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Our hunt for the best protein powder for teens resulted in one of our most carefully selected lists yet. Highly active teenagers or those who engage in extracurricular sports likely have high protein needs, but meeting these needs on a teenage schedule with a teenage palate can be easier said than done. 

Obviously getting in the right amount of protein from whole foods is always the way to go, but protein powder may be appropriate in some cases. However, we can’t play as fast and loose with the quality of the brand we choose as we would with adults, since teens are still vulnerable in their stage of growth and development. 

RELATED: High-Protein Foods

With that in mind, you should always check with your pediatric healthcare provider before adding a new dietary supplement to your child’s regimen. However, our team of experts came up with a list of brands that are likely safe and appropriate for the needs of teenage athletes. 

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

Best Protein Powder for Teens

Best Protein Powder for Teens Overall: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

Good for: People looking for one of the cleanest and high-quality whey protein brands out there

Best Overall

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • High-quality whey protein isolate
  • 28 grams of protein per serving
  • 15 flavors to choose from
  • $1.99 per serving

Pros & Cons


  • High-quality protein
  • No artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or preservatives
  • Lots of flavors to choose from
  • Good customer reviews
  • Whey isolate may be easier to digest for some people


  • Price per serving on the high end

Bottom Line

Our testers love Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate because we know exactly what's in it, and almost every flavor we've tried is a 5 out of 5 on taste. Yes, it's a little more expensive than other protein powders but you get what you pay for.

In terms of whey isolate protein powder, this is one of the cleanest products that you can find, and it comes from a reputable brand, which is why we named it the best overall protein powder for teens. In addition to being sourced from grass-fed cows, their whey isolate is also free from hormones, pesticides, dyes, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.

RELATED: Whey Protein Isolate vs Concentrate

Transparent Labs also shows the weight of each ingredient it contains right on the label, which speaks to the brand’s name of transparency. If you’re a parent of a student athlete, this should put your mind at ease of what your teen is consuming, especially considering the protein powder is third-party tested by Informed Choice. This is also why we gave it a 5 out of 5 rating for third-party testing. 

Now, let’s talk about grass-fed whey protein supplements. The claim that grass-fed whey contains better amino acids than regular whey hasn’t been proven to be accurate, which makes sense since it hasn’t been proven that a cow’s diet can affect the quality of its milk. 

transparent labs whey isolate being scooped

So, if you’re looking for the best for your teen, don’t sweat thinking the best whey for them has to be grass fed. What we have noticed, though, is that grass-fed whey carries a significant difference in terms of taste. 

Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and expert product tester, confirms this sentiment and rated it a 5 out of 5 for taste after trying the Peppermint Hot Chocolate, a seasonal flavor. “It tastes exactly as the flavor describes,” Anthony reports. “All that’s missing is the marshmallows and whipped cream!”

We did give it a 5 out of 5 for formulation as the supplement only contains five ingredients but includes 28 grams of protein per serving. Transparent Labs products are expensive by market average, and their protein is no different as this one is nearly $2 per serving. Thus, we gave it a 3 out of 5 for price even if the value likely justifies the cost. 

See our full Transparent Labs Protein review for more details.

Price per serving $1.99
Servings per container 30
Protein content 28 g
Flavor(s) Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon French Toast, Strawberry, Mocha, Vanilla Peanut Butter, French Vanilla, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, Unflavored, Mocha, Blueberry Pancakes, Sugar Cookie, Dark Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Best Clean Protein Powder for Teens: Legion Whey+ 

Good for: Those looking for a protein that contains zero artificial ingredients

Best Clean

Legion Whey+

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland
  • Over 5 g of BCAAs per serving
  • Non-GMO and animal welfare approved
  • Third-party tested for banned substances

Pros & Cons


  • Low in carbs and fat
  • Natural ingredients
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Made with ethically-sourced milk
  • Lots of flavor options


  • Comparably high cost per serving
  • May be clumpy when mixed
  • Some flavors have mixed reviews

Bottom Line

Legion Whey+ is a clean, sustainable protein powder that also is macro-friendly and a great option for anyone looking for a clean protein supplement. Many of our testers have brought this with their own money because they love the taste and easy mixability.

Legion is an American brand that sources its whey from Irish dairy farms. One of the reasons I’m a personal fan of Whey+ from Legion Athletics is that they never seem to run out of fun flavors to offer. My personal taste preferences aside, though, as a registered dietitian I love that Legion has no artificial sweeteners, dyes, fillers, or other junk. 

A taste test of Legion’s Cinnamon Cereal flavor by our expert team gave Legion a 4.5 out of 5. This flavor delivers essential amino acids as well as a nostalgic taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and certified nutrition coach, tried it and says, “The flavor is there, but could be stronger. It’s like when you’re eating a freshly poured bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but the milk hasn’t soaked up the taste of the cereal just yet.”

He did, however, give it a 5 out of 5 for solubility as this powder consistently mixes well. We also gave it a 5 out of 5 for formulation as Legion always lacks proprietary blends and provides comprehensive citations of the science behind each ingredient they include in their products. 

A woman smiles while standing behind a bag and shake of Legion Whey Protein Powder.

We gave Legion Whey+ protein a score of 3 out of 5 for cost because it costs $1.99 per serving, which is pretty high by market standards. Though the best clean protein powders do tend to carry this price tag as you usually have to pay for quality, most teens buying their own supplements might have a tough time affording this one on a consistent basis.

Check out our full Legion Whey Protein review to learn more. Anthony even shares his protein French toast recipe, which is a tasty way to sneak extra protein in a diet for teens who are struggling to meet their protein requirements.

Price per serving $1.99
Servings per container 30
Protein content 22 g
Flavor(s) Dutch Chocolate, Cinnamon Cereal, Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cocoa Cereal, Cookies & Cream, French Vanilla, Fruity Cereal, Honey Cereal, Mocha Cappuccino, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Banana, Unflavored, Chocolate Hazelnut

Best Protein Powder for Teen Athletes: Onnit Grass-Fed Whey

Good for: Teen athletes who prefer to consume exclusively third-party-tested protein powder

Best for Athletes

Onnit Whey Protein

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sourced from New Zealand grass-fed cows
  • Made with whey protein isolate to filter out fats and carbs
  • Offers a complete amino acid profile
  • Website offers a subscription option to save money and auto-ship

Pros & Cons


  • Low in carbs
  • High in leucine
  • Whey isolate gets to muscles faster
  • Non-GMO


  • High cost per serving
  • Can cause digestive issues for some people
  • The Mexican Chocolate flavor has mixed reviews

Bottom Line

Onnit Whey Protein is a great protein option for those looking for a grass-fed protein, however there are cleaner grass-fed protein powders on the market that are lower in cost.

Onnit is an American sports nutrition company based in Austin, Texas, that is proud to provide responsibly-sourced products that are third-party tested. Given they also avoid using artificial ingredients, artificial sweeteners, additives, or fillers. Given these standards, this is why we named it the best protein powder for teen athletes. 

Former GGR Senior Staff Writer Amanda Capritto, CSNC, CPT, tried the Mexican Chocolate flavor and had this to say about the taste and texture: “It’s super thin, especially if you blend it with water, but if you use cow’s milk or oat milk it’s actually pretty rich. The Mexican Chocolate has a different flavor than other protein powders that come in chocolate, but it’s a good flavor.”

RELATED: How To Mix Protein Powder Without a Shaker

Based on Amanda’s feedback, we gave it a 3.75-out-of-5 rating for taste. We also gave it a 5 out of 5 for solubility. “This stuff dissolves almost too well, hence the thin texture,” Amanda reports. “But if you’re looking for a protein powder that gives you zero clumps, this fits the bill.”

A person scooping Onnit Grass-Fed Whey Isolate into a shaker cup.

We rated it 4.5 out of 5 for formulation as Onnit’s protein has some novel ingredients you don’t commonly find in other protein powders. We had to knock a bit off because there are only 20 grams of protein per serving and we’d like to see something closer to 25 or 30 grams of protein.

That said, there’s nothing artificial and, in addition to high-quality whey protein isolate, Onnit whey protein also contains digestive enzymes and even probiotics to support smoother digestion. 

It’s sweetened with monk fruit extract, a natural, zero-calorie sweetener. So, although it’s not a lactose-free product, the addition of digestive enzymes like lactase may be beneficial for teens who have issues digesting lactose1

Onnit whey protein is third-party tested by Informed Choice, which is excellent for teen athletes, so we awarded it a rating of 5 out of 5 for third-party testing. Last, but not least, Onnit’s Keep-It™ guarantee offers customers 90 days to try the product and if you don’t like it, you can keep it. So, there’s little risk in giving this one a try.

For more details, you can read our full Onnit Grass Fed Whey Isolate Review

Price per serving $2.00
Servings per container 30
Protein content 20 g
Flavor(s) Vanilla, Mexican Chocolate

Best Budget Protein Powder for Teens: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

Good for: Teens on a tight budget who need a bare minimum protein powder to meet protein needs

Best Budget

Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 25 grams of whey protein concentrate per serving
  • Available in 5 flavors, including unflavored
  • High-quality ingredients and third-party testing
  • Supports lean muscle growth and recovery after workouts

Pros & Cons


  • Non-GMO and gluten-free
  • Manufactured in GMP-compliant facility
  • Unflavored option only contains one ingredient, instantized whey protein concentrate


  • Whey concentrate may not mix as well as whey isolate
  • Flavored options are higher in calories than other whey proteins

Bottom Line

Nutricost Whey Concentrate contains 25 grams of high-quality whey protein concentrate, available in five flavors. It's gluten-free, non-GMO, manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility, and third-party tested.

As a leading supplier of dietary supplements to active individuals, Nutricost stands out in the market as an affordable and accessible option for sports nutrition. However, do you get what you pay for with Nutricost? To answer this, we had Kate Meier, GGR senior director of content, try their Chocolate Peanut Butter whey protein concentrate. 

Let’s start with the formulation. We gave it 4 stars out of 5 for the flavored version and 5 out of 5 for the unflavored version. Unfortunately, the flavored versions, including the Chocolate Peanut Butter, contain some no-so-clean stuff like artificial sweeteners. 

RELATED: Best Protein Powder Without Artificial Sweeteners

The unflavored version, though, only contains whey protein concentrate as its sole ingredient. So, if you want somewhat of a clean protein powder on a budget, it’s best that you’re OK with one without flavor if you are eyeing Nutricost.

woman mixing Nutricost Whey Concentrate into a shake

Here’s the problem, though, this protein is whey protein concentrate rather than isolate. While whey protein isolate typically contains 95% protein, concentrate can have a protein content as low as 50% to 70%2

Concentrate also doesn’t go through the level of processing isolate does to remove much of the fat, carbohydrates, and lactose, so those with lactose sensitivities tend to have issues digesting whey protein concentrate. 

That said, we gave it a 5 out of 5 for taste based on Kate’s experience. “Despite me not necessarily being a fan of peanut butter, I actually really, really liked the peanut flavor from the Chocolate Peanut Butter. It’s not too strong and doesn’t overwhelm the chocolate flavor,” she says.

We gave it a 4 out of 5 for third-party testing as, despite there being some testing, it’s not certified by NSF for Sport or Informed Choice. Finally, with a price per serving of $1.15 if you buy on Amazon, we gave it a score of 5 out of 5 for price since it is one of the most economical options on our list. 

Price per serving $1.15
Servings per container 25
Protein content 25 g
Flavor(s) Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Strawberry Milkshake, Unflavored, Vanilla

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Teens: 1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro

Good for: Vegan athletes who don’t have very high protein needs

Best Vegan

1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based and soy-free
  • Digestive enzyme blend for easier digestion
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • $1.83 per serving

Pros & Cons


  • Allergen-friendly
  • Digestive enzymes to help with digestion
  • 6 flavor options
  • No artificial sweeteners


  • Expensive

Bottom Line

1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro is free from most allergens and comes with a digestive enzyme blend to aid the digestion, decreasing the likelihood of upset stomachs.

1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro contains organic rice and pea protein to provide plant-based protein. The 1st Phorm protein product boasts being vegan-friendly, however it should be noted that the allergen statement on the 1st Phorm website also cautions that the product might have small amounts of milk, egg, soy, and wheat due to these ingredients being processed in the same facility. So, be wary if your teen has allergies. 

RELATED: Best Vegan Protein Powder

We had GGR Everything Lead Tester Lindsay Scheele try the Oatmeal Cookie flavor. “It tastes just like an oatmeal cookie and even smells like gingerbread cookies baked fresh on Christmas day,” she says. So, we gave a 4 out of 5 for taste. That said, Lindsay wasn’t too keen on the texture.

“1st Phorm recommends just 6 ounces of liquid for mixing, but I ended up adding 3 more ounces and using water,” Lindsay says. “If you use milk, your protein shakes are going to end up chalky and the consistency gets aggressively thick.” Based on this, despite Lindsay specifying it was easy to mix, we gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars for solubility.

woman pouring 1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro into water

For formulation, we rated it 3.75 out of 5 stars. Let’s start with the ingredients. The main protein sources are pea and rice protein. This is a great combo to have in a plant-based protein powder as it creates a profile of essential amino acids that is very similar to whey3

The plant-based protein also has a superfood blend extracted from over a dozen different fruits and vegetables along with ingredients from whole foods you’d often find in greens powder like wheat grass and even spirulina. However, this is a proprietary blend, so it’s unclear how potent the antioxidants may be. 

With all of this said, we knocked some stars off of the formulation rating due to the fact that there are only 19 grams of protein per serving. We’d like to see much more, but at least 20 grams at minimum, especially considering it’s a plant-based protein powder. 

RELATED: A Registered Dietitian Breaks Down Pea Protein Benefits

Studies show plant-based protein like pea, rice, and soy protein don’t absorb nearly as well4 as animal-based protein like whey or egg white protein isolate, especially when it comes to muscle growth. So vegan athletes may need higher doses of protein from these types of protein powder. 

Price per serving $1.83
Servings per container 30
Protein content 19 g
Flavor(s) Chocolate Frost, Vanilla Creme, Iced Oatmeal Cookie, Chocolate Mint Cookie

Best Whey Protein Powder for Teens: Sports Research Whey Isolate

Good for: Those looking for a whey protein that’s natural and not super expensive

Best Whey

Sports Research Whey Isolate

GGR Score: 4.68 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Whey protein isolate
  • 25 g of protein per serving
  • Available in chocolate or vanilla
  • Informed Choice-certified

Pros & Cons


  • Affordable
  • Third-party tested
  • 25 grams of protein per serving


  • Only two flavors available
  • Our tester had issues with solubility

Bottom Line

Sports Research whey protein isolate has 25 grams of protein per serving and just 150 calories. It's third-party tested, too. Although there are only two flavors available, our testers think it's worth a try.

At GGR, we’ve tried Sports Research Whey Protein Isolate in the past and it’s definitely well-liked among the team. It’s great for protein shakes and, if you have a teen athlete trying to increase their body weight, this is a great product to have on hand. 

When we made our list of Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain, we named Sports Research Whey Protein the best protein powder for weight gain. The protein powder contains 140 calories per serving with a substantial macronutrient content as it contains more fat and carbohydrates than most other whey protein isolates. 

That said, the ingredient list is quite short, with natural flavors, and the powder is non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free. Sports Research also lists the full content of the essential amino acids the dietary supplement contains. There are also 25 grams of protein, which we liked, so we rated it a 4.5 out of 5 for formulation. 

We had GGR Performance Editor Anthony O’Reilly, CNC, CPT, try the Chocolate flavor. “It tasted like instant hot cocoa, which isn’t a bad thing!” Anthony says. “I wouldn’t mind having this at a bonfire with some marshmallows. It’s also free of that protein aftertaste.” Anthony also reports no unpleasant side effects like bloating or a sour stomach. 

Scooping Sports Research Whey Protein into Blender bottle

RELATED: Protein Bar vs Shake

The rave reviews Anthony gave for taste didn’t transfer to solubility, though, for which we gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Anthony comments, “Even if you shake it extra well, there’s still a lot of clumping. What you do manage to get mixed is smooth, though, so at least it was good texture-wise.”

This whey isolate is also third-party tested by Informed Choice, which earns it a 5 out of 5 for third-party testing. Finally, Sports Research Whey Isolate will run you about $1.31 per serving when you get it on Amazon, which is pretty stinking good for a third-party tested whey isolate made with natural ingredients. So we gave it a 5 out of 5 in that category.  

Price per serving $1.31
Servings per container 26
Protein content 25 g
Flavor(s) Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate

How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Powder for Teens

When making recommendations for protein powder for teens, the team at GGR took extra care to choose responsibly, given that more care should be taken in supplementation regimens for those who are not yet adults. So, below is the criteria we used to make our list:


First and foremost, for any parents reading, you know that the difficulty in getting kids to consume anything remotely healthy can’t be understated. While this isn’t true for all teens, we’re sure most agree that choosing a supplement that’s great tasting is the best way to help a teen to meet their daily protein needs. 

RELATED: Best-Tasting Protein Powder

So, we wanted to pick out protein powders that had a pleasant enough taste that teens would be able to enjoy them consistently if they planned on using protein supplements long term. 


Not all teens are getting an allowance to just buy whatever sports nutrition supplements they want. For teens trying to increase protein intake, even protein-rich foods can get expensive, especially if they are high-quality, complete protein sources like seafood and lean beef.

Lindsay Scheele, CPT, drinking XWERKS Grow.

So, given protein powder can be a more economical way to provide the protein the body needs, choosing one that fits easily into a teen’s budget can be very helpful. 

Third-Party Testing

Third-party testing is always something that should be a priority if budgets and availability allow. Adulterated supplements that could be contaminated with chemicals not listed on the ingredient label are a real possibility and consumption of these could be disastrous for underage athletes. 

This may come as a surprise, but there are some teen athletes who do quietly use banned substances such as anabolic steroids, even if just for aesthetic reasons rather than athletic performance. Unfortunately, studies have shown that exposure to these compounds in minors can result in bodily harm and behavioral issues5, the latter of which we’re sure some parents don’t need more of from their teenager. So, unintentional exposure from a supplement that hasn’t been tested by a third party is something that should be accounted for. 

RELATED: Is Creatine a Steroid?

Benefits of Protein Powder for Teens

Does a teen need protein powder to build muscle mass or meet protein requirements? Not really. However, there are some cases where implementing such a supplement into the routine of a young athlete can be beneficial. Here are some of those cases.

Palatable Lean Protein Source

High-quality, complete protein sources like lean beef, poultry, and seafood may be difficult to integrate into the diets of young people who perhaps haven’t developed a palate for those foods yet. Though it’s important to get those building blocks in for growing athletes, sometimes it’s more realistic to meet their protein needs through more creative measures. 

That’s where a protein powder can come in. Something like a sweet, creamy, chocolate- or strawberry-flavored drink can be much more approachable for youth athletes, especially for consistent consumption.

Great Source of Calcium and Vitamin D

The reason children receive their government-mandated milk as the standard beverage in schools is that public health officials are aware of how very important calcium intake is for young people. Given that whey protein powder is made from this same cow’s milk, it’s also an excellent source of calcium that can contribute to a teen’s daily needs. 

3 kids sit at a table drinking Grow Daily shakes

Not only is calcium vital for the still-growing bones of a teenager, these supplements may also contain vitamin D. While many people know that vitamin D’s main function is to assist with calcium absorption, research is also beginning to show that getting enough vitamin D can help boost athletic performance6

RELATED: Best Vitamin D Supplement

Healthy Weight Gain

Some teens have a large amount of trouble getting enough calories or supporting proper protein intake to account for both their level of physical activity and the energy consumption that is required to support the rapid growth that is occuring in their body. 

Many teens are exposed to plenty of misinformation, particularly on social media, when it comes to the proper way to increase body weight or build muscle. Many mistakenly believe that eating highly caloric foods, even the junky ones, is the way to go. 

However, steering these teens to a high-quality protein powder to boost intake instead is undoubtedly the better way to get them what their body needs. 

Dosing and Interactions 

Given that most protein powders are sourced from whole foods, they are likely safe for most teens when taken as directed. However, if one consumes excess protein powder, they are more likely to experience whey protein side effects, with the most common being bloating, headaches, changes in bowel movements, and even acne (as if teens need more of that going on).

Protein powder, however, can be a great source of calcium and complete protein as long as there are no sensitivities to lactose or allergies to dairy. It’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider or pediatrician about potential interactions or side effects if your teen is taking prescription medications. 

One other interaction to be aware of is the combination of whey and iron. It’s imperative that teens get enough iron in their diets as their rapid growth and development also comes with an increase in blood volume7, which is doubly important if the teen has a high activity level and needs more oxygen availability to boot. 

legion whey protein pour

While plenty of iron can be obtained from food sources if the teen eats enough animal protein, it should be known that calcium, like that contained in a whey protein powder, inhibits the absorption of iron8

So, it’s a good idea to time that daily protein shake strategically around meals, rather than during them to limit the potential for this interaction. 

RELATED: Best Iron Supplement

All of this said, it must be stressed that any pediatric nutritionist will say it’s best that teens try to get enough protein from protein-rich foods included in a balanced diet first before turning to supplements. So, it’s not recommended to use protein powder as a meal replacement for teens as you don’t want too much protein powder displacing nutritious foods in the diet.

As mentioned, teenagers are still growing and need to make sure they are getting a wide range of nutrients, not just enough protein, to support a healthy immune system and thrive properly.

Third-Party Testing

Given that protein supplements along with other dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, you always want to be vigilant with the brands you choose, especially if they are going to be provided to someone like a teen who is still growing and developing. 

Looking for products that are third-party tested provides a level of assurance and safety that the protein supplements you are taking are as potent as it mentions on the label, contains the amount of protein it claims to, and is free from dangerous contaminants like heavy metals.

The heavy metals piece isn’t just a scare tactic, by the way, as it is commonly found in tested protein supplements. Among 13 protein powders tested in 2020, 40% contained heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead, according to one analysis9.

Woman drinking an Evolve plant-based protein shake

This is of particular concern for teens as their brains have not fully developed and many studies have shown that exposure to heavy metals, especially arsenic, mercury, and lead, in those under the age of 18 can have detrimental effects on neurodevelopment and IQ scores10

RELATED: Best Clean Protein Powder

It is also reassuring to know that protein powder brands claiming third-party verification have been cleared of being contaminated with heavy metals, banned substances, and other harmful ingredients.

In reality, even though third-party testing isn’t a requirement for those who just want to find a high-quality protein supplement, and teens aren’t likely to have to worry about drug testing, it is always a good idea to choose a product that has been tested before purchase to ensure that it is safe.

Buying Guide: What to Look for in Protein Powder for Teens

Cutting through misinformation and flashy labeling can be challenging when shopping for a protein powder for teenagers. However, we do have some things you can keep in mind to help: 

Clean Ingredients

In a growing child, it should be a concern to ensure they avoid potentially artificial ingredients or fillers that simply don’t serve their nutritional wellness. So, look for protein powder that has a short ingredient list.

Sugar Content

It’s not unreasonable to assume that teens are getting plenty of sugar from their regular diet. So, it wouldn’t serve them well to provide even more sugar from a supplement that’s supposed to help support their wellness. 

So, try to avoid protein powder that has too much added sugar. According to the FDA, a product is high in added sugar if it contains 20% or more of the daily value11. Look for this on the nutrition facts label and try to ensure the number is as low as possible.

Protein Powder for Teens: FAQs

Is whey protein safe for teens?

Teenagers may be able to use high-quality, third-party-tested protein powder under adult supervision and only as directed.

What is the right age to take protein powder?

There’s no clear evidence that shows the exact age that one can start using protein powder. However, if you are concerned if it is appropriate for your child, be sure to talk to a pediatrician.

Should a 14 year old take protein powder?

Under the supervision of an adult and using only as much as directed, protein powder is likely safe for a 14 year old.

What is the best protein powder for a 12 year old?

While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that those under the age of 18 get their protein from food sources when possible, here are some protein powder brands that may be appropriate:

-Best Protein Powder for Teens Overall: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
-Best Clean Protein Powder for Teens: Legion Whey+ 
-Best Protein Powder for Teen Athletes: Onnit Grass-Fed Whey
-Best Budget Protein Powder for Teens: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate
-Best Vegan Protein Powder for Teens: 1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro
-Best Whey Protein Powder for Teens: Sports Research Whey Isolate

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.


  1. Forsgård RA. Lactose digestion in humans: intestinal lactase appears to be constitutive whereas the colonic microbiome is adaptable. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019;110(2):273-279. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqz104
  2. González-Weller D, Paz-Montelongo S, Bethencourt-Barbuzano E, et al. Proteins and Minerals in Whey Protein Supplements. Foods. 2023;12(11):2238. Published 2023 Jun 1. doi:10.3390/foods12112238
  3. Joy JM, Lowery RP, Wilson JM, et al. The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. Nutr J. 2013;12:86. Published 2013 Jun 20. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-86
  4. Berrazaga I, Micard V, Gueugneau M, Walrand S. The Role of the Anabolic Properties of Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Sources in Supporting Muscle Mass Maintenance: A Critical Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1825. Published 2019 Aug 7. doi:10.3390/nu11081825
  5. Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA. Medical issues associated with anabolic steroid use: are they exaggerated?. J Sports Sci Med. 2006;5(2):182-193. Published 2006 Jun 1.
  6. Yoon S, Kwon O, Kim J. Vitamin D in athletes: focus on physical performance and musculoskeletal injuries. Phys Act Nutr. 2021;25(2):20-25. doi:10.20463/pan.2021.0011
  7. Mesías M, Seiquer I, Navarro MP. Iron nutrition in adolescence. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(11):1226-1237. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.564333
  8. Lönnerdal B. Calcium and iron absorption–mechanisms and public health relevance. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2010;80(4-5):293-299. doi:10.1024/0300-9831/a000036
  9. Bandara SB, Towle KM, Monnot AD. A human health risk assessment of heavy metal ingestion among consumers of protein powder supplements. Toxicol Rep. 2020;7:1255-1262. Published 2020 Aug 21. doi:10.1016/j.toxrep.2020.08.001
  10. Heng YY, Asad I, Coleman B, et al. Heavy metals and neurodevelopment of children in low and middle-income countries: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2022;17(3):e0265536. Published 2022 Mar 31. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0265536
  11. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Added sugars on the nutrition facts label. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-facts-label/added-sugars-nutrition-facts-label.

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Does Kiala Greens live up to the TikTok hype? Find out in our Kiala Greens review from a certified nutrition coach. Read more

Best Supplements for Muscle Growth 2024: Protein, Carb Powder, Mass Gainer, and More Cover Image
Best Supplements for Muscle Growth 2024: Protein, Carb Powder, Mass Gainer, and More

Here are the best supplements for muscle growth, including protein, creatine, mass gainer, and carb powder hand-selected by trainers. Read more

Schwinn AD7 Review (2024): A Smooth And Quiet Air Bike Cover Image
Schwinn AD7 Review (2024): A Smooth And Quiet Air Bike

Our Schwinn AD7 review takes an in-depth look at the highest-end model in the Schwinn Airdyne roundup. Read more