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Old 11-11-2008, 11:28 AM   #1
James Neuman
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Protein bars for teenagers?

My son, who is a week from turning 14, is very skinny and has recently started to exercise in an attempt to gain a little size and strength. (I have him doing a mixture of bodyweight exercises, pullups and kettlebell things, but that's another story.)

When it came to diet, my general assumption has been simply to encourage him to eat the usual recommended stuff (fruits, veggies), as well keep eating the things he likes (pasts, meats). For above all, I want to develop good, lifelong habits.

But I wonder whether I am too dismissive of protein bars. Would there be any harm (or benefit) if I suggested that he have 1-2 protein bars a day?

Keep in mind, he is VERY skinny, and probably in the middle of a growth spurt.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:26 PM   #2
Chris Rebmann
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

I don't think there would be any harm in him having a protein bar but I would not have him eat multiple bars a day. I would say once he hits High School he would be ok to start lifting weights. What is his current diet?
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:33 PM   #3
James Neuman
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

He's already a freshman in high school (though younger than most, as he has a late birthday).

His diet used to be atrocious, but it's getting reasonable. He eats a ton of carbs (lot of bread and pasta), a fair amount of beef/chicken and getting better about vegetables (salads occasionally) and fruit (usually one banana a day).
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:48 PM   #4
Eric Kropp
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

I'm 16 and I've gone through waves of eating healthy and what not. If you look at it, using these protein or meal bars are a much better substitute than white breads and sweets. Their not 100% good for you, but it's still better than other things he could possibly be eating. If you want to avoid the bars, just have him make smoothies or shakes with whey protein. In my experience, I had more success using whey powder than nutrition bars.

Last edited by Eric Kropp : 11-11-2008 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:06 PM   #5
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

Starting Strength and GOMAD?
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:46 PM   #6
Jay Cohen
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

Meat Cookies.

You want your kid to gain weight, eat real food, candy bars(or what ever you call them) are expensive, most high in sugar, and wrapped in plastic with bar code, hence not food, but rather a food product.

Buy him some good jerky, or make your own, or Almond Butter with some dried fruit.

Tons of real food possibilities w/o having to eat processed crap.
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Old 11-11-2008, 05:04 PM   #7
Mie Yoshinaga
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

I would be more concerned about teaching a young person that food comes in a bar form. He'd grow up thinking that there is a substitute for real food out there. It's probably better to get him accustomed to eating real food, so that when he's older and on his own, he'll be able to make smart choices.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:30 PM   #8
Steven Tecson
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

it's also not too hard to make your own bars out of "more favorable foods"
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:59 AM   #9
Laura Kurth
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

I would discourage the protein bars also.

Dried fruit - if I was desperately trying to gain weight, I would attack a big bag of unsweetened dried apples, or pears or figs or... you get the picture, dried fruit is ridiculously easy to overeat (read: lots of yummy calories) and is still at the end of the day, just fruit.

Also encourage more meat consumption along with dairy if he is not intolerant. Milk is such an easy way to get calories and relatively inexpensive. Not to mention cheeses and whole milk yogurts. Sure, let him have the added sugar kind - he is desperately skinny after all!
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:20 AM   #10
Gary Ohm
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Re: Protein bars for teenagers?

I'm in about the same boat James. My son is 13 and in 8th grade. He wants to muscle up but his diet is not terribly good. I have been trying to wean him from sugars and juices and candy (thanks alot Halloween) and trying to get him onto real foods. He will actually eat some vegies and most fruits. He is no where near GOMAD, that's alot of volume for a little stomach.
But I did drop the protein bomb on him. I told him to shoot for 1g protein for every 1lb bodyweight a day. He did the math and discovered he needs to drink more milk, more milkshakes with protein powder, and eat more meat. My wife makes these awesome muffins with "any whey" so he gets a bit more there. He loves bacon so that is a help in the morning.
I think the protein bars way better than a candy bar or a fruit rollup. But I would not let him eat more than one a day as a snack. I have not delved into making my own protein bars but it is on my list. Jerkey is a good alternative but it is really expensive.
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