Tracy Thompson
Published by Tracy Thompson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

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)

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

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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.

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

Ladder

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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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 Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder

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.

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

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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.

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

Recommended post: Do protein shakes make you fat?

Is Protein Shake for Kids a Good Idea?

children preparing protein shake

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.

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What to Look For in a Child-Friendly Protein Powder

protein shake powder and shaker

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

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

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.

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Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey

Our #1 Protein Powder for Kids

  • 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
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of September
Click For Best Price
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