I know many parents raising teen athletes feel confused about what they should look for in a protein supplement and rightly so! There’s so many on the market these days!
So let’s break it down on the most important things to consider when making your purchase.
Here’s what to look for:
20+ Grams of Protein Per Serving
Teen athletes and adults need more protein than children, so aiming for 20+ grams of protein will help them to ensure they’re meeting their daily protein requirements.
Carbs 10 Grams or Less
Many protein shakes that have more carbs are an actual meal replacement and not a protein supplement. I like to keep the carbs down for my athletes in their protein shakes and powder so I can pair with a whole food starchy carb such as a banana or oats.
When choosing a protein supplement – keep it as clean as possible, you don’t want an ingredient list a mile long unless it’s plant-based and the foods are listed out.
There’s a reason many products on the store shelves state “Carrageenan Free”, it’s a thickener used in many liquid products and has been linked to cancer. Having a product that contains Carrageenan every once in a while is fine, but if consuming a product with Carrageenan several times a day… I’d switch up the product to be safe.
Whole Foods Listed Out
If you are choosing a Plant-Based protein powder or shake, make sure the ingredients are listed out so you know what you are buying.
Organic (if possible)
This ensures you are consuming a product that is not contaminated with a ton of pesticides.
Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Isolate means it will digest quickly and be available for energy. Grass-Fed is important because grass-fed cows are healthier and treated more humanely than factory-farmed cows. Quality over quantity.
Stevia and Monk Fruit are great natural sweeteners that won’t cause a blood sugar spike or crash, and they are easier on the gut. Artificial sweeteners like Sucralose and Aspartame can actually disrupt healthy gut bacteria and cause bloating and gas.
If you don’t recognize or understand some of the ingredients, place it back on the shelf. The ingredient list should be straight-forward. If you feel confused by an ingredient, break out your Google search bar to do some quick research.
Protein supplements can be an athlete’s best friend when trying to ensure they are taking in enough protein, but that’s what it’s meant for, to supplement – not replace.
Vanilla protein is a neutral option and is great for making your own unique and flavorful protein shakes!
I have a fun recipe for you to try with vanilla protein powder – PB&J Protein Smoothie.
My go-to pre-made protein shake is Creamy Chocolate Plant-Based by Orgain, it’s yummy, quick, and easy!
I also love an easily dissolvable unflavored protein like an unflavored collagen protein powder. You can add Collagen protein in hot drinks, soups, smoothies, oatmeal, and sports drinks. Plus Collagen protein is great for teen athletes to ensure strong bones and joints!
I hope the information in this blog post is helpful to you!!
As always if you need specific guidance for your athlete, schedule a Sports Performance Nutrition Evaluation. I’m here to help your athlete achieve their goals and dreams!