Q: Are energy drinks recommended for teens?

Energy drinks are not recommended for teens.

Energy drinks are not recommended for teens.

A. No. Energy drinks are not recommended for teens or children. Energy drinks are those drinks that combine a caffeine plus a variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs (ginseng, guarana, etc.). The combination of the caffeine plus the additives, along with a potentially large volume of consumption is a recipe for disaster.

Sports dietitian Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD recommends all athletes, including teens, regardless of health and fitness level, should avoid energy drinks before, during, and after strenuous activities. There have been alleged deaths due to energy drink consumption when consumed before and/or during strenuous activity. 

Caffeine is not recommended for children and recommended in amount less than what energy drinks have for teens. While caffeine a primary concern, it is also the additional added vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs that have not been tested in combination for safety or for their safety in children and teens.

How much caffeine is safe? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under 12 years of age should not consume caffeine and healthy teens (up to age 19) are recommended to limit caffeine intake to 100 mg per day or less. As for healthy adults, the daily max is recommended to be 400 mg per day. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are recommended to limit caffeine to 200 mg per day or less. 

For teens looking to boost energy for workouts, try these tips:

  • Arrive to games and practices hydrated, See the hydration 101 handout for tips and guidelines
  • Have routine meals and snacks to provide a solid foundation of fuel that will provide the nutrients your body needs to perform at its peak, See the eating routine and snack ideas handouts for tips
  • Get adequate sleep each night


Higgins, et al. Energy Drinks: A Contemporary Issues Paper. Current Sports Medicine Reports. February 2018. 

American College of Sports Medicine, News Release, May 2018

Spring Dinner Solutions

If the spring sports season has you short on time for dinner, check out these tips and easy dinner solutions to keep you out of the drive thru. 

Roasted Chicken Wrap

Roast a chicken for dinner on a night where you have more time! Then the leftover chicken can be reinvented into chicken wraps, which are a great on the go meal! For the wrap: fill a whole grain wrap and fill it with chopped veggies, lettuce, cheese, and roasted chicken.


Taco Night

Tacos can be such a filling quick meal! To make taco night easier, chop up taco toppings ahead of time like olives, tomatoes, onion, and cucumbers. Then all you need to do to finish up dinner is cook up ground beef, chicken, turkey, or beans and season with your favorite taco seasoning!


Grain Bowls

Cook up a batch of your favorite grain like brown rice or quinoa. Then for dinner fill a bowl with the cooked grains and top with chopped veggies, grilled chicken, beans, avocado, olives, shredded cheese, salsa, etc. These can be taken with you on the go and the best part is that everyone can customize the bowl to their preference. 


Yogurt Parfaits

Parfaits can be more than just a snack! Have parfaits as part of an on the go meal. To make them portable, use to go containers for the parfaits. To assemble the parfaits: layer your favorite yogurt (opt for Greek yogurt for a higher protein boost), fruit, and whole grain granola. 


Food Safety Reminder

Last but not least, remember to pack your on the go foods with ice packs to keep the foods cool and stash the cooler in a darker place in your car, out of direct sunlight. Plus pack along hand sanitizer for a quick hand clean up in case soap and water isn't available when you are eating on the go.