Protein Drinks for Young Athletes

Key Takeaway: Protein drinks can be a valuable supplement for young athletes to meet their nutritional needs, but it's essential to understand proper intake, dietary sources, and criteria for selecting quality protein powders to ensure optimal health and performance.

As a community that values health and wellness, it is important to ensure that our young athletes are getting the proper nutrition they need to perform at their best. One way to do this is through protein drinks, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is best for young athletes.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about protein drinks for young athletes – from how much protein they need, whether food alone can provide enough protein, and what to look for when choosing a protein powder.

How Much Protein Do Teen Athletes Need?

When it comes to protein intake for young athletes, the general recommendation is 0.5-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. However, this can vary depending on their age, level of physical activity, and specific sport they play. For example, a teenage basketball player may require more protein than a swimmer due to the different demands of their respective sports.

It’s important to note that protein helps with muscle repair and growth which is crucial for young athletes who are constantly using their muscles in training and competition. It also provides energy and helps maintain a healthy immune system. Therefore, it’s essential for young athletes to consume enough protein to support their active lifestyle.

Can Teen Athletes Get Enough Protein From Food?

It is possible for teen athletes to get enough protein from their diet alone, as long as they are consuming a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet. Lean meats such as chicken, fish, and turkey are excellent sources of protein, as well as dairy products like milk and yogurt. Plant-based options such as beans, lentils, quinoa, and tofu are also great sources of protein.

However, it can be challenging for busy young athletes to always have access to these protein-rich foods, especially when they have a packed schedule. This is where protein drinks can be a convenient option, providing the necessary protein without the need for preparation or cooking.

What to Look for When Choosing a Protein Powder

When choosing a protein powder for young athletes, it’s important to look beyond just the amount of protein per serving. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Type of protein: Whey and casein proteins are fast-digesting and ideal post-workout, while plant-based options like soy or pea protein are better suited for those with lactose intolerance or vegan/vegetarian diets. It’s also important to consider the blend of proteins, as it can affect digestion and absorption.
  • Quality: Look for protein powders that are third-party tested for quality and purity. This ensures that there are no harmful additives or contaminants present in the product.
  • Additional nutrients: Some protein powders may also include added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which can be beneficial for young athletes’ overall health and performance.
  • Taste and texture: While this may not seem like a crucial factor, it can make a difference in whether your young athlete will actually enjoy drinking their protein shake. Look for reviews or sample different flavors to find one that suits their taste preferences.

Here’s My Protein Powder Checklist

  • High-quality protein source: The first ingredient should be a quality protein source such as whey, casein, soy, or pea protein.
  • Minimal additives: Avoid protein powders with added sugars, artificial colors and sweeteners, and unnecessary fillers. Opt for natural ingredients instead.
  • No banned substances: Make sure the protein powder is certified by a reputable organization like the NSF or Informed-Sport to ensure it does not contain any banned substances.
  • Easy to mix/drink: Protein powders should mix easily with water or milk and have a smooth consistency when consumed.
  • Affordability: While protein powders can be pricier than other food sources of protein, it’s important to consider the cost per serving and compare it to your budget. Don’t sacrifice quality for a cheaper price.


Can young athletes consume too much protein?

Yes, consuming excessive amounts of protein can put strain on the kidneys and lead to dehydration. It’s important for young athletes to stay within the recommended daily intake and consult with a healthcare professional if they are unsure.

When is the best time to consume a protein shake?

For young athletes, it’s recommended to have a protein shake within 30 minutes after a workout or training session. This helps with muscle repair and recovery.

Are there any potential side effects of consuming protein drinks for young athletes?

As long as the protein powder is consumed in moderation and from a reputable source, there should not be any major side effects. However, some individuals may experience stomach discomfort or allergies to certain ingredients, so it’s important to read labels carefully and consult with a healthcare professional if necessary.


In conclusion, protein drinks can be a convenient and effective way to ensure that young athletes are getting enough protein in their diets. However, it’s important to consider the individual needs of each athlete and choose a high-quality protein powder that fits their goals and dietary restrictions.

With this information in mind, you can confidently help your young athlete fuel their body for optimal performance on and off the field.

Remember to always prioritize a well-balanced diet and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your child’s nutrition. Here’s to helping our young athletes reach their full potential!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Teri Franks, the voice behind Prescott Voice. I've spent years immersing myself in all that Prescott has to offer, and I love sharing the unique stories and experiences I've discovered. When I'm not writing, you'll find me exploring Prescott's trails or tasting our local cuisine. I believe that the vibrant lifestyle here in Prescott inspires us to live a healthier, happier life. Come join me on this exciting journey as we explore Prescott together.

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