The Best Protein Shakes for Teenagers And High School Athletes

Best Protein Powder For Teens Featured Image

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)

Product

Supplement Facts

Key Highlights

ProteinSeries 100 Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate Product

#1 Transparent Labs

(Editor's Choice)

  • Protein: 28g

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 0g
  • 28 grams of whey protein per serving
  • Contains no fillers, artificial sweeteners or sugar
  • Low in carbs and calories means it may help with weight loss
  • Free of common allergens like gluten and soy
Performance Lab Sport Protein Product

#2 Performance Lab 

  • Protein: 20g

  • Calories: 100
  • Fat: 1.2g
  • 20 grams of brown rice protein per serving
  • Contains hardly any fat or carbs so it may not mess with your diet
  • As an organic supplement, it provides premium ingredients
  • Some reviews highlight that it may suppress your appetite
Ora Organic Vegan Protein Product

#3 Ora Organic

  • Protein: 22g

  • Calories: 130
  • Fat: 3g
  • 22 grams of plant protein per serving
  • Many people like that it works as a shake or by adding it to meals
  • Zero sugar and low-fat supplement that helps with weight management
  • Available in chocolate and vanilla flavors
PaleoPro Protein Powder Product

#4 PaleoPro 

  • Natural Collagen 
  • Protein: 26g

  • Calories: 120
  • 26 grams of protein per serving from grass-fed beef
  • Certified hormone and antibiotic-free
  • Contains natural collagen that may keep joints healthy
  • Available in multiple flavors to suit most tastes
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Product

#5 Optimum Nutrition

  • Protein: 22g

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 0g
  • 24 grams of protein per serving
  • Contains BCAAs that may help boost muscle performance and recovery
  • Easy to mix in a shaker without being clumpy
  • Comes in a great selection of flavors

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. 

Transparent Labs ranked top one of all the protein powders that do not contain gluten.

ProteinSeries 100 Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate Product

PROS

  • 24 grams of whey protein per serving
  • Contains no fillers, artificial sweeteners or sugar
  • Low in carbs and calories means it may help with weight loss
  • Free of common allergens like soy and gluten

CONS

  • Some bulk size 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 [2].

Performance Lab Sport Protein Product

PROS

  • 20 grams of brown rice protein per serving
  • Contains hardly any fat or carbs so it may not mess with your diet
  • As an organic supplement, it provides premium ingredients
  • Some reviews highlight that it may suppress your appetite

CONS

  • The texture could be a bit smoother

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.

Ora Organic Vegan Protein Product

PROS

  • 22 grams of plant protein per serving
  • Many people like that it works as a shake or by adding it to meals
  • Zero sugar and low-fat supplement that helps with weight management
  • Available in chocolate and vanilla flavors

CONS

  • Try blending it before serving to get a smooth texture

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 [1].

See related posts: Collagen-based protein powders with peptide, Collagen protein vs. Whey

PaleoPro Protein Powder Product

PROS

  • 26 grams of protein per serving from grass-fed beef
  • Certified hormone and antibiotic-free
  • Contains natural collagen that may keep joints healthy
  • Available in multiple flavors to suit most tastes

CONS

  • Make sure you shake it well before drinking to avoid a grainy texture

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. 

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Product

PROS

  • 24 grams of protein per serving
  • Contains BCAAs that may help boost muscle performance and recovery
  • Easy to mix in a shaker without being clumpy
  • Comes in a great selection of flavors

CONS

  • Some of the flavors are a little 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. 

My Protein Iso Pro Whey Protein Product

PROS

  • 23 grams of whey isolate per serving
  • Low-calorie option helps to maintain weight
  • Many users highlight the smooth consistency
  • Contains no fat or sugar to make nutritional planning easier

CONS

  • The texture could be a bit smoother

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.

Amazing Nutrition The Family Whey Product

PROS

  • 20 grams of protein per serving
  • Suitable for children, teens, and adults with recommended servings
  • Gluten-free and contains no artificial additives
  • Comes in tasty flavors that aren't too sweet

CONS

  • Needs to be shaken quite a bit to dissolve fully

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. 

Sneaks Organic Smoothie Mix Product

PROS

  • 14 grams of plant protein per serving
  • Low in saturated fat to reduce health issues
  • Easy to mix with water or milk
  • Provides a boost of iron as well

CONS

  • It's a bit high in sugar content

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 [3].

I did find that it tasted best out of a blender, which reduced the grainy effect. 

See recommended post on: Top casein protein powder

Quest Protein Powder Product

PROS

  • 24 grams of whey and casein per serving
  • Contains no saturated or trans fats
  • Less than 1g of sugar in each supplement serving
  • Good selection of popular flavors

CONS

  • Requires blending for a fully smooth texture

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.

Origin Grass Fed Whey Isolate Product

PROS

  • 24 grams of whey protein per serving
  • Low in carbs and fats to support different healthy diets
  • Uses cold processing which helps to maintain protein structure
  • Also available as unflavored to mix with other foods

CONS

  • It contains some artificial sweeteners

Why Is Protein Important For Teens?

Muscle Growth, Weight Management & Brain Development Image

There are three main reasons why protein is critical from a teen's nutrition point of view.

Muscle Growth

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.

This process in the body is heavily reliant on essential amino acids, which are available in all whey protein powders [4].

Weight Management

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 [5]. Taking a quality protein powder may also improve muscle mass, thus contributing to quicker and more efficient fat loss.

Brain Development

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 [6].

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.

Samantha Costa Staff writer at US News

How Much Protein Powder Should A Teenager Take?

Different Protein Powder Scoop

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

Woman Taking Protein Product, Amino Acids & Dairy Products

It all comes down to the ingredients, so make sure you check the nutrition label for the following.

Protein Source

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 [7].

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.

Dietary Restrictions

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:

  • Chicken
  • Lean meat
  • Fish
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Low-fat milk
  • Tofu
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds

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. 

FAQ

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Is it OK for a teenager to drink protein shakes?

How much protein is too much for a teenager?

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

  • 24 grams of whey protein per serving
  • Contains no fillers, artificial sweeteners or sugar
  • Low in carbs and calories means it may help with weight loss
  • Free of common allergens like gluten and soy
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of July

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