Protein shakes are a good way for children, particularly picky eaters, to get adequate protein and other nutrients in their diet. Protein shakes are easy to make, delicious and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Children need protein to help them grow, repair muscle, create enzymes, regulate ph in the blood, control metabolism and build immune systems, but they do not need a huge extra dose of protein. Two to three servings per day is adequate, a serving being two to three ounces of meat, soy, a half cup of beans or two tablespoons peanut butter.
Protein shakes need a liquid base. Milk, soy milk or fruit juices not only add extra nutrition to the shake, but also taste great when combined with the other ingredients. It is important to match the fruit juice to the fruit that will be used later during the shake making process. Because of the added sugar, fruit juices should be used in moderation. Begin with one cup liquid per shake being made; feel free to add extra liquid as the shake is prepared as necessary.
A wide variety of fruits can be used to make the shake tasty and add an extra nutritional punch. Fresh or frozen are ideal, though canned or bottled peaches and cherries are also delicious. Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, are a great option; they taste good and they are full of antioxidants. Feel free to experiment mixing and matching fruit.
The protein portion of protein shakes can come from a variety of sources. Plain or vanilla yogurt can add either a tangy or a sweet subtle taste to the shake. Yogurt also adds a smooth consistency. Two to three ounces of tofu per shake is another option. Any type of tofu will work, from silken to firm. A scoop of soy or whey protein powder in chocolate or vanilla is also an option.
A blender or hand mixer is essential for protein shakes with the best consistency and flavor.
Vanilla, almond or coconut extracts add an extra depth of flavor to smoothies.
Almond extract is great with peaches, while coconut compliments bananas and pineapple.
Vanilla extract tastes great with all fruit combinations.
A teaspoon of extract per shake serving adds an added sweetness.
References and ResourcesThe Benefits of Protein Shakes for Children
Healthy Food Choices for School Age Children