Many people think protein shakes are meant only for weight gain (building muscles) or weight loss (dieting). Adequate protein intake is important in both endeavours, but protein powder is also just one element in a healthy diet. For adults and children, protein shakes can supply the proper nutrients for growth, development, and energy.
A protein shake is a rich source of nutrients vital for tissue repair, immune function, and many other important bodily functions. Protein powders are a convenient source of protein, containing many of the same nutrients as other protein-rich foods such as fish, chicken, meat, dairy, soy, and beans.
How Much Protein does a Child Need?
A child needs between 1 and 2 g of protein per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight per day, depending on age and activity level. For example, if a child weighs 66 lbs (30 kg), he or she would need between 30 and 60 g of protein each day. If the child eats four to five times per day, somewhere between 6 and 15 g of protein should be supplied at each meal.
For Meals or Snacks
Some children go through stages of not eating meats, skipping meals, or acting fussy about food. A protein-based shake can help ensure they get adequate nutrient intake while satisfying their palates. Children and parents with busy schedules find that shakes are easy to make and drink, and they make a healthy snack choice. The shake provides an excellent source of protein whether as a snack or occasional meal replacement.
Protein shakes are nutrient-rich, containing not only protein, but also vitamins and minerals; some are packed with fibre and essential fatty acids. Most contain minimal amounts of sugar and, instead, contain complex carbohydrates. Protein shakes are generally made from a powdered base of whey, rice, soy, hemp, or a combination of these products. Most protein powders are filtered in some way to isolate the protein component. Good protein sources are isolated using cold processes and microfiltration (without chemicals) to keep the protein intact and give the best nutrient value.
There are many protein shakes available in your health food store to choose from. They come in a myriad of flavours and nutrient profiles. Check the nutritional panel and directions to use the right amount of powder for your child. Shake things up in your family.
Types of Protein Shakes
- Whey protein is easily digested and may offer antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
- Soy protein is vegan and high in fibre and phytoestrogens.
- Rice protein is a vegan source that’s also hypoallergenic.
- Hemp protein, another vegan source, is rich in essential fatty acids and fibre.