I have a 10 years old boy, who is a 'picky eater'. It's almost impossible to get him to eat any big meal during the day. He usually eats a small bowl of oats or toast in the morning, one cheese sandwich (or toast) while he's at school. When he's back home he rarely wants a dinner, all he needs is some popcorn or fruits while he's playing on computer.

He's very tall (compared to other kids his age) and skinny. After the summer I want to sign him for volleyball class.

I'm sure that he doesn't eat as much as he needs to. I am thinking about buying a protein powder, and make him one shake a day (preferably in the evening) to supply his protein intake. Is there any real reason why I shouldn't? I've read that protein shakes are not healthy for kids.

  • Can you provide sources for protein shakes being unhealthy for kids? I have never heard of that. It's protein, it's used on f.e. elderly people to increase hold good macros for protein if they're weak/sick.. I seriously doubt it can harm anything, except legendary protein farts(of which I am an offender)
    – cbll
    Apr 25 '16 at 15:10
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    If you increase his activity does he eat more? Playing computer games is sedentary and doesn't burn many calories, so his fruit and popcorn probably more than feeds his calorie use on computer games. If you increase his appetite with activity, you can introduce more healthy foods and vegetables establishing healthier eating habits. Apr 26 '16 at 6:23
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    Take him to see the doctor first. If necessary the doctor will be able to prescribe a much more nutritionally complete shake than a typical protein shake designed for muscle growth/recovery.
    – Andy P
    Apr 26 '16 at 12:03

Protein shakes are mainly based on whey protein, which is the leftover when milk is coagulated during the process of cheese production.

It is the same type of protein that you'll find in a lot of dairy products like milk, ricotta, etc. As such, there is no reason to fear protein shakes.

However, I am reluctant to recommend using protein powder. As with boys of any age, whether he's 10 or 100, regulating the diet should be the first course of action. While I don't have the full knowledge of what you've tried, and how long you've tried it, I suggest trying to feed your boy some smaller meals of high-nutrition foods, rather than resorting to supplements.

Because that's what protein powder is; a supplement.

It is meant to go alongside a healthy diet. Not to replace it.

Remember that protein isn't everything. He needs carbohydrates and fats too, and all of this is more adequately given by a meal than a shake.

So again, I recommend trying to feed him smaller meals of more well-chosen foods. Any dinner should consist of a protein (meat/fish/eggs/google-more), a starch (potato/rice/google-more) and vegetables.

If he can eat one salmon fillet, one potato, and a couple vegetables, that would be far more healthy than a protein shake for dinner.

If push comes to shove, at least make sure that he's lacking protein in particular. Replacing dinners with a protein shake can lead him to lack carbohydrates and/or fat instead, which in turn can lead to symptoms like chronic exhaustion and tiredness. So be alert, whatever you choose to do.

And if all else fails, go see a doctor.

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