I have an on-again, off-again relationship with protein powders. During a deadline week when I have zero time for food prep, or on days when I need an extra boost of nutrition between meals, we’re hot and heavy. Then there are the other times where we don’t see each other for weeks. And that’s okay!
Protein powders are meant to be a supplement to—not a replacement for—a healthy plant-based diet, so this inconsistent relationship works. And while protein is invaluable for helping our bodies build muscle, repair tissue, and maintain bone strength, the truth is that most of us consume too much rather than not enough.
In addition to protein, high-quality powders contain trace minerals, vitamins, and sometimes even superfoods, and can leave you feeling sated in ways that green drinks or fruit smoothies can’t. But not all protein powders are created equal.
I always reach for powders with ultra-clean ingredients (beware of whey, which likes to sneak its way into many mainstream protein powders), and they HAVE to taste great! Thankfully, there’s no shortage of vegan options on the market that fit the bill. These are my 10 favorites.
Colleen’s 10 Best Healthy Vegan Protein Powders
Unlike many other protein powders, Aloha’s are sweetened with monkfruit and coconut sugar instead of stevia, which can be too sweet (or funky) for some palates. It’s also packaged in tin cans rather than plastic, making it a more eco-friendly option. And while every flavor is non-GMO and certified organic, Vanilla is my go-to.
- In Bloom
Whole-food vegan ingredients are the hallmarks of In Bloom, founded by actress Kate Hudson. I love that these powders are made with health-supporting herbs and other plant foods like reishi mushrooms, ginger, and dandelion root. The Green Protein Chocolate flavor gives a nice energy boost and tastes delicious.
If you’re looking for an actual meal replacement drink for those extra-busy times, Ka'Chava is for you. Besides a heaping helping of clean plant-based protein, you’ll also find superfood ingredients like maca, chia, and acai. Try my fave: Chocolate, made with real cocoa, creamy coconut milk, and a hint of cinnamon.
If you, like me, love a creamy texture, Orgain is your protein powder. My favorite flavor is the Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt, and you’d never guess it was made with peas and rice! Besides the rich flavor, it also happens to be organic and made with no added sugar. Win-win-win!
Ritual offers a variety of different scoop-and-blend shakes designed for different age groups. The Daily Shake 18+ helps build muscle mass and keep hunger at bay, with no added sugar, 20 grams of protein, and extras like iron and calcium to support everyday wellness.
- Sprout Living
Sprout Living is protein powder dialed up a notch or two. My preferred flavor, Complete Coffee, includes a five-mushroom blend of reishi, chaga, maitake, lion’s mane, and turkey tail, and gets a little boost from the addition of high-altitude coffee. If your mornings need supercharging, try this!
- 22 Days Nutrition
This 100-percent vegan brand makes protein powders that are loaded with amino acids to help build and support muscles, and packages them in sustainably produced, compostable packaging. I appreciate that, and the fact that there are just a few simple, clean ingredients. For a fruit-flavored boost, go for the Strawberry.
This multi-Veggie Award winner is the perennial favorite among VegNews readers, and one taste of the Chocolate and you’ll understand why. Vega also comes with impeccable vegan cred (the brand was founded by a vegan athlete) and is widely available at mainstream supermarkets.
The ingredients list of VeganSmart reads like a healthy vegan’s dream: quinoa protein, broccoli flowers, flax seed, aloe vera, and vitamins galore. The pre- and probiotics also support intestinal health, and the fiber is icing on the cake! The chai flavor is my go-to, with just a hint of cinnamon and cardamom flavor.
- Your Super
Your Super mixes do everything from boost your metabolism to support mental focus, thanks to superfood ingredients like green tea, hemp protein, and moringa. If you’re good on protein but haven’t been eating your greens, reach for the Super Green Mix, made with wheatgrass, barley grass, and baobab.