What are the best protein shakes for kid athletes?

drink wholesome makes the best protein shakes for kid athletes using a short list of simple ingredients. Now, your kids can boost their protein intake without extra processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our protein shakes are right for your kids.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN


vanilla protein powder

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How to pick a protein shake for kid athletes

How much protein do kid athletes need?

Childhood is a time of growth and activity. In the United States, more than half of kids are involved in organized sports, which requires them to have good nutrition. Protein in particular is crucial for growing children, especially those who play sports because it helps repair muscles that get damaged during exercise. Without enough protein, kids will not grow, and athletes will not recover. Inadequate protein intake can also lead to fatigue, weakness, thin hair, brittle nails, and dry skin.

For kids aged 4-13, the recommended protein intake is about 0.95 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. Kid athletes often need much more protein than that, however, sometimes twice as much.

Kid athletes should try to get as much protein as they can from foods like eggs, fish, and meat. Some kids, however, such as picky eaters or those with dietary restrictions, might struggle to get enough protein this way, which is where protein shakes can help.

Are protein shakes good for kid athletes?

Adding a protein shake to a kid athlete’s diet is a great way to ensure that he or she is getting the nutrients he or she needs to develop and succeed as an athlete. For kids who do not have enough time to eat a full meal between school, practice, rehearsal etc., a drinkable high protein meal can be a lifesaver.

Protein shakes are also highly customizable, and can be made to suit anyone’s needs and preferences. That said, not all protein shakes are created equal.


What are the best protein shakes for kid athletes?

The best protein shakes for kid athletes are made with a short list of simple ingredients. Short and simple is so important because many protein shakes contain long lists of processed ingredients that can cause painful gastrointestinal (GI) side effects and gut health problems. A few of the top ingredients to avoid are lecithins, gums, artificial and natural flavors, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols.

Having a healthy gut is extremely important for growing children. The gut not only helps them digest their food, but also supports their immune system, heart, and brain. So, prioritizing protein shakes with ingredients that will not disrupt the composition and function of their gut is essential. Keep reading to learn more.


drink wholesome makes the best protein shakes for kid athletes

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best protein shakes for kid athletes is that we do not use any food additives whatsoever. As you just learned, additives, even in small amounts, can cause painful side effects.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein shakes:

acacia fiber, acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, ascorbic acid, aspartame, calcium carbonate, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dicalcium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, ‘natural’ flavors, rice bran extract, rice dextrin, rice hulls, rosemary extract, silica, silicon dioxide, sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate, soluble corn fiber, soy lecithin, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, tocopherols, tricalcium phosphate, xanthan gum, xylitol, zinc oxide

Food additives are not real food, so our bodies struggle to digest them. This can lead to two unpleasant side effects:

1. Partially digested food additives can cause the colon to absorb excess water, leading to diarrhea.

2. Partially digested food additives also feed your gut bacteria. As bacteria eat, they produce gas, resulting in bloating, gas, and stomach pain. Gas can also slow down the movement of food through the colon, leading to constipation.

vanilla protein powder 28 servings lifestyle image 1
vegan vanilla protein powder lifestyle image 2

Eating food additives regularly can also disturb regulatory pathways in your  intestines, leading to problems like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Some additives, especially artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can disrupt your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. An disrupted gut microbiome is a leading cause of inflammation and linked to the onset and progression of many chronic diseases.

the alternative:

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

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best protein shakes for kid athletes is that we do not use dairy-based proteins like whey and casein. Whey and casein are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production and therefore contain lactose. Lactose is notorious for causing painful side effects, especially for kids athletes with lactose intolerance. 

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best protein shakes for kid athletes is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Almost every other protein shake is made from one or both of these protein sources, which have been stripped down to just the protein. They go through a lot of mechanical and chemical processing, sometimes involving solvents like hexane. As a result, what you end up feeding to your kids does not look like real food.

Your digestive system is meant to break down minimally or unprocessed foods, not heavily-processed protein concentrates or isolates. This is why regularly eating ingredients like these can affect the balance of your gut bacteria. Once again, having an imbalanced gut microbiome can lead to serious health problems.

vegan chocolate protein powder lifestyle image 1
chocolate protein powder 28 servings lifestyle image 2

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein shakes for kid athletes with egg whites and almonds. Minimally-processed ingredients like these are a gut-healthy alternative to protein concentrates and isolates. 

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, egg whites and almonds contain enzymes that help you digest them. Almonds are also prebiotic, meaning they improve the diversity of your gut microbiome. They also promote regular and healthy bowel movements.

Egg whites, on the other hand, are low in fiber, low FODMAP, alkaline (maintaining healthy pH levels in your gut), and bioactive (promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria). Our happy customers have reported fewer digestive issues with our egg white protein powders than with any other protein supplement.

In summary, our protein powders, because they are additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, are the best protein shakes for kid athletes.


my kids love it

“My kids absolutely love drink wholesome!!! It’s a super easy way to get them a healthy meal before school, and they rave about how good it tastes.” – Alie

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vegan chocolate protein powder

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.