March 25th, 2011
08:48 AM ET

Should I give protein shakes to my 8-year-old daughter?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Asked by Michelle, Kentucky

My 8-year-old daughter is about to begin the "Girls on the Run" program (a program where they train girls between third and eighth grade to run a 5K,) at her school. She would like me to make her the same protein shake after practices that I have myself after my workouts. (I make an 8-oz smoothie of skim milk, fat free vanilla yogurt and vanilla flavored natural whey protein powder. I do a combo of yoga, pilates and strength training.) I am not sure if this is something she needs or should have, nutritionally. Any advice or alternatives for her after her practices? She is convinced she needs something more than water because she does experience muscle cramps and has had shin splints before.
Expert answer

Hi Michelle,

I think it's terrific that your daughter is not only exercising regularly, but also thinking about good nutrition and how to fuel her body at such a young age. Without knowing more about her (height, weight) or the workouts (duration, intensity), I will do my best to give you a few tips. If her runs last longer than one hour, she would probably benefit from some type of sports drink containing 6%-8% carbohydrates and electrolytes during the run, particularly if she experiences muscle cramps. During runs less than 60 minutes, water is fine.

After a longer workout (over one hour), a combination of carbohydrates and protein in a 4:1 ratio is recommended for recovery. Your smoothie sounds like it has too much protein to meet this recommendation so I would take out the whey protein and add in half a banana for your daughter (You may want to cut back on the protein and increase carbs slightly too in your post-workout shake as well since you are getting protein from the milk, the yogurt and the whey protein powder.) The milk and yogurt are good sources of calcium, which is important for bone health, especially in young athletes who may be at higher risk of overuse injuries, and good quality protein for muscle building and recovery. Other good post-workout snacks include peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread, string cheese and an apple or orange, or yogurt with berries.

If it has been more than 3-4 hours since she has eaten, make sure that she gets a snack 30-45 minutes before her run. Fruit or whole grain cereal bars are easy portable choices.

As a young athlete, it is also important that she get adequate amounts of dietary iron and B vitamins. Fortified cereals and grains, lean red meat, and spinach are good foods to include on a regular basis. And make sure she eats plenty of vitamin C-rich foods too (citrus, strawberries, green and red peppers) to ensure adequate iron absorption.

Finally, make sure that she drinks plenty of water, as younger athletes are at higher risk of dehydration and do not instinctively rehydrate as well as adults. Roberta Anding MS, RD, CSSD, CDE, LD who is a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and director of Sports Nutrition at Texas Children's Hospital, adds the following suggestions:

Teach her to check the color of her urine in the morning when she gets up. If it looks like apple juice, then she is likely dehydrated and this may be the source of her cramps. If her urine looks like lemonade in morning, then she probably is doing fine with her hydration. Fruits, vegetables, milk and yogurt contain 80%-90% water -  think of them as time-released fluid. Also, since she is at school all day, have her "give you eight" which means eight big gulps of water every time she passes the water fountain.

Cramping is caused by dehydration and loss of sodium in sweat. So if her hydration is fine, then consider having a salty snack before her run, such as a handful of pretzels about 30-45 minutes before the run.

Follow Dr. Melina on Twitter

soundoff (953 Responses)
  1. KndnMile

    how much is a viagra pill viagra active ingredient is viagra government funded

    March 2, 2021 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mack Montemurro

    Hello there, You've done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I'm sure they'll be benefited from this website.


    March 6, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Clement Phelps


    March 6, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Ariel Rosenbluth

    I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site :).


    March 6, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Theo Widener


    March 6, 2021 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Michelle Warhol

    Good write-up, I¡¦m normal visitor of one¡¦s site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It's going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.


    March 6, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Branden Turnbaugh


    March 6, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Audrey Buzo

    I will immediately grasp your rss feed as I can't find your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you've any? Please let me recognise in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.


    March 6, 2021 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. jarge Playmn

    Share this article please! It's very interesting: https://dro4ka.net

    March 10, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. gay sex

    Hey there! I've been reading your website for a while now and finally
    got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout
    out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up
    the great job!

    March 14, 2021 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. erotic massage london

    Thanks so much for the blog post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.


    March 22, 2021 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – write a thesis thesis defense advice psychology thesis choosing a thesis topic

    March 23, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. JvbdCrulk

    https://essaywritera.com/ – best rated essay writing service essay about community service best cheap essay writing service best college application essay service

    March 24, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – help writing thesis phd thesis writing thesis writing service uk thesis database

    March 24, 2021 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. JvqqEncox

    https://dissertationahelp.com/ – dissertation support dissertation help online writing dissertations dissertation introduction

    March 24, 2021 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. jarge Playmn

    Порно Фильмы – Огромная онлайн коллекция с бесплатным порно видео и ежедневными обновлениеми на любой вкус. Русское, домашнее, секс видео зрелых, анал, красивые девушки, бдсм, видео молодых, жены, измены, сиськи и другие категории. Смотреть порно фильмы можно как на компьютере так и на мобильном телефоне!

    March 24, 2021 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Norbert Busack

    Usually I do not read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice article.


    March 24, 2021 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. GrvCrulk

    https://kloviagrli.com/ – buy viagra online without prescriptions https://vigedon.com/ – maximum dose of viagra https://llecialisjaw.com/ – discount cialis https://jwcialislrt.com/ – cialis and viagra https://jecialisbn.com/ – is generic cialis available in canada

    March 25, 2021 at 03:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. LmoppEncox

    http://essaywriteris.com/ – essay writers needed college essay writing company best writing services best essays

    March 25, 2021 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. BrfgMile

    https://ljcialishe.com/ – what's the difference between viagra and cialis https://cialisvja.com/ – how long does cialis work https://viagraonlinejc.com/ – how to get viagra sample https://viagratx.com/ – viagra pill for men https://buycialisxz.com/ – cialis for bph insurance coverage

    March 31, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – what is thesis in writing phd thesis paper thesis to book phd thesis writing service

    March 31, 2021 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – nursing thesis thesis writing assistance thesis help thesis editing service

    April 1, 2021 at 05:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Stunning young ladies in Peenya

    Thanks again for sharing a wonderful list. I was wondering u did not mention the most sought after terminology used in all the blog commenting articles.


    April 3, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – thesiswritingtob.com thesis topic thesiswritingtob.com thesis writing online

    April 8, 2021 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesisacloud.com help me write a thesis statement thesisacloud.com umi thesis

    April 8, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. teva pharms vardenafil

    vardenafil 40 mg https://vegavardenafil.com/ buy vardenafil over the counter online

    April 12, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. zithromax online pharmacy

    zithromax family https://zithromaxes.com/ azithromycin drugs.com

    April 17, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. can you buy viagra over the counter in canada?

    is it legal to bring viagra back to canada from mexico https://canadaviagrastore.com/ cheap viagra from canada

    April 22, 2021 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. FbsfEncox

    Mobic http://uspharmus.com/ – web medical information Protonix

    April 22, 2021 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RfvbZisse

    cheap real cialis http://cileve.com/ – paypal cialis brand cialis 20 mg

    April 23, 2021 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LhdvZisse

    where to buy cialis from canada https://asciled.com/ – levitra cialis cialis shelf life

    April 23, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. BbdfMile

    what color is viagra https://gensitecil.com/ – viagra 100 viagra blood pressure

    April 23, 2021 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil generic cost https://boxtadafil.com/ – tadalafil solubility tadalafil back pain

    April 23, 2021 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. houses for sale twin lakes idaho

    This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    April 23, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Used Forklift Repair California


    April 23, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Solar Panels Systems Near Me


    April 23, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. AbdgEncox

    canadian discount pharmacy https://canadianeve21.com/ Pilex

    April 24, 2021 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. LrbsEncox

    levitra coupon 2016 levitra tabs cheap generic levitra online

    April 24, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. FbsfEncox

    canadian pharmacy cialis https://uspharmus.com/ Tetracycline

    April 24, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. LhdvZisse

    cialis black https://asciled.com/ canadian no prescription pharmacy cialis

    April 24, 2021 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. trailer painting near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!


    April 24, 2021 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Lighting Riverside


    April 24, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RfvbZisse

    cialis netherlands https://cileve.com/ cheap cialis

    April 25, 2021 at 04:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. JbsdEncox

    Kamagra Effervescent https://onlinecanda21.com/ Atorlip-5

    April 25, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. BbdfMile

    viagra usa http://gensitecil.com/ maximum dose of viagra

    April 25, 2021 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. buy topical alprostadil gel

    alprostadil gel online https://alprostadildrugs.com/ how to get alprostadil injection

    April 25, 2021 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. AbdgEncox

    Voltaren http://canadianeve21.com/ Brand Levitra

    April 26, 2021 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. where to buy sildenafil

    buy sildenafil tablets online https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ buy sildenafil canada

    April 26, 2021 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. JbsdEncox

    drug prices comparison https://onlinecanda21.com/ Neurontin

    April 27, 2021 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. realtor agents near me


    April 27, 2021 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Leave a Reply to Camper Repairs Near Me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.