Raise your hand if you’re a vegan who’s sick of people asking you how you get enough protein. Same.
Even though there are *plenty* of ways to get protein on a plant-based diet, vegan protein powder can help you meet your needs in a pinch.
And, yes, dietitians say they’re legit. “Some misconceptions about vegan protein powders are that they don’t provide enough protein, and that they won’t keep you full,” says Carolyn Brown, RD, dietitian at Foodtrainers in New York City.
However, today’s vegan protein powders do both. First of all, many vegan powders contain 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving, which is totally on par with most popular whey protein powders, according to Brown. (Btw: If you’re wondering whether whey protein is vegan, the answer is a huge no. “Whey protein is one of the primary proteins found in dairy products,” says nutritionist Charlotte Martin, RDN, CPT.)
Many plant-based powders also provide some fiber, which helps them keep you fuller, longer–and boosts their nutritional value, adds dietitian Priya Khorana, RD.
Oh, and about that flavor issue. While vegan proteins long had a rep for tasting pretty revolting, times have changed. “Many newer proteins come in flavors like salted caramel, coconut, or even chai,” says dietitian Andy Bellatti, RD. These days, popular powders are made from hemp, brown rice, or pea protein. Not just soy.
When hunting for vegan protein powder, consider these three major factors: protein content, types of proteins used, and sweeteners. First, Martin looking for a powder that contains at least 15 to 20 grams of protein per serving.
Then, since most plant-based protein sources are “incomplete” (meaning they don’t contain all of–or enough of–all nine essential amino acids) on their own, opt for a protein powder made out of multiple sources, Martin says. Combining different proteins ensures your powder provides all of the aminos your body needs.
Finally, limit any added sugar to five grams per serving, max. “I steer clear of artificial sweeteners, since some research suggests they may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria, and appetite,” says Martin. Instead, opt for natural, zero-calorie sweeteners (like stevia or monk fruit).
Whether you’re spiking your smoothies, iced coffee, or pancake mix, today’s vegan protein powders are better than ever–and totally worth your while, whether you’re a carnivore or not.
“This is one of the best-tasting plant-based protein powders I’ve ever tried,” says Martin. “A blend of pea, flax, quinoa, pumpkin seed, and chia seed proteins, it’s “
Plus, it contains heart-healthy fats and two grams of fiber per serving.
Per serving: 170 calories, 6 g fat (4 g sat), 9 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 190 mg sodium, 20 g protein
“This quality blend of pea, navy bean, sprouted lentil bean, sprouted garbanzo bean, and cranberry seed proteins provides over five grams of BCAAs, which help boost muscle growth,” says Martin.
It also packs , which keep the immune system and gut strong, and turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Per serving: 170 calories, 3 g fat (1 g sat), 7 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 180 mg sodium, 30 g protein
In to being added sugar-free, Ora’s plant-based protein packs digestive enzymes and a superfood blend that includes , which feed the healthy in the gut, says Martin. Plus, the chocolate flavor is silky smooth.
Per serving: 130 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g sat), 5 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 1.8 g fiber, 390 mg sodium, 22 g protein
“This powder gets its protein from a variety of sprouted, gluten-free grains and seeds,” says nutritionist Kelly Jones, RD.(Research suggests sprouted grains may improve absorption of protein and other micronutrients.)
“This powder also contains both digestive enzymes and probiotics to further support gut health,” Jones adds.
Per serving: 110 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g sat), 2 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 180 mg sodium, 22 g protein
“A colleague who works with professional athletes turned me on to this vegan protein powder,” says Maggie Moon, RD. “A blend of plant proteins from peas, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and alfalfa make it a complete protein source.”
This powder also has tart cherry for recovery, turmeric to fight , and to assist the gut.
Per serving: 160 calories, 3 g fat (0 g sat), 4 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 410 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 30 g protein
Two scoops of this plant-based powder delivers 25 grams of protein and zero added sugars, although it’s sweetened with stevia. Made from of pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, and watermelon seed protein, it delivers all nine of the essential amino acids, which Martin says is a must.
You’ll also get 7.1 milligrams of iron, about 40 percent of the daily amount for adults.
Per serving: 160 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g sat fat), 8 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 330 mg sodium, 25 g protein
A major perk of hemp protein: It delivers all nine essential amino acids.
“I love Nutiva hemp protein because it has 15 grams of plant-based protein and five grams of fiber per serving,” says nutritionist Jessica Jones, RDN. This one-ingredient protein powder also contains zero sodium, which is great for anyone following a low-sodium diet.
Per serving: 120 calories, 3.5 g fat (0 g sat fat), 7 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 15 g protein
Although not a blend of different protein sources, Ripple’s protein powder has a short ingredient list and is lower in carbs than many other , says Martin. It’s also free of added sugar and low in calories.
Per serving: 110 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g sat), 4 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 390 mg sodium, 20 g protein
“I love that this protein has added superfoods, which provide some health-supporting , plus digestive enzymes, which help you digest protein and fiber to minimize digestive symptoms like gas and bloating,” says Martin. (Good to know, since this powder is higher in fiber than most.)
Per serving: 150 calories, 3.5 g fat (0 g sat), 7 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 240 mg sodium, 22 g protein
“Sunwarrior’s proteins are a good value, and my clients like the taste, texture, and digestibility,” says Randall Evans, RDN.Made with fermented pea protein, goji berry protein, and hemp seed protein, it also contains MCTs, making it a good option for keto eaters.
Per serving: 100 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g sat), 2 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 18 g protein
If you sometimes get an upset stomach when you try protein powder, opt for something simple.
In this powder, “the only ingredient is organic yellow pea protein isolate, and you have no added flavorings or sweeteners,” says Amy Gorin, RDN, a nutritionist in New York City area. The tasteless powder is relatively low-calorie and blends well into any smoothie.
And, because pea protein is protein, it delivers all nine essential amino acids.
Per serving: 80 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g sat fat), 1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 230 mg sodium, 15 g protein
“With only 12 real ingredients in this protein, you can rest easy knowing that what you’re putting your body is made of only the best stuff,” says nutritionist Elizabeth Shaw, RDN.
Plus, it has amino acid profile and omega-3s (a perk many plant-based proteins don’t offer).
Per serving: 120 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g sat), 11 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 220 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 18 g protein
“Kura’s powders taste delicious and have really good quality ingredients,” says nutritionist Brooke Zigler, RDN. The vegan powder comes in three tasty flavors: Vanilla Bean, Sea Salt Chocolate, and Chai.
Per serving: 110 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g sat fat), 9 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 190 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 15 g protein
“The protein-to-calorie ratio in this powder is excellent,” says Suzanne Dixon, RDN. “Plus, it offers four grams of fiber, which is about 15 percent of your daily needs.”
Don’t worry, it mixes well, too, so it won’t be all grainy in your post-workout smoothie.
Per serving: 120 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g sat), 6 g carbs,<1g sugar, 250 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 20 g protein
“This has a great protein-to-calorie , very few carbs, not much fat, and tastes good, too,” says Dixon. The Creamy Vanilla Bean flavor works well with most ingredients, like fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds.
Per serving: 120 calories, 3 g fat (0 g sat), 2 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 390 mg sodium, <1 g fiber, 21 g protein