The Best Protein Shakes for Kids
Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Best-protein-powder-for-kids

Try as we might, our kids don't always eat the food we give them.

Still, we need to be sure they're getting the nutrients they need to build healthy bones and muscles and to stave off problems as they grow into adults.

Protein intake is vital to a growing child's health, and yet there are several reasons why they may not be getting enough and may need to supplement their diets:

  • They may have an aversion to the texture of protein-rich foods
  • They may have a food allergy that prevents them from eating certain foods
  • Or they may just be picky eaters

Whatever the reason, if your child is not getting the protein they need, it’s time to consider protein powder supplements.

Here’s a list of the best protein powder for kids, as approved by our resident dietitian.

The right supplement can improve your child’s protein intake quickly and won’t take a lot of work or convincing on your part.

Our Top Protein Powder for Kids (2020)

Product

Key Highlights

Transparent Labs Whey Protein 150x150  product

#1 Transparent Labs

(Editor's Choice)

  • 100% grass-fed whey protein
  • Sourced from grass fed hormone-free American Cows
  • Tastes delicious with water or milk
  • No artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, and preservatives
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of July
Ladder thumb

#2 Ladder

  • CFS Certified
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Contains Probiotics
  • Tastes good even without artificial sweeteners
150x150 Ora Organic Protein Powder Supplement - Vanilla

#3 Ora Organic

  • 120 Calories per serving
  • Amazing strength training support
  • Maximizes lean muscle growth and recovery
  • Gluten-free and no sugar added

1. Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey (Editor's Choice)

If you're looking for clean protein for the teens or kids, this is what we recommend.

It has no artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, and preservatives. It's considered one of the cleanest proteins on the market.

With 28g of protein and 120 calories per serving, it's made from naturally fed, hormone-free cow whey. Additionally, it contains 0g of fat and 1g of carbs, so it's basically pure protein. 

Transparent Labs Whey Protein

PROS

  • 28g of premium whey protein isolates per scoop
  • 100% grass-fed whey 
  • Comes in four flavors: chocolate, strawberry, french vanilla, and salted caramel
  • No artificial ingredients, sweeteners, or colors

CONS

  • May be pricey for some people

Your kids won't gag from the taste as it's tasty with water or with milk. My favorite is the chocolate flavor, although there's other flavors like strawberry, french vanilla and salted caramel.

There are more choices gluten free protein powders available both for kids and adults. 


2. Ladder Whey Protein

When it comes to protein powders with great flavors, Ladder company will never go least. 

The product comes in two flavors: chocolate and vanilla.

Ladder uses all-natural ingredients such as cocoa and vanilla beans, salt, and a little sweetener to bring out that awesome taste. 

If you want a protein powder that tastes like dessert, then this is it. 

Ladder thumb

PROS

  • CFS Certified
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Contains Probiotics
  • Tastes good even without artificial sweeteners

CONS

  • Can be on the expensive side

I love that even if it’s mixed with water, you can still taste the rich flavor of chocolate and vanilla. 

The best thing about this is that it’s not all about flavor. The product contains the optimal amount of essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids to help repair your body fully. 


3. Ora Organic So Lean & So Clean

If you're one of those parents who have kids that won't eat their greens, then you're not alone.

We have yet to meet a kid who loves eating vegetables wholeheartedly, even though they need those to get the proper amount of nutrients in their bodies. What's a parent to do?

Enter Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder. Made with organic superfoods and packed with greens, this protein powder is a great way to get essential nutrients into your kids' bodies, even if you have a hard time getting them to eat vegetables. 

Ora Organic Protein Powder - Vanilla

PROS

CONS

  • May be a unique taste to your kid.

Since it tastes great even without added sugar, artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives, kids will see it as a treat. Also, it mixes well with whole or almond milk.

A bonus is the added digestive enzymes in this protein powder that will help your kids say goodbye to tummy issues -- a welcome development for any parent anywhere.


4. BPI Sports ISO HD

What's good about BPI Sports Best Protein is its perfect blend of whey isolates and hydrolysates.

It allows the protein to be easily absorbed into your kids' bodies so they can get the nutrients that they need right away.

Its muscle-building properties are also especially beneficial for their age because this is when they are most prone to growth disorders and nutrient deficiencies.

Also, we all know that kids are notoriously energetic, and they expend most of this energy by exploring the world around them and engaging in physical activities.

BPI Sports ISO HD Whey Protein

PROS

  • 25g of 100% premium whey protein isolates
  • No fillers (only 2g of sugar)
  • Contains fast-absorbing protein
  • Wide range of delicious flavors

CONS

  • Your kids may binge on this delicious drink.

BPI ISO HD assists in muscle recovery so they can continue enjoying their playtime activities with their friends and playmates. 

Add to that the fact that this protein powder also tastes good and that it contains no fillers, so your kids will probably enjoy it.


5. Paradise Herbs Orac Energy 

Paradise Herbs Orac Energy has beneficial probiotics, contains no artificial ingredients, and is gleaned from certified organic sources.

If you’re concerned about the quality of the supplements your children consume, this Paradise Herbs powder should help you rest easy.

While not specifically designed as one of the protein drinks for kids, it’s actually a natural fit given the purity of its composition and its overall effectiveness.

Paradise Herbs Orac Energy protein supplementpowder for toddler

Orac Energy from Paradise Herbs helps your kid recover faster from those days when they push themselves physically and won’t cause them to experience bloating or gas.

PROS

  • Free of animal products and artificial fillers
  • Contains no artificial sweeteners
  • Does not cause bloating or gas
  • Makes delicious protein drinks for kids

CONS

  • Lacking in calcium and some other minerals

It’s going to cost a bit more than some other brands, but it's worth it to know your children are getting the extra protein they need with none of the fillers, sugar and artificial additives they don't need.


6. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey protein powder for toddlers is high in branch chain amino acids that stimulate muscle growth.

But, before you start thinking your child is going to be transformed into the Hulk, remember that kids’ muscles are constantly growing and evolving.

In fact, kids and their boundless energy put far more stress on their muscles than adults ever will, which is why protein is so important for their health to begin with.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder for Kids(Double Chocolate Flavor)

This type of whey protein for kids has been shown to support a healthy immune system, support fat burning and promote the production of important antioxidants.

PROS

  • Highly effective for kids
  • High concentrations of protein and glutamine
  • 5.5 grams of important branched-chain amino acids
  • Makes a great tasting shake

CONS

  • It’s going to cost more than some others

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard is also quite flavorful, and it mixes well with a shake, so they are not likely to reject it.

You may want to check our article on Recommended Egg protein powders, where we featured another product from Optimum Nutrition.


7. Pro JYM

Pro JYM contains slow, moderate and fast-digesting proteins that help promote long-term synthesis and healthy muscles.

Another great thing about Pro JYM is what it doesn’t contain. There are no “spiking” ingredients. These are sometimes added to the powder because they’re an inexpensive way to boost protein levels.

The problem is those spiking ingredients don’t often provide any actual nutritional value.

JYM with Whey supplement

So, we may be able to say that it’s 15% concentrated but because it contains beta-alanine, creatine or other spiking agents, the effective percentage of protein is actually much lower.

PROS

  • Mixes well with shakes or other food
  • No spiking ingredients like creatine
  • 3 types of protein for well-balanced digestion
  • One scoop per day should do it

CONS

  • Costs a bit more than some others
  • Includes non-dairy creamer for some reason

Pro JYM then is great for keeping track of just how much nutrients your kid is actually getting, which makes those drinks seem all the more sensible.


Protein Requirements for Kids

While children are as physically different as adults, there are nonetheless some general conclusions that can be drawn about their need for protein. [1]

  • For kids between 1 and 3 years of age, it's typically recommended that 5 to 20 percent of their total daily caloric intake be protein. Depending on their size, that would be somewhere between about 60 and 250 calories per day.
  • For kids between the ages of 4 and 8, the recommended amount rises a bit to between 10 and 30 percent of their caloric intake per day. In this case, it would mean anywhere from 150 to 450 calories per day, depending of course on their size.
  • For kids between 9 and 13 years of age, the percentage of their total dietary intake is unchanged at between 10 and 30 percent. But, because these kids are bigger, that means that anywhere from 175 to 550 calories per day should be protein.

When kids eat protein-rich foods, their bodies break the protein down into amino acids that they need to grow and function optimally. Taking in too much protein can cause weight gain, so kids get maximal nutritional benefits by staying within the recommended guidelines.

Maia Appleby, SFGate

Is Protein Shake for Kids a Good Idea? 

children preparing protein drink for kid

While it's always preferable that your child obtains the nutrients they need from a healthy diet that includes lean meats, eggs, milk, yogurt, beans, nuts, and the like, it just doesn't happen all the time. [2]

Some children are notoriously picky eaters, and as much as we may try to convince them to eat what's in front of them, the fact is their diet sometimes needs supplementation.

All parents can relate here, right?

As such, a protein shake for kids is aacceptable alternative, as long as it’s not also packed with sugar or other harmful ingredients.

You can also experiment on some protein drink recipes your children might like.

What to Look For in a Child-Friendly Protein Powder 

When choosing the best protein shakes for kids (or toddlers), you should always read the labels on the container. Also, you'll want to see the following:

  • That the powder is low in fat (should not contain trans fats)
  • That it is generally low in carbs unless those carbs are fiber-based
  • That there are 200 calories or less per full serving
  • That there are no artificial flavors or other ingredients
  • That it isn’t loaded with sugar or salt
whey powder and shaker

It can also be helpful if any prospective kid’s powder contains supporting minerals and other nutrients like calcium to help build strong bones. Though this isn’t essential.


Our Favorite Protein Powder for Kids Is...

Supplements for kids are not intended to take the place of a healthy, well-balanced diet.

What they do is they allow you to make up for any shortfall that might result from your child being allergic to certain foods, or when they’re simply overly picky that they tend to miss out on some of its important sources.

The ideal protein shake for kids is the one that meets all the above criteria, and one of that is Transparent Labs.

It provides high-quality whey protein for your kid, mixes well, and tastes good as well. It's a good quality product that can be a favorable addition to your child's diet.

Transparent Labs
Our #1 Protein Powder for Kids

  • 28g Protein and 120 Calories per serving
  • Sourced from grass fed hormone-free American Cows
  • No artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, and preservatives,
  • Tastes great and comes with range of flavors
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of July

See this post you might like: Top soy protein powders

About the author

  • What!!! That’s pregnant woman too can enjoy a protein supplement even that that desperate and stressful time. You must have done alot of research in that regards. Thanks

  • This is my first time of hearing this, and I am sure it will help pregnant women from fatigue during pregnancy and labour. Wow,it will go a long way helping

  • I would like to suggest that pregnant women have to choose something that is restricted to protein with the least number of ingredients. Transparent Labs is the finest protein for breastfeeding and pregnancy.

  • There is no greater need a new mums body would need but the nutrients required to produce more milk. It is great that this product gives the nursing mother the required nutrients she desires, while helping her keep in shape.

  • Bookmarked! I will surely be giving this suggestions to my wife. We lost our second baby (anembryonic pregnancy), we hope through these supplements we will be able to have a healthy 2nd baby.

  • Pregnant women will need good amount of protein than other ingredients especially carbohydrates. 20% of protein isn’t a bad idea.

  • I’ve never been pregnant my whole life but when my sister got pregnant to her 2nd child, she do some pregnancy exercise in preparation for the birth of my nephew. This protein shake is best for moms to restore the muscles after exercise.

  • Wow, I had no idea that there were protein powdered for pregnant and lactating women. For what I can ead they bring a lot of beneffits to the health. Transparent Labs has done an amazing job for creating a product thought for this type of women.

  • A lot of pregnant women have problems eating certain protein containing foods. In such a scenarios these supplements can come in handy greatly.

  • Thanks for sharing the ingredients that pregnant women should avoid. This is potentially life saving information!

  • Pregnant women should stick with something that is limited to protein, with minimal other ingredients. I am happy that you recognize this.

  • Your research on this review is very impressively exhaustive. It basically has everything any pregnant woman should know about their protein intake.

  • I’d like to stress that protein supplements with artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Great job on recommending mostly natural remedies.

  • I am surprised to see that protein has such immense benefits for pregnant women. The benefits for lactating moms are particularly impressive.

  • I couldn’t agree more with your point that pregnant women should steer clear of caffeine and other stimulants. Speaking from experience it is not a good experience.

  • I quite like Tera’s Whey Organic Protein from the features. I hope with time they get to add minerals and vitamins to it.

  • I am not a woman but my wife is giving birth soon. I think every nutrient will always good for our baby regardless of its name. I will always be looking for products like these. Good job!!!

  • This is great help for first time moms to know the best protein powders for their pregnancy and breastfeeding. Especially they need enough protein during their pregnancy for them not to have smaller babies and not to experience pre-term births. Thank you so much for this guide.