shake is a rich source of protein as well as other nutrients too.

What You Need

  • Four tbsp of yoghurt
  • A few drops vanilla extract
  • One cup of pineapple cubes
  • One cup of coconut milk
  • Half teaspoon of chia seeds
  • Four tbsp of rolled oats
  • Honey to taste

How to Make

Crush the oatmeal and chia seeds together to make flour. Then mix in the remaining ingredients and blend. Refrigerate for a few hours then shake well before giving it to your child.

5. Banana and Almond Shake

Almond butter is an excellent source of fats, minerals and iron, and combining it with banana gives a nutritious milkshake.

What You Need

  • One tbsp of almond butter
  • Two tbsp of cottage cheese
  • One cup of almond milk
  • One ripe banana (peeled and cut into small pieces)

How to Make

Blend together all the ingredients, and add some honey for sweetness. Your delicious protein shake is ready. If you’d like, you can replace almond butter with peanut butter as well.

Kids don’t need any more protein than they get from whole foods. Giving them commercial protein shakes can be problematic, as these protein powders contain sugar and unnecessary preservatives. A great alternative to taking care of your child’s protein needs is making protein shakes yourself at home.

Also Read: Is Protein Powder Good for Kids?

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