A lot of my clients have kids in their teens who start to get into various sports where athletic performance and building muscles are required.
The concern these parents rightfully have is down to using nutrition supplements for weight management and exercise performance.
The best protein powder that's healthy for adults may not be suitable for teens at all, so you do have to be careful.
However, when it comes to protein supplements, it turns out that there may be benefits outside of athletic performance.
So, I sat down with my dietitian to figure out what athletes in their teens need and to find the best protein powder for teens.
Our Top Protein Powders For Teens (2020)
#1 Transparent Labs
#2 Performance Lab
#3 Ora Organic
#5 Optimum Nutrition
1. Transparent Labs ProteinSeries (Editor's Choice)
Transparent Labs is a whey protein powder that has become quite popular with many athletes.
With none of the common allergens, and no fillers or artificial crap added, you have a sports supplement that delivers healthy ingredients.
While there are bulk order discounts, some larger containers would be great.
2. Performance Lab Sport Protein
Performance Lab protein supplements are based on brown rice.
According to OptiNutra, this protein powder may have the nutritional benefit of making you feel full for longer.
Rice protein has also been clinically and medically tested and shown to help with muscle growth .
I just wasn't a big fan of the texture, so you may want to consider blending the powder.
3. Ora Organic Vegan Protein
A lot of people favor organic protein supplements for teens because the ingredients have fewer contaminants like pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.
In addition to that, Ora Organic may be a healthy protein powder as it contains no sugar and little fat.
The only thing I would say about this supplement powder is that it tastes better out of a blender.
4. PaleoPro Protein Powder
There's a very good reason why we list this paleo protein supplement.
Not only does it contain enough protein to contribute to muscle growth, but it also lists collagen on the nutrition label.
Eating a collagen supplement has been medically proven to help with joint repair and development, which may be necessary for many teens .
The only downside is that you may need to shake this protein powder for 20 to 30 seconds before drinking it. That's quite tedious in my opinion.
5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
The chances are that you've seen Gold Standard supplements in sports nutrition stores.
This is one of their most popular whey protein powders and was specially designed for performance athletes and may help with muscle growth and recovery.
While there are loads of flavors available, we did find that some of them were a bit sweet.
6. MyProtein Impact Whey Protein
Next up is another one of our favored whey protein powders.
What convinced us about Iso:Pro is that it's one of the lowest-calorie options as it contains no fat or sugar.
The only negative I would note on this particular protein powder is that it does use artificial additives for flavor.
7. Amazing Nutrition The Family Whey
This one from Amazing Nutrition is a whey protein powder that's specifically designed for families, hence its name.
It's suitable for all ages and comes with a guide to work out what different age groups may need.
Just make sure you shake it well or use a blender to make it more appealing to kids and teens.
8. Sneaks Organic Smoothie Mix
One of the easiest to mix protein supplements we found is this Sneaks Organic one.
It does have a very smooth texture and doesn't require blending.
The main downside is that it contains quite a lot of sugar, which may explain why teens like it so much.
9. Quest Protein Powder
This Quest protein supplement is the only one on our list that's part whey protein powder and part casein.
This combination is interesting because casein has been clinically studied and shown to play a role in the development of lean muscle mass .
I did find that it tasted best out of a blender, which reduced the grainy effect.
10. Origin Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
And finally, our last recommendation is another whey protein powder.
The reason we added this to the list is that it may have dietary advantages through using a cold filtration technique.
Personally, I prefer not using supplements that contain artificial additives, so you may want to keep that in mind.
Why Is Protein Important For Teens?
There are three main reasons why protein is critical from a teen's nutrition point of view.
I'm not just referring to building lean muscle mass, as growing teens are naturally developing new muscles. Whey protein powder is specifically designed for this purpose.
During the teenage years, young adults may encounter significant weight management issues. All those hormone fluctuations can take a toll on a young adult (I remember it too well myself).
This is where some extra protein in the diet may solve a lot of problems, as studies have shown that it helps with weight loss . Taking a quality protein powder may also improve muscle mass, thus contributing to quicker and more efficient fat loss.
Who doesn't want some extra brain power, right?
For teens, though, this is a critical time of life where the brain goes through some significant changes. With the right protein supplements, you may be able to supply the amino acids needed to support that brain development .
Be sure to check out this video to learn more ...
And without proper nutrition, the brain's ability to learn new tasks or skills decreases – certainly not good news for students.
How Much Protein Powder Should A Teenager Take?
The average teenager should take about 45 g of protein per day. Most of this should come from the food you eat rather than dietary supplement products.
However, for teens who are performance athletes or who exercise a lot, increasing that by 10 to 15 g per day may be a healthy decision. This requirement can easily be addressed by taking a single serving of protein powder with just the right of amount of protein every day.
This may not only support muscle recovery but may also help with gaining some lean mass as well.
Anything significantly more than that should be discussed with a dietitian or medical doctor as excessive amounts may result in some unpleasant side effects.
More on this shortly.
What Should Influence Your Choice Of Protein
It all comes down to the ingredients, so make sure you check the nutrition label for the following.
A good quality protein powder should come from quality sources. I generally look at these from an animal or plant-based point of view. Rice, pea, and hemp protein powders have become very popular, especially as a blend.
They tend to help with weight loss due to the higher levels of fiber .
Whey protein powders would be considered the best option to support muscle growth as they contain all 9 essential amino acids.
Which brings me to...
Range Of Amino Acids
Protein is made up of 20 different amino acids, and some of those are classified as essential from a dietary perspective. That means your body cannot produce them, so you have to take them in through food or supplements.
This is why whey protein powders are so popular, as they contain the full amino acid profile needed for healthy development in teens.
Some teens may be restricted in their choice of protein supplements due to allergies, intolerances, or choice of diet. Dairy and lactose intolerance is quite common, but so are soy and gluten.
It's important to check the nutrition label of your protein powder for any ingredients that may be best avoided.
High Protein Foods For Teenage Athletes
While taking a good protein powder is a great way to boost protein consumption, it's always best to maximize your intake through the food you eat.
Here is a list of things you could add to your meal plan:
You can get adventurous with these things and add a small amount to each of your meals. You'll be surprised how quickly they all add up to support your goals.
Is it OK for a teenager to drink protein shakes?
Yes, it is OK for a teenager to drink protein shakes. In fact, these supplements may provide a healthy boost of amino acids to support muscle and brain development in all teens.
How much protein is too much for a teenager?
Protein intake above 80 g per day may be too much for a teenager. However, this very much depends on physical size and activity. Stomach cramps, nausea, and bloating are some side effects that may indicate that you need to reduce your protein consumption.
Which Product Should You Choose?
We’ve worked with a lot of teens on both muscle building and weight loss, and one of the products that has shown some good results is Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein.
If you're not vegan or vegetarian, then this may be the best way to support an increase in lean muscle mass, healthy brain development, as well as the potential to support healthy joints.
Order yours today and then report back to us on social media how it worked out for you.
TRANSPARENT LABS Protein Powder
Our #1 Shake for teens