Children’s weight gain drinks and protein shakes make a lot of promises. They claim to assist children in growing or at least consuming the required daily servings of fruits and vegetables. They’re advertised as a simple way to increase a picky eater’s protein intake, as well as a way to provide all of the essential nutrients that your child is likely lacking in, all in the form of a lightweight, shelf-stable, and simple-to-prepare milkshake. It’s easy to see why harried parents would turn to one of these kid-friendly protein drinks. It’s not always possible to put a new, homemade meal on the table, and even when it is, getting kids to eat it is only half the fight. The packaging alone does not reveal whether these beverages are a quick snack, a nutritious meal substitute, or junky, glorified chocolate milk. The usefulness of kids protein shakes, like most things, is dependent on the situation, the drink, and the child.
Kids shakes often advertise the grams of protein they offer, with the implication being, the more protein, the better. Not so fast. While protein might be the buzzword it’s “one of the things that in the American diet we typically actually get in excess.” A protein drink can “serve as an insurance policy” in situations where kids are seriously lacking good nutrition, but most kids need, if anything, more high-quality carbohydrates, fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
Kids protein shakes may try to sell you on the number of servings of fruits and vegetables they claim to have, but there’s a major difference between eating and drinking a fruit or vegetable. Can we all agree is definitely hard getting your child to eat their veggies.
When a child’s nutritional shortages are more severe and consuming healthy meals is difficult, protein drinks can be a useful method for supplementing their diet with calories and nutrients. However, it’s best to entrust the decision to a specialist. Many of these beverages cost more than $2 per serving, making them comparable to your takeout coffee habit. You’re best off stocking up on fruits and vegetables and blending up your own smoothies if you’re looking for a cheap, nutritious, drinkable kid’s meal or snack. Hey introduce protein shake to your child at a early age, like that they get use to it.
By Danny Reyes