Portable, quick, and packed with nutrients, protein shakes are the ideal fuel for your on-the-go kid.

Protein is an essential macronutrient for people of any age. It not only helps the body build, maintain, and repair cells, but it’s also important for your immune system and all of the body’s muscles, including their heart.

The best sources of protein include:

  • meat
  • fish
  • beans
  • nuts
  • milk
  • cheese
  • eggs
  • tofu
  • yogurt

Protein requirements vary by age and gender, but a good rule of thumb is that kids need about a half a gram of protein for every pound that they weigh. For example, a 50-pound kid should have about 25 grams of protein each day. Very active children may need a little more protein, but they generally don’t need as much protein as an adult.

If you’re worried about your child not getting enough protein from their meals, protein shakes are a wonderful way to pack in some protein along with a bunch of other healthy vitamins and minerals. Making them at home is usually much cheaper than buying them from the store.

Try making one of these easy and healthy protein shake recipes for a simple breakfast or post-sports match snack.

Almond butter and banana protein shake

Almond butter is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber, and iron. On top of this, a tablespoon of almond butter has over 3 grams of protein. A small serving of cottage cheese adds another 7 grams of protein to the shake.

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen ripe banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese

Instructions

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Add a pinch of honey if it needs to be a little sweeter. Of course if you don’t have almond butter on hand, substitute for the more economical peanut butter. Peanut butter is also high in vegetable protein.

Pineapple coconut milk smoothie

Who knew coconut milk had so much protein? This make-ahead recipe from The Yummy Life blog is sure to be one of your kid’s favorite breakfasts. And with oats, chia seeds, and yogurt on top of coconut milk, it’s also very high in protein.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (preferably Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup frozen, fresh, or canned pineapple pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons honey or other sweetener

Instructions

First, blend up the oats and chia seeds to create a texture of flour. Then stir in the coconut milk, add the yogurt and pineapple, and blend. Add any desired sweetener to taste and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight to soften up the oats. Shake before drinking.

Orange creamsicle breakfast shake

This protein shake is great for active kids because it’s not only is high in protein, but it’s also made with coconut water. Coconut water (different than coconut milk) is high in potassium, which is an electrolyte that is lost when you sweat. Greek yogurt is extra creamy and also extra high in protein, compared to plain yogurt.

This breakfast shake also tastes like a popsicle, so it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup ice

Instructions

Blend the ingredients and serve cold. Add more ice if needed. Make sure to use pure coconut water without any added sugar.

Easy berry and tofu shake

Frozen berries are full of vitamins and antioxidants and one of the easiest fruits to add to a smoothie. Tofu provides some thickness and protein to the mix without changing the berry flavor. Try this simple recipe for a berry protein shake.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice

Instructions

Just combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Substitute the pomegranate juice for another type of fruit juice if you don’t have any on hand.

Chocolate peanut butter and soy milk

Just like dairy milk, soy milk has 8 grams of protein per cup, making it an excellent substitute. This smoothie really packs in the protein with silken soft tofu, peanut butter, and chia seeds, all of which are high in protein. More importantly, your kids will love it because it tastes like a peanut butter cup milk shake.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup silken soft tofu
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Instructions

Blend together the ingredients and serve cold. Yum!

The takeaway

Of course, you can always try your own healthy protein shake recipe by mixing and matching any type of fruit with protein-rich dairy or soy milk, yogurt, and tofu. Just remember to steer clear of too much added sugar including added sugar in the form of juices and flavored yogurts.

Protein shakes are wonderful on-the-go snack as part of a balanced diet. But make sure your kid is also getting protein from other protein-rich foods like:

  • lean meats
  • eggs, beans
  • nuts
  • grains