Article by: Jessica Thiefels
Protein is essential for everyone’s health: yours and your child’s included. As a macronutrient, the body needs a considerable amount of protein in order to function optimally. This is as opposed to a micronutrient, which the body needs in smaller amounts.
In children whose bodies are still maturing and changing, adequate protein intake becomes even more important. A diet fortified with protein contributes to strengthening organs, balancing hormones, improving bone density, repairing muscle tissues, and sustaining physical exertion.
But how can you ensure that everyone in the family gets enough protein? What’s more, what are the healthiest—and kid-approved—sources of protein to consume? Protein shakes are a great choice for the whole family. Not only are protein shakes convenient to make quickly and take on the go, kids will also love the way they taste and get plenty of quality protein at the same time.
Let’s learn more about protein needs and how protein shakes can be useful for the entire family.
What Are Our Protein Requirements?
A person’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein is contingent on two factors—their age and their weight.
In adults, this equals 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of bodyweight. As such, a healthy protein intake for adults is between 10 percent and 25 percent of their daily caloric needs.
As a general rule for kids, the older a child is, the higher their protein intake should be. According to the USDA, their daily needs break down as follows:
- Ages 2 to 3: 2 ounces
- Ages 4 to 8: 4 ounces
- Girls, ages 9 to 18: 5 ounces
- Boys, ages 9 to 13: 5 ounces
- Boys, ages 14 to 18: 6.5 ounces
Keep in mind that other variables can influence the amount of protein you and your kids need. Active bodies require more protein than sedentary bodies. Also, children who don’t eat dairy, nuts, seeds, or other common sources of protein may also need more protein than the average kid.
Are Protein Shakes Healthy for Kids?
With a crammed schedule of work deadlines, school assignments, dance lessons, soccer practices, and household demands, cooking a protein-dense meal for the whole family might not be possible every day. That’s where protein shakes come into the equation. All you need to do is blend 1-2 scoops of high-quality protein powder with other nutritious ingredients like leafy greens, mashed banana, and fresh berries. Or simply mix your protein powder with water, milk, yogurt, or non-dairy milk substitutes.
If using protein powder made specifically for kids, simply follow the serving size on the back of the container, as it was designed with their needs in mind. When using regular protein powder, consider giving half a scoop or less to younger kids. Most scoops of supplement powder contain at least 20 grams of protein. That’s more than half of the daily recommended allowance for younger kids, if you consider that one ounce is equal to 28 grams.
How Do You Choose the Right Protein Powder?
It’s worth noting that not all protein powders are created equal. Not all varieties are nutritionally dense—in fact, some are loaded with ingredients that cause more harm than good, like added sugars and preservatives. Use the following tips from Protein Powder for Kids: A Complete Guide when buying protein for your young ones (and for yourself!):
- Check the ingredients: There are many brands that make protein powder from whole, organic ingredients that are best for your child. Make sure you know what every ingredient is included before buying. If you don’t, research it first or check with your pediatrician.
- Be wary of “natural flavors”:When checking the ingredients, make sure you’re avoiding anything with “natural flavors.” This confusing term can be used when a product is derived from a “natural” source originally—even if other items are added to it during processing.
- Stick with whey protein (unless dairy intolerance is an issue):This type of protein is made from cow’s milk and is commonly found in baby formulas and is made up of casein and whey. It’s also a complete protein, as opposed to all other plant-based proteins, with the exception of soy, meaning it contains all the amino acids the body needs.
All of these details should be considered when purchasing protein powder for everyone in the family, including yourself. When you follow these guidelines, you’ll be sure to choose only the highest-quality protein for you and your growing kids.
Enjoy Protein Shakes As a Family
Protein is a necessary component of a well-balanced diet—for you and especially for your kids. Protein shakes are an easy and convenient way to make sure your family is getting enough of this critical macronutrient every single day.
Keep these resources and suggestions in mind as you start to enjoy protein shakes as a family. Know your protein needs and those of your child, choose the highest-quality protein powder, and enjoy a new-found source of energy.
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years. She's also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of, Honest Body Fitness. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.