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7 Best Kids Protein Powders 2024

Tasty, good-for-them kids protein powders tested and reviewed by the Today's Parent team.

By Elizabeth Kadar
7 Best Kids Protein Powders 2024

Dobrila Vignjevic/ Getty Images

Whether you have a picky eater, a child who is struggling to gain weight, or a serious athlete, the best kids protein powder can help them get the nutrients they need when their diet alone isn’t cutting it. Of course, consult your pediatrician first, but we spoke with a registered dietitian nutrition to get the scoop on the healthiest, highest-quality and best-tasting protein powders for kids.

Read on to shop our picks, and if you’re expecting, you might want to check out our favorite pregnancy-safe protein powders too!

How can kids' protein powder be helpful?

“Protein powders may be helpful for kids who have increased protein needs, difficulty meeting their protein requirements through their regular diet, or for kids who have food allergies, dietary restrictions or preferences like vegetarianism,” says Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dani Lebovitz, a kids nutrition expert based in Franklin, TN, and the author of Becoming a Food Explorer.

She does, however, stress that before adding any supplements like a protein powder into your child’s diet, it’s important to consult with their pediatrician or a pediatric dietitian first and also assess their level of physical activity.

For kids who are already meeting their recommended daily protein needs through food, adding extra protein isn’t just unnecessary but can be harmful, “introducing health risks, such as dehydration, and placing unnecessary pressure on their kidneys and liver,” warns Lebovitz.

What to look for in the best protein powders for kids

The best kids’ protein powder has high-quality ingredients, the right amount of protein for your child, and is made without unnecessary additives. Consider any allergies and whether you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan alternative, shares Lebovitz. It's hard to reach excess protein levels with vegan options as well.

High-quality ingredients

When shopping for the best kids’ protein powder, “look for high-quality protein sources as the main ingredient that are highly digestible and a complete protein such as whey, casein, pea, hemp and soy,” advises Lebovitz. “Rice proteins may be a good option for those with food sensitivities and will be combined with other types of protein from plants, like pea protein.”

Minimal added sugar

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Lebovitz prefers unsweetened options that can be mixed into the foods kids already enjoy. For sweetened options, she likes protein powders with minimal added sugar. “Look out for artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose, sugar alcohols such as xylitol and sorbitol, as well as natural sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia if you’re sensitive to their flavors and side effects.”

Meets your child’s dietary and protein needs

Every child’s protein and dietary needs will be different. Discuss with your pediatrician first and read labels to find a protein powder that best meets your child’s needs. “Consider if the goal with a protein powder is to maximize protein and calories or just protein,” suggests Lebovitz. “Do you need an option that also offers essential vitamins and minerals or are your kids already taking a multivitamin?”

Best kids' protein powder 2024

Best overall

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, best kids protein powders Merchant

One of the hardest parts of finding the best kids' protein powder is ensuring your child will eat it. Hide it in foods they already love—they won't taste the difference. Lebovitz likes this highly-rated single-ingredient option because one tablespoon provides five grams of protein to any foods your child already enjoys, from oatmeal to smoothies.

"It’s flavorless, gluten-free, dairy-free, and free of sweeteners." We also like that it's made with high-quality hydrolyzed collagen peptides sourced from the hides of pasture-raised, grass-fed cows. It's great for hair, skin, bone, nail, and joint health too.

Pros

  • Added to foods or drinks your child already likes
  • Only one ingredient
  • Dissolves easily
  • Flavorless
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • No sweeteners

Cons

  • Some reviewers still notice a taste so it's best blended in flavorful foods, like a thick smoothie, as opposed to water where your child might notice the difference

Best vegan

Nutiva Organic Raw Hemp Seed Protein Powder

Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Raw Hemp Seed Protein Powder, best kids protein powders Merchant
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This certified vegan and organic Raw Hemp Seed Protein Powder is chocked full of benefits for little ones. In addition to a healthy serving of protein, it's a great source of magnesium, fiber, iron, potassium, zinc and omega-3 fats.

There are 15 grams of protein per serving, however, so you'll want to adjust the serving size depending on your child's age—it's a good idea to consult with your doctor first.

There are no additives or added sugar, and it's easy to digest for sensitive stomachs. Because it does have a slightly gritty and grainy texture, it's best blended into a thick smoothie where it can be disguised (we suggest starting small so they actually drink it), or baked into muffins, bread, pancakes or other baked goods where the texture and taste disappear.

Pros

  • Certified vegan
  • Certified organic
  • No additives or added sugar
  • Easy to digest
  • Great for adding to baked goods
  • Extra benefits, like magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy fats

Cons

  • Slightly gritty/grainy texture so it's best in baked goods, as opposed to beverages

Best flavored

PB2 Original Powdered Peanut Butter

PB2 Original Powdered Peanut Butter, best kids protein powders Merchant

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It's peanut butter (jelly) time. With nearly 15,000 five-star reviews, this popular whole-food dried Powdered Peanut Butter tastes just as good as the real thing—and it has 90% less fat than traditional peanut butter. "It's a great protein boost, offering three grams of protein per tablespoon," says Lebovitz. "It’s perfect for swirling into oatmeal or adding to a chocolate milkshake."

Many reviewers note the consistency is nice, and that it mixes well into just about anything. You can add a little water and spread it onto toast, make a delicious snack dip for apples and fruit, or whip up a kid-friendly favorite PB&J sandwich for lunch and call it a day.

Pros

  • Tastes great
  • 100% vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Non-GMO
  • Perfect for picky eaters
  • Mixes well with most anything
  • Clean ingredients

Cons

  • Less fat than traditional peanut butter, which may be a con if your child is struggling to gain weight and you need the healthy fat

Best low-sugar

Drink Wholesome Chocolate Protein Powder

Drink Wholesome Chocolate Protein Powder, best kids protein powders Merchant

Made with four simple ingredients, all easily pronounced, we're serious fans of this dairy, gluten, and lactose-free chocolate protein powder, which is great for kids with sensitivities or allergies. The main source of protein comes from pasteurized egg whites (AKA real food!), making it an excellent source of complete protein for everyone, parents and kids included.

We like that it's easy to digest and easy on the stomach, without bloating, constipation, nausea, or other nasty side effects. It's made without artificial sweeteners or stevia too and instead uses monk fruit as a natural sweetener. There are only 3 grams of total sugar per serving (less for kids, as they'll need much less!) and zero sugar added.

Pros

  • Dairy, lactose, and gluten-free for those with allergies
  • Additive-free protein supplement
  • Made and flavored with real foods
  • Easy on the stomach
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Available in several yummy flavors including chocolate, vanilla
  • Good texture and mixes well with most things

Cons

  • Expensive but worth it for quality ingredients

Best whey

Healthy Heights Grow Daily 3 Protein Powder

Healthy Heights Grow Daily 3 Protein Powder, best kids protein powders Merchant
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Developed by pediatricians, Healthy Heights Protein Powder is a trusted choice with rave reviews to back it up. It includes 12 grams of high-quality whey protein per serving to fuel growing kids and is clinically shown to help supplement nutritional intake, as well as improve caloric deficiencies as a result of high activity levels.

Each serving contains a mixture of micro and macronutrients to help promote growth in kiddos, including protein, carbs, calcium, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D, C, and healthy fats.

In a clinical study, Healthy Heights was shown to benefit most children ages 3-9, from picky eaters to tiny athletes. "We make smoothie pouches out of this powder, and we are beginning to see a dramatic difference in weight within 2 weeks," writes one happy Amazon reviewer. "Our toddler is more active, energetic, and overall looks healthier."

Another mom writes, "Our daughter was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive and after using this one time a day on top of her usual meals, she finally started growing and her blood work levels improved."

Pros

  • Developed by pediatricians
  • Clinically proven protein shakes for kids
  • Enhances growth and development
  • Helps with weight gain
  • Quality ingredients
  • Extra benefits, including healthy fats, vitamins, iron, etc.

Cons

  • Expensive, but worth it, especially if your kid needs help moving up the growth charts

Best whole food alternative

Tiny Sprouts Organic Hemp Hearts + Vitamin D & Probiotics

Tiny Sprouts Organic Hemp Hearts + Vitamin D & Probiotics, best kids protein powders Merchant
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If you're looking for an excellent whole-food alternative to protein powder that your kids will eat right up, Tiny Sprouts is Lebovitz's go-to. "There are 3 grams of protein per tablespoon that can be sprinkled on foods, and kids love sprinkles," she says. "It’s great added to smoothies, mixed into yogurt, and bakes well in quick breads like muffins."

It's safe for kids ages 6 months and up and has a full serving of probiotics added so that's one less thing you have to give them.

Parents of picky eaters praise this product thanks to its neutral taste, texture, and color. One serving includes 20% of your toddler's daily protein needs, 15% of iron, 70% of magnesium, and 20% of vitamin D. It comes in a travel-friendly resealable bag and can be added to hot or cold foods.

It's important to note there's no salt, sugar, or preservatives, and it's heavy metal tested by a lab accredited by the Baby Food Council so you can feel good about feeding it to your little one.

Pros

  • Full serving of probiotics added
  • Heavy metal tested for safety
  • Extra benefits like iron, magnesium and vitamin D for growing bodies
  • Free from all major allergens and suitable for lactose intolerance
  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Vegan
  • No salt, sugar or preservatives
  • Add to anything

Cons

  • Lower protein per tablespoon than some other options on our list

Best shake

Kate Farms Kids Nutrition Shake

Kate Farms Kids Nutrition Shake, best kids protein powders Merchant
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"This Kids Nutrition Shake from Kate Farms is a complete option for those looking for an alternative that includes essential vitamins and minerals in addition to 8 grams of easily digestible pea protein in each shake," says Lebovitz. It comes in several kid-friendly flavors, including chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, so you can choose your child's fave or buy a variety to mix things up.

We appreciate that it's made with clean ingredients and without artificial anything or any common allergens. It contains vitamins A, C, D, E, and zinc to support a healthy immune system too.

For busy moms and dads who already have enough on their plate, this shake is a super healthy and convenient protein option that can be packed in their lunch box, added as a base to smoothies, or sipped and resealed to finish later in the day.

Pros

  • Convenient, grab-and-go shake
  • No artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors
  • Tasty flavor options
  • Includes essential vitamins and minerals
  • 8 grams of pea protein
  • Clean, high-protein ingredients
  • Easy to digest
  • Ideal for kids with protein deficiency issues

Cons

  • Expensive, but a quick, easy, and quality option with added nutrients

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