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10 Best Protein Powders For Teens On The Market

Written by Jane Summerfield

Many parents worry about their teens, even though their teens believe full well that they don’t need their parents faffing around them anymore.

And when it comes to health and sports, parents want to give their best advice and help their teens to make the right decisions.

Parents often try and find advice from doctors and sports experts when it comes to questions about health and safety issues for their teens.

Now that protein supplements have become such a rage in the health and fitness industry today, pediatricians, and sports nutritionists often get asked by parents, coaches, and even teen athletes themselves what the best protein supplements are on the market today.

They want to know if they are safe to take.

Sometimes parents look at them and wonder – are protein supplements even necessary for the youth athletes in the family?

There was a time when it was believed that muscle-building workouts greatly increased their need for more protein.

This idea back then turned into a multibillion-dollar business today.

Now it’s not only protein powders, it’s high protein meals, drinks, bars, and all kinds of things on the market for athletes.

At a Glance

Top 10 Protein Powders For Teens: Tested & Reviewed

1)  BulkSupplements Whey Isolate

Bulk Supplement Whey Protein Isolate

Here’s another top protein powder for teens. BulkSupplements’ whey isolate consists of just two ingredients; whey protein isolate and sunflower lecithin.

It’s gluten-free, soy-free, and has no artificial sweeteners, flavors, and no fillers.

This protein powder doesn’t come in any flavors, so it’s ideal for adding to coffee, smoothies, and recipes.

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Only two ingredients
  • No flavoring so it doesn’t alter the taste of the food

Cons

  • No flavors to choose from
  • Affordable quality

2) Levels Grass Fed Whey Protein

Levels Grass-Fed Whey Protein

It is thought that Levels’ Grass Fed Whey Protein powder is the best protein powder for teens.

This is because it offers a simple, clean, natural approach to a teen’s health.

And parents can breathe a sigh of relief knowing this protein comes from hormone-free cattle.

That means there are no artificial sweeteners or flavors in the protein. It is also gluten-free and soy-free, with no added fillers.

What you get is powdered whey protein, non-GMO sunflower lecithin, monk fruit extract, and stevia leaf extract for flavoring. This powder is also naturally flavored as well.

Your child can choose from 7 different flavors and they will truly love the flavors. There is also an unflavored option.

Pros

  • Clean, natural approach to health
  • A wide variety of flavors
  • Just the basic ingredients
  • No artificial ingredients

Cons

  • The chocolate flavor has a bit of an aftertaste

3)  Truvani Plant-Based Protein Powder

Truvani Plant Based Protein

Looking at the title, you will have noticed that Truvani offers a plant-based protein.

Parents can be assured that this one is one of the best vegan proteins out there. It’s got all the essential amino acids in it. This makes it a complete protein.

The sources of protein come from organic pumpkin seed, organic peas, and organic chia seed.

It really sounds like the ideal choice for a teenager who wants harmonious development from a plant-based protein.

It comes in four different flavors and contains around five to seven ingredients.

These are organic banana powder, organic alkalized cocoa, organic peanut flour are just some of the ingredients.

Sounds very tempting! The sweetness of the drink comes from natural monk fruit, so you can know there are no artificial food products in this powder.

Pros

  • Complete source of protein with all the amino acids included
  • It’s vegan, making it ideal for vegetarians and vegans
  • All the ingredients are organic

Cons

  • Some consider this product on the expensive side.
  • Some deem the product too expensive

4) Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

You will no doubt want to give this fantastic protein powder a taste in your search for the best protein shakes.

It’s made from the most popular protein supplements; high-quality protein, with a minimum of other ingredients.

Can you believe that this protein powder offers you ten different flavors?

There is no doubt something for everyone. The flavors are sweetened, though, with artificial sweeteners [6], so be aware of that.

If you are anti these types of sweeteners, you will have to look at other powders on offer.

Pros

  • A trusted product; on the market for years
  • Huge variety of delicious flavors
  • Minimal ingredients

Cons

  • Sweetened with artificial sweeteners

5)  Isopure Infusions

Isopure Infusions

You won’t be sorry you stumbled on this protein powder – the Isopure Infusions.

It’s made with only a handful of top ingredients, with natural flavorings.

Only natural sweeteners have been used in this product such as stevia leaf extract.

It contains no gluten, no lactose, no soy, no additives, or fillers.

This powder comes in six tasty flavors with names like citrus lemon or mixed berry to tantalize your taste buds.

Pros

  • Refreshing, unique flavors
  • Only a few ingredients

Cons

  • Some people might find the flavors a bit over-powering 

6)  Legion Casein+

Legion Athletics Casein

Casein is the main protein that is found in milk. It’s a slow-digesting protein.

It only gets released into the bloodstream over about an 8-hour period.

Because the process is longer, the body gets a slow, but steady release of amino acids.

In fact, the slower digesting proteins are highly suitable for people who want to maximize muscle growth through the night.

So it’s a great supplement to take before retiring for the night.

Legion Casein+ is made with just a few ingredients; casein powder which is sourced from cattle on organic farms, natural flavors, and natural sweeteners.

How does the flavor of banana cream pie sound?

Too delicious for words – and the other flavors are vanilla and strawberry.

When you mix it up, rather use a blender, as it gets a bit clumpy when a spoon is used.

Pros

  • Delicious tempting tastes of banana cream, strawberry, and vanilla
  • No artificial ingredients or fillers
  • Natural sweeteners

Cons

  • As mentioned above, it might need a blender to mix it well

7)  Jay Robb’s Delicious Egg White Protein

Jay Robb Egg White Protein

Jay Robb’s Egg white protein powder is a good alternative to vegan or whey concentrate. This powder is made with a few high-quality ingredients.

It’s basically just powdered egg whites and sunflower lecithin.

Also included are xanthan gum, natural flavors, and some stevia leaf extract to make it sweet.

It might not be the ultimate egg white protein powder but it sure will tick the boxes for the most delicious one.

When it comes to teenagers, then taste is going to measure high up in the ratings. 

This powder comes in three flavors, the basics, which are vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. There is also an unflavored version in this range as well.

Pros

  • Super delicious
  • Comes in flavored or unflavored
  • Few ingredients, which are high-quality
  • Similar to whey when it comes to effectiveness

Cons

  • The bags are ziplock bags and they don’t always stay closed.

8)  OWYN Allergy-Friendly Vegan Protein

OWYN Plant Protein Powder

This one is fantastic for kids who suffer from allergies, particularly when they are food-related allergies.

Then you will love OWYN – which stands for Only What You Need.

You will discover OWYN is all that you need when you realize what an ideal powder it is for teenagers who are prone to allergies.

The protein in this product comes from powdered zucchini, kale, broccoli, and spinach.

You can imagine how packed it is with vitamins. There are no artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners in OWYN.

The cocoa and vanilla extract flavors are all-natural and the product is sweetened with organic cane sugar.

After the production of this powder, it is thoroughly tested for traces of typical allergens. So if you do suffer from allergies, this is the one for you.

Pros

  • Suits people perfectly who have allergies as this product is specifically tested for traces of allergens
  • Even though its vegan, it is a complete source of protein
  • It has powdered greens in it which boosts the minerals and vitamins content

Cons

  • Lower in protein

9) Ora Lean, Clean, Organic Protein

Ora Organic So Lean

This protein powder is a vegan one. Ora has set this fantastic powder apart from a lot of competition by seeing that all the food ingredients are totally organic.

Therefore, quite frankly, it is probably the best one for teens who want a truly clean source of protein.

And on top of it, it has all the essential amino acids in it too. This makes it a complete protein.

The protein sources are rich in plant ingredients such as rice, pea, cranberry, hemp, sacha inchi, and sprouted quinoa.

You can literally feel the punch of nutrition with every sip of this delicious powder.

There are three different flavors in this range; French vanilla, chocolate, and vanilla.

They are all naturally sweetened with organic brown rice syrup, organic monk fruit extract, as well as organic stevia leaf extract – The ideal health drink for teens.

Pros

  • All foods in this powder are completely organic
  • It is a complete source of protein product even though it is vegan
  • All-natural sweeteners and flavors added

Cons

  • Some people feel it has a bit of a gritty taste

10) PlantFusion Complete Plant-Based Protein Powder

PlantFusion Complete Protein

This is a great protein powder for teens who want to work on their muscle growth.

This is another plant-based protein powder. It is low fat, which means you get all the good from the 21 grams of protein in each serving.

Being plant-based, it is easy to digest and has no allergy-producing ingredients like animal-sourced protein or milk.

Those with sensitive stomachs will benefit from this product. It has no added sugars, is non-GMO, gluten-free as well as soy-free.

For teens that are looking for lean muscle, they will appreciate the blends of branched-chain amino acids such as L-Isoleucine, L-valine, L-Leucine, and L-Glutamine.

There are five flavors available; rich chocolate, red velvet cake, creamy vanilla bean, cookie and cream, and all-natural flavors.

Pros

  • High protein content
  • Vegan and keto-friendly
  • Sugar-free
  • Delicious flavors

Cons

  • It’s a complete protein powder but not 100% organic
  • Higher sodium levels – 390 grams in every serving
  • The amino acid values aren’t on the label

So How Many Protein Supplements Do Young Teens Need?

Today, the recommendation for protein for teen athletes is around 1.0-1.4 grams per kilogram per day [1].

This means they need a bit more protein than their peers who don’t participate in any athletes.

The additional protein helps to sustain their development and growth, build muscle and repair it as well. It also fuels intense exercises.

For instance, a 150-pound athlete should eat around 80 grams of protein a day. 

Recent studies have shown that teen athletes consume 2-3 times the recommended amount of protein per day in their diet alone [2]

The Best Sources of Dietary Protein 

The richest sources of protein are lean meats like lean beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, tofu, dairy product like yogurt, milk, and cheese, as well as lentils, nuts, and beans.

It might make sense that more is better regarding protein, but that is not true at all.

Studies show that eating extra protein produces gains in muscle mass, strength, or size [3].

The reason is that teen athletes need anabolic hormones such as testosterone and physical training. This stimulates protein synthesis and in turn, increases muscle mass.

The amount of protein teens eat is irrelevant if they don’t have the full protein regimen.

What are some of the side effects of teens consuming too much protein?

For young athletes, low-carb diets with high protein are not recommended. Too much protein actually causes problems.

Our bodies can’t store excess protein that we can use later. We would have to spend a whole lot of energy trying to process it, using up plenty of energy and water.

These are two important resources for athletes. Eventually, the excess protein turns or gets converted into fat.

When you have too much protein, you can experience nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Your liver can even get stressed as well as the kidneys [4].

Is timing important with the intake of protein?

Yes, timing is very important. The best way to consume protein is to eat small amounts throughout the day.

It’s efficient and effective. Watch what you eat as snacks before and after your exercises.

Athletes recover faster when they eat protein 30 minutes after their exercises. They should try and get around 20-25 grams of protein.

A 4-ounce serving of chicken, beef, or fish provides around 25-30 grams of protein, an egg will provide 6 grams of protein, and a cup of milk 8 grams of protein.

Are Protein Supplements or Powders Going to Benefit a Young Teen Athlete?

With all the hype there is today around protein powders and how important they are for athletes, they are partly; actually for the most part, not really necessary for young teens.

Yes, teenage athletes will have a slightly increased protein requirement, but they should be able to easily get adequate protein volumes from food [5] rather than taking supplements.

Did you know that protein powders are not even regulated by the FDA?

That means the powders might contain artificial sweeteners in them, plus heavy metals, and chemicals that young teen athletes are better off without using.

And then, of course, there’s the expense – they don’t come cheap.

So Who Does Benefit from Protein Supplements?

A lot of athletes have become vegetarians or vegans and are using protein powders.

Also, a lot of people who have certain medical conditions and who are underweight benefit from protein supplements.

This would be after they have established that they are not consuming enough protein in their diets.

Protein intake should also be supervised by a dietitian, nutritionist, or health professional if a teen is taking the protein powders for medical reasons or if they are a serious athlete.

What type of things should parents consider if they do want to get protein powders for their teens? 

We know that eating food is actually the best protein source.

But if your teen athlete does need a protein supplement, it can do a whole lot of good. But you need to do your research.

Look for the purest product you can find for your teenagers, supplements that have high ratings from the Clean Label Project or the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).

Strategies for increasing muscles mass and safe weight gain for adolescent athletes

The three top components for building muscles are calories, rest, and resistance training.

This is where brands selling most protein powders like performance lab protein powder for teens come in.

For your teen athlete, the Council of Sports Medicine and Fitness recommends exercises that focus on core strength, agility, and balance.

Actually, only after they have passed puberty should a teen consider adding muscle bulk and added boost for muscle recovery.

Increasing their calories intake in a healthy way

A teen’s calorie intake can be increased by about 300-500 calories per day with the right protein powder type and quantity.

  • To increase calories, here are a few tips:
  • Don’t skip breakfast
  • Aim to eat 5-9 small meals or snacks a day
  • Increase the portion size
  • Add things like nuts, and extra healthy sandwich, or a bowl of cereal before bedtime.

Teenagers and Protein

It is plain to see that there are definitely circumstances where many protein powders benefit teens.

Supplementation of protein powder helps make up the daily protein intake appropriate for teens especially when they are more active.

Typical scenarios where protein supplements have benefited teen athletes are when they are vegetarians or vegan.

They might also have diet restrictions such as food aversions and food allergies.

Or they might have weak and poor appetites, or they have a hectic school and sports schedule that makes it difficult to eat whole food options around the clock.

A lot of teen athletes find themselves in situations like this. So that’s why a protein powder drink in their diet can prove to be very helpful indeed.

Sometimes supplementing with protein can turn out cost-effective for the amount of protein that they need to consume as well.

Parents need to consider the cost of buying protein-rich foods versus making use of healthy protein powder supplementation.

Protein bars, for example, are a fantastic way to help teens who are on the go and a protein shake might turn out more affordable per serving.

We have already selected ten fantastic powers for your teen athlete to look out for and decide upon.

A good tip when selecting the best protein powder for your teen would be to look for the ones with minimal ingredients.

Sometimes you can get health products like protein powders that have plenty of ‘weird’ ingredients in them which are totally unnecessary and sometimes not even of the highest quality.

Whey isolate is the most popular protein powder on the market because it also undergoes a lot more processing.

This allows the protein content to be higher with fat and carbs to be lower.

This makes it ideal for recovery because it is the fastest protein to be absorbed in the body. It also has the lowest lactose content.

Protein consists of essential amino acids; the building blocks of all muscle tissue

Whether a teen is training or not, their muscles do need protein to maintain their shape and size.

And this doesn’t only apply to people who do resistance training. Teenagers are still developing – therefore, their muscles are developing naturally.

But to support their development, teens need to consume appropriate amounts of protein every day.

1) Weight management

Some teenagers have real problems controlling their weight.

This is the time when there are a lot of fluctuations in their hormones which can take its toll on their body weight management.

If they eat enough protein, it helps in a few ways. It keeps them satiated for longer periods of time, minimizing the chances of binge-eating or having cravings.

When they pair this with resistance training, protein helps them build muscle mass.

2) Brain development

The teenage years are some of the most important years when it comes to development.

Studies show [7] diet and eating protein as well as other things like sleep and exercise have an important effect on the development of the brain.

And apart from branched-chain amino acids helping with building muscle, they also make up neurotransmitters.

These help different parts of the brain to communicate with each other.

You can see just how a diet that is deficient in protein can have negative effects on the body.

Whether your protein comes through a balanced diet or by supplementing with protein powder, meeting the protein needs is a vital part of development.

There are Good Sources of Protein to Know About

Even though there is no doubt that you get excellent protein powders for teenagers, it is still believed, that in an ideal world, whole foods are still as wholesome as they were years ago and that everyone should take their protein from food.

But for many, that is not the option and people resort to supplements.

So that’s why we’ve presented you with 10 excellent ones that will certainly help towards supplying an active teen with the necessary protein.

But let’s look at whole foods as proteins to help you to know where else you can get your protein from:

1) Animal-based protein sources

Sources of animal-based proteins are:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Certain cuts of pork
  • Fish and other seafood
  • Dairy products such as cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, and whey protein isolate
  • Eggs

2) Plant-based protein sources

Both animal-based proteins and plant-based proteins are sources of protein. It’s just a matter of choosing which one you prefer to take.

Sources of plant-based proteins are:

  • Quinoa
  • Soy protein products such as tempeh, tofu, and edamame
  • Pseudo-cereals such as buckwheat and amaranth
  • Seeds such as chia seeds and hemp seeds
  • Pea protein
  • Lentils
  • Beans and brown rice protein
  • All types of seeds and nuts

Conclusion

 Teenagers all want to achieve that “extra edge” particularly when it comes to winning the approval and popularity of their friends and their peer group.

And when it comes to sports and winning, the pressure to win can often make the teenager vulnerable to the fantastic claims made by sports nutrition supplement manufacturers.

The Athletic Assistance Program (AAP) condemns children and adolescents for using supplements.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) condemns the use of creatine for kids younger than 18 years.

 The teenage years are very important developmental time periods. 

Proper protein nutrition and intake during the teenage years are linked to improved muscle development, better weight control, and increased brain capacity.

We have given you 10 top protein powders for teenagers, suitable for them because of their fantastic flavors, organic ingredients, and healthy doses of protein.

But all teenagers have different needs, so we have listed not only animal-based protein powders but plant-based ones as well. Both are equally as popular as the other. 

Teens do become easily influenced by their coaches, parents, peers, and personal trainers.

That’s why it is essential that the teen, as well as the parents, be provided with evidence-based information when it comes to their fitness and health.

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