by Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE


Have you noticed the emphasis on protein lately?

Should your teen athlete be consuming protein powder or shakes?

Regarding supplementation most dietitians will give you an answer something like this; “it is best to get your nutrients from food”. Of course that is the correct answer, after all food is the gold standard for nutrient delivery. However, it is important to provide real life guidance on supplementation, in this case protein powder supplements.

First keep in mind that food provides more than one isolated nutrient. Protein supplements are often isolated protein (one nutrient) and should not replace food but be supplementary to the overall diet.  Protein powders are not needed, but they may provide some convenience. Most protein powders come with a scoop; often ½ to ¾ of the scoop will provide 15-20g of protein – this is plenty of supplemental protein added to a regular diet (i.e. you or your teens do not have to use the whole scoop).

Supplemental protein does not make or break the athlete. The majority of sports performance improvement comes from the hours spent in training AND getting adequate sleep (often a challenge for this age group). The recommendation for adequate sleep for children aged 14-17 is 8-10 hours a night. Recovery after a game, or practice requires rehydration (water), refueling (food – carbohydrate as well as protein and fat), and repair (food plus rest or adequate sleep).

In terms of safety especially for growing teens and teen athletes, it is prudent to look for the NSP Certified for Sport® stamp on protein powders ( This provides a level of assurance that the products do not contain substances banned by major athletic organizations, the contents actually match what is printed on the label and that there are no unsafe levels of contaminants.

Research on protein continues to unfold. One interesting thing to note is the value of protein at breakfast, a meal often skipped by teenagers. Eating a protein rich breakfast will most certainly do more for a teen than a protein supplement! Pre-make this high protein breakfast to help get them (and you) a nourished start to the day. Adults and older teens can aim for 20-30g protein at the breakfast meal. Good sources of breakfast protein include; eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, lean meat, beans, nut butter and tofu. Think breakfast burritos, smoothies, overnight oats, or this BLT omelet on a whole grain muffin with a milk chaser. For more ideas check out (8-high protein breakfasts-teens).

BLT Inspired Omelet
BLT Inspired Omelet

1 whole egg (preferably omega-3 enriched)
1 egg white
1-2 tablespoon skim milk
¼ teaspoon dry ranch seasoning
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 slice pre-cooked bacon (cut into small pieces)
1/4 cup ice berg lettuce or spinach, shredded
1 thick slice of tomato

Beat together egg, egg white, milk, and ranch dressing mix in a medium bowl. Place a10-inch non-stick round pan on stovetop over medium heat. Spray skillet with cooking spray to prevent eggs from sticking. Pour egg mixture into warm pan. Leave alone for a minute to allow the egg to cook. When the most of the egg is cooked, sprinkle the bacon over one half of the eggs and fold the other side over carefully with a spatula. Allow the entire egg to finish cooking. Serve omelet with shredded lettuce and tomato.

Yield: 1 serving

Nutrient Breakdown: Calories 140, Fat 8g (2.5g saturated fat) Cholesterol 220mg, Sodium 320mg, Carbohydrate 4g, Protein 13g.

Plate Plan or Diabetes Exchanges: 2 medium fat meats

Serve this with:

• Whole grain English muffin and a cup of milk for a total of 27g protein OR

• One container of Greek yogurt and a cup of blueberries for a total of 28g protein

Make several of these ahead of time and freeze for quick protein on busy weekday mornings.  this ahead of time and freeze. Then simply thaw and add lettuce & tomato when ready to eat.

Until next time; eat well, live well


Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at To search for specific recipes go to You can also watch the segments at


This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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