The best plant-based protein powder
Protein powder is great for anyone trying to build and strengthen muscle or simply increase their protein intake, but many options are whey-based, which is bad news for vegans or milk-allergy sufferers. Luckily, you can find a wide range of plant-based protein powders.
This guide gives you all the information you need to find the best plant-based protein powder. Our top choice is Vega Sport Chocolate Protein Powder. It contains branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) for post-workout recovery and gives you 30 grams of protein per serving.
Considerations when choosing plant-based protein powders
Plant-based protein powders get their protein from a range of plant sources. Soy protein isolate is about 90% protein with the bulk of the naturally-occuring fat and carbohydrates removed, though soy is a fairly common allergen, so it's not suitable for everyone. Brown rice is another great option, but some people choose to avoid grains, even though there's nothing inherently unhealthy about them. Pea protein is a common alternative, being both soy- and grain-free. Other popular plant-based protein sources include quinoa, hemp seed, chia seed, and other seeds. Many plant-based protein powders include a mixture of different protein types rather than a single protein source.
The majority of plant-based protein powders contain between 20 and 30 grams of protein per serving. Avoid any options that contain under 20 grams of protein per serving -- if you're using it for post-workout recovery, somewhere around 25 to 30 grams per serving is ideal. Of course, if you're drawn to a particular protein powder and it doesn't contain quite as much protein as you'd like, you can always slightly increase the serving size.
Most brands and formulations of plant-based protein powder come in several flavors, from basics like chocolate and vanilla to more exotic flavors such as sour cherry or cookies and cream. The flavor you choose should depend on your personal preference, though you may also consider whether you intend to mix the protein powder with other ingredients. For instance, chocolate flavor might taste alright on its own, but would be a terrible addition to a tropical fruit smoothie.
The majority of plant-based protein powders are sugar-free, but may contain either artificial sweeteners or natural sweeteners (such as stevia).
You can find certified organic plant-based protein powders on the market, which is great for anyone who prefers to consume organic foods.
Check out the other nutrition values of your chosen protein powder. Some have added vitamins and minerals or probiotics. A decent amount of dietary fiber is a solid addition, too.
Plant-based protein powder prices
It's best to compare the price of plant-based protein powder per ounce, since comparing tubs of different sizes doesn't tell you much about their relative value. Expect to pay anywhere between 60 cents and $2 per ounce.
Q. Is plant-based protein powder just for people trying to build muscle?
A. No. Although plant-based protein powder is great for building and strengthening muscles, that's not the only reason to use it. Many people use it to simply increase the amount of protein they're consuming if they're worried they're not getting enough. Protein powder is an excellent addition to a breakfast smoothie to help fill you up until lunch.
Q. What amount of plant-based protein powder should I consume each day?
A. Unless you're engaging in some serious workouts, the majority of people only need to consume a single serving of protein powder each day. Check the package to find out how much powder is considered one serving.
Plant-based protein powders we recommend
Best of the best: Vega Sport Chocolate Protein Powder
Our take: A rich chocolatey option that gets its protein from a blend of seeds and legumes.
What we like: Provides an impressive 30 grams of protein per serving. Pleasantly thick consistency. Gluten-free, sugar-free, and made without GMOs.
What we dislike: Can have a slightly gritty consistency, depending on how it's mixed.
Best bang for your buck: Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
Our take: An inexpensive protein powder available in four flavors, based around a blend of pea, brown rice, and chia seed protein.
What we like: Certified USDA organic. Gluten-free, soy-free, and sugar-free. No artificial ingredients. Includes seven grams of fiber per serving.
What we dislike: At 21 grams per serving, the protein content could be higher.
Choice 3: KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
Our take: A completely raw plant-based protein powder with a mix of pea protein and various seed proteins. Available in chocolate or vanilla flavors.
What we like: Made from high-quality natural, raw ingredients. USDA organic certification. The majority of buyers enjoy the taste.
What we dislike: Lower in protein and higher in calories than some alternatives.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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