How to make protein shakes for kids.
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
Wondering how to make protein shakes for kids? If so, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will teach you how to make a safe, nutritious protein shake for your child.
“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”
How to make protein shakes for kids.
How much protein do kids need?
Kids need lots of protein. Protein is essential for growth and development as it is found in every cell of the body, serving as one of the building blocks of muscles, skin, and bones. Protein is also a key component of antibodies that protect the body against illness. Needless to say, getting enough of it is crucial, especially during childhood when we experience major growth spurts.
Based on the current evidence, the Dietary Reference Intake for protein for children aged 4-13 years is 0.95 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. This means that a 100 pound child needs to eat at least 43 grams of protein per day. Most of this protein should come from foods like eggs, meat, and legumes. That said, getting enough protein from dietary protein sources like these can be hard, especially for picky eaters and kids with dietary restrictions. This is where protein supplements can help.
Can kids have protein shakes?
Kids can have protein shakes. Protein shakes are a convenient and easy way to increase a kid’s protein intake, which can be beneficial for children who are not getting enough protein in their diet. Not all protein shakes are created equal, however, and some may actually do more harm than good. Ready-to-drink protein shakes, for example, are full of emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors. Ingredients like these can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage (more about this later).
It follows that you should make your kids protein shakes with protein powder. Not only does this give you much more control over the ingredients, but it makes it easier to customer the flavor and consistency. That said, not all protein powders are created equal either, and many contain the same sketchy ingredients found in store-bought protein shakes. Keep reading to learn how to make protein shakes for kids and safely get your kid the protein he or she needs.
How to make protein shakes for kids.
Making a kid-friendly protein shake is easy. All you need is a simple protein powder, milk, ice or frozen fruit, and a good blender. Just combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Here is a simple recipe for a delicious and nutritious protein shake that your kids will be sure to love.
-1 cup milk (or a dairy-free milk alternative like almond milk)
-1 ripe banana
-1 serving vanilla protein powder
-3 ice cubes
Add all of the ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until the shake is smooth and creamy. Pour the protein shake into a glass and serve it immediately.
You can customize this recipe by adding different fruits (such as strawberries or blueberries) or by using a different flavor of protein powder. To make the shake thicker and creamier, add more ice or use a frozen banana. You can also add a scoop of creamy peanut butter.
Keep in mind that most protein powders do not taste very good. For starters, the average protein powder has chalky aftertaste because it is made with protein isolates. Protein isolates, which are listed on the ingredient list as “whey protein,” for example, as opposed to “whey,” have been stripped of the nutrients that make food taste good.
Many protein powders are also sweetened with artificial sweeteners or stevia, which have an unpleasant aftertaste because they activate bitter taste receptors in addition to sweet receptors. If your kid is a picky eater, avoid protein powders made with protein isolates, artificial sweeteners, and stevia.
Why drink wholesome?
Unfortunately, many protein powders are not safe for kids. If you read the ingredient list on the average protein powder, you will be shocked by how many artificial and or heavily-processed ingredients there are. This is worrisome because ingredients like these are known to cause disruptions to your gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis), the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food.
More and more research shows that disruptions to the composition and function of the gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food) can play a role in the development of chronic diseases ranging from gastrointestinal inflammatory and metabolic conditions to neurological, cardiovascular, and respiratory illnesses. This is why you should make your kids protein shakes with a simple protein powder like drink wholesome.
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best protein supplement for kids is that we do not use food additives. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives. Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a protein shake every day), and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain.
Food additives are hard to digest, and sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, causing bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation. In the long term, food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine and trigger the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
When buying protein powder for sensitive stomachs, one additive to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota. This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome.
Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are poorly absorbed by the gut, meaning they feed your hungry gut bacteria. They can also cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestines. Now you finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to avoid when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.
*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why we make the best protein supplement for kids is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, and known to cause digestive issues. This is especially true for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you just learned, partially digested food feeds the bacteria in your gut, which produce gas and cause side effects.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best protein supplement for kids is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They appear on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.”
I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to your gut microbiome.
Your gut does more than just help you to digest food; it protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of your physiologic functions. Disruptions to the gut microbiome have therefore been linked to the development of many chronic diseases. It follows that it is in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein supplement for kids with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed to remove some of the oil, and ground. Whole foods like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.
Whole foods contain a variety of enzymes and other digestive aids that help to break down the food, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. Protein isolates and concentrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of these digestive aids, making them harder for the body to digest and absorb. Moreover, minimally-processed plant-based foods like almonds are rich in fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein powder. If you cannot eat eggs, try our vegan almond protein powder. We prefer almonds to other plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties that can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.
“I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20+ years and it’s always been hard to find a protein powder my stomach can handle. I’ve had no problem digesting drink wholesome AND it tastes great. I highly recommend this protein powder if you have IBS or Crohn’s.” – Jesse
How to make protein shakes for kids.