If your teen is showing interest in muscle building and workouts, you may want to support them with a protein powders mix. The best protein powders for teens help build muscles by meeting their daily protein intake. Remember that the required protein for your teen can be obtained from a balanced diet and these powders come in handy if there’s a protein deficiency. However, it’s good to choose the right protein powder in consultation with a healthcare provider or nutritionist, who will assess your teen’s personal needs before recommending one. Meanwhile, I have consulted Jenni Hackworth, a certified yoga trainer and nutritionist, to gain insights into different types of protein powders to come up with the best list possible and a detailed buying guide.
10 Best Protein Powders For Teens
1. Best Grain-Free: JYM Supplement Science Protein Powder
If you like your protein supplement to have a good taste and texture, the JYM Supplement protein powder has to be your pick. Consumable with water, milk, and almond milk, this versatile grain-free protein powder is a combination of 50% casein, 40% whey, and 10% egg protein. This casein protein powder for teens promotes natural strength, enhances endurance and recovery, and boosts energy.
- Supports lean muscle growth
- Can be used before and after workouts
- Enhances muscle protein synthesis
- Gluten-free protein powder for teens
- Does not include a scooper
- May take a lot of time to mix with the choice of liquid
Review: According to a reviewer,”JYM’s Science Protein Powder is truly impressive. Being lactose intolerant, I’ve found no issues with this powder. While the macros are good, the taste is exceptional—especially the peanut butter cup flavor. What I found a bit off is the actual marshmallow pieces in it. Apart from that, it’s become my top choice for taste without any side effects.”
2. Best For Lean Muscle Mass: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein
The soy protein powder for teens from Optimum Nutrition is a good option for maintaining and increasing lean muscle mass. In addition, the product is banned substance-tested, making it a high-quality protein supplement. You can mix the powder easily to get the goodness of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).
- Can be used as a pre- or post-workout drink
- BCAAs support endurance and recovery
- Rich in glutamine peptides
- Available in multiple sizes and flavors
- Some may find the taste to be too sweet
- Contains soy and dairy
3. Best Dairy-Free: PlantFusion Complete Plant Based Protein Powder
This popular protein powder helps in muscle mass growth. It is entirely plant-based and offers 21g of protein per serving with a low-calorie count. Check out the video from this reviewer to learn more about this non-dairy protein powder for teens.
Also Recommended By: The PlantFusion Complete Plant Based Protein Powder has also made it to the list by Health Canal.7 Best Protein Powder For Teens 2023: Top Brands For Adolescent. Health Canal. https://www.healthcanal.com/life-style-fitness/best-protein-powder-teens
- No added sugar
- Suitable for sensitive stomachs
- Apt for those prone to milk and animal-based protein allergies
- Adheres to US FDA guidelines
- Kosher certified
- Third-party tested for safety and purity
- May have a stevia aftertaste
- May not have proper consistency
Review: A user writes,”Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein truly exceeded my expectations. With a high protein content and a variety of flavors, it’s perfect for my fitness journey. The results speak for themselves—improved recovery and muscle tone. Although the Vanilla flavor wasn’t to my liking, the other flavors and effectiveness make it a standout choice.”
Best For Lean Muscle Mass
|JYM Supplement Science Protein Powder||Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein||PlantFusion Complete Plant Based Protein Powder|
|Weight||-||32.06 Ounces||1 Pounds|
|Dimensions||-||6 x 5 x 4 inches||5 x 5 x 7 inches|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
4. Best Soy-Free: BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder
The popular protein powder by BSN does not contain any soy protein. Loaded with amino acids, it aids in muscle recovery in your teen. Watch this video to know about the tester’s experience and learn more about this protein supplement for teens.
- Rich in fiber
- Promotes muscle protein synthesis
- Available in multiple flavors and sizes
- Easy to blend
- May not be dairy-free
- May have artificial flavors
Review: One of the users says, “BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder has become a delightful part of my routine. Whether blended into my daily protein shakes or mixed with water, its taste and effectiveness are remarkable. It’s just a little pricey for me. Otherwise, it’s been a great choice for my active lifestyle.”
5. Best Chocolate-Flavored: Pure Protein Powder
Amino acids are a crucial component of protein powders, and this chocolate-flavored protein powder for teens helps ensure you consume enough amino acids. It offers two grams of sugar and 25 grams of protein per serving. This 100% whey protein powder for teens supports lean muscle growth. Use the versatile protein supplement as a pre- or post-workout drink, or take it between meals.
- Enhances vitality and strength
- Low-sugar formula
- Contains no soy protein
- May not dissolve easily
- May have a lingering aftertaste
Review: A reviewer mentions, “I’m quite pleased with Pure Protein Powder, as it effectively supports my protein needs. Blending it into protein shakes offers a satisfying consistency, curbing my appetite and aiding muscle recovery. It tastes really bland though. Other than that, it’s a reliable choice for my daily routine.”
6. Best Non-GMO: Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate Powder
The powder has been manufactured at an FDA-approved facility and has undergone third-party testing. Have a look at this testing video to understand how this protein powder works.
- Non-GMO product does not contain any gluten
- Contains 30g of protein per serving
- Does not contain added sugars
- Blendable with other beverages
- May be slightly lumpy
- Flavor might be a bit intense for some
Review: According to a tester, “Nutricost Whey Protein Powder offers impressive protein content, and I’m fond of the unexpected cookie pieces in it. While the consistency is slightly more liquid, which tends to foam up during blending, its benefits make up for it.”
7. Best Ultra-Microfiltered : GNC PP 100% Whey Protein Powder
The whey protein powder from GNC helps support your teen’s muscle recovery and growth. It is rich in ultra-microfiltered whey protein and has low carb content.
- Rich in nine essential amino acids
- Supports healthy metabolism
- Helps maintain adequate nitrogen levels
- Provides anabolic building blocks
- May be slightly lumpy when mixed
- Some may not like the taste
8. Best Plant-Based: Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein & Greens
This tried-and-tested protein powder from Garden of Life is formulated with plant-based ingredients including spinach, kale, broccoli, and alfalfa grass. The plant-based protein powder for teens is kosher-friendly.
- Gluten, soy, and dairy-free
- Helps repair and build healthy muscles and contributes to healthy digestion
- Contains CFU probiotics and non-GMO enzymes for easy digestion
- Free of sugar
- Certified by NSF
- Some may not like the slightly intense flavor
- May be slightly chalky
9. Best For Muscle Recovery: MusclePharm Combat Powder Advanced Time Release Protein
The protein powder from MusclePharm can be combined with other supplements, and is tested for banned substances. This vanilla protein powder for teens helps increase physical performance and improves muscle recovery and muscle strength.
- Contains a blend of five specific proteins
- Includes BCAAs to support muscle recovery
- Good option for athletes
- May require more effort while mixing
- May be slightly frothy
10. Best Low-Fat: Dymatize ISO 100 Hydrolized Whey Protein Powder
A protein powder with low-fat content, can provide up to 50% daily protein allowance for the teen with 25 grams of protein per serving. If you are looking to satiate chocolate cravings and meet protein requirements simultaneously, then this flavored protein powder for teens can be a good option.
- Less fat and sugar content
- Easy to digest
- Available in 12 flavors
- Gluten- and lactose-free
- May be sweeter than expected
- May be slightly foamy
How To Choose The Right Protein Powder For Teens?
Consider the following factors when choosing a protein powder for teens.
- Biological value: This value is determined by how easy it is for the body to absorb the protein. The higher the value, the better it is for muscle growth. Look for proteins such as whey and whey isolates, which tend to have a higher biological value.
- Less or no sugar: If you’re trying to lose weight instead of build mass, opt for protein shakes and powders that don’t contain artificial sweeteners, dextrins and branched-chain amino acids, as they can contribute to weight gain.
- Vegetarian or vegan: You will find many non-milk-based protein powders out there today for all vegetarian and vegan drinkers. Vegan protein powders for teens are made of plant-based sources of proteins such as soy or peas. Ensure that the powders adhere to purity and are a true vegan product.
Jenni Hackworth, Nutritionist, Sports Nutritionist, CPT, RYT200, a Colorado-based fitness expert says, “Always check with your teen’s physician before starting any supplement. You and your teen should discuss with the doctor what they’re hoping to gain by adding a protein powder to their diet. Together you can decide which supplement is best for the gains you want to see.”
Why Trust MomJunction?
Vibha Navarathna, the author of this article, has created this list of the best protein powders for teenagers after scouring hundreds of websites and user reviews. Keeping in mind your child’s safety, these products are shortlisted after in-depth research and product comparisons. Vibha has included those products that are formulated with high-quality protein and other ingredients. She also included a buying guide for your convenience. You can find the necessary information about these products here and choose one that would meet your teenager’s needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the timing of protein intake important?
Yes, protein should be consumed in small amounts throughout the day. If your teen is an athlete, ensure they consume it within 30 minutes of any strenuous physical activity. They can also consume it in the form of protein shakes. You can also prepare pre- and post-exercise snacks to ensure they get enough protein (1).
2. Who might benefit from protein supplements?
Teenagers who are underweight or have some medical condition may require protein supplements. Similarly, a teenager who is a vegan or vegetarian also needs a protein supplement to maintain the amount of protein needed for their body. However, they must consume the supplements only after consulting a healthcare professional (1).
3. Can I give protein drinks to my teen when they are ill?
One should consult a physician before taking any protein supplement. Your child’s pediatric nutritionist may recommend consuming protein drinks or taking protein supplements to speed up recovery in some cases. However, they are not meal replacements.
4. How much protein does a teenager need?
On average, boys need 52 grams, and girls need 46 grams of protein daily (3). However, the requirements may vary based on a child’s height, body weight, and the activities they take part in.
5. Can protein powder make my child taller?
Protein powders are just supplements. They boost energy and keep you active. Sometimes these powders act as the extra protein required for their growth when the protein from food intake is insufficient. When taken with other micronutrient supplements, these powders may influence a child’s height, but one shouldn’t expect drastic results (4).
It’s challenging for caregivers to ensure their growing teen gets the required amounts of protein and nutrition to become healthy, thriving adults. But thanks to the best protein powders for teens, such as The Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein for enhancing recovery and endurance, the Pure Protein Powder for lean muscle synthesis, and many others on the list, they can confidently meet the protein requirements of their child. Studies show that children have improved muscle development, brain capacity, and weight management with the right amount of protein intake. But before choosing the ideal one, ensure the flavor is palatable for the child, the powder is free from artificial sweeteners, and it has no side effects.
Infographic: Things To Consider When Buying A Protein Powder For Teens
Protein can be obtained from various sources, such as meat, plants, and poultry. However, protein powder can be a convenient and easy way for teenagers to increase their protein intake. So, if you’re considering buying one for your teen, check out this infographic for factors to consider before buying.
- Protein Powders and Teens: Are They Safe? Are They Necessary?
- Teens and Protein: How Much Do You Need?
- Age-related differences in height gain with dairy protein and micronutrient supplements in Indian primary school children
- The Effects of Whey vs. Pea Protein on Physical Adaptations Following 8-Weeks of High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT): A Pilot Study
- How Teen Athletes Can Build Muscles with Protein
- Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study