Protein definitely plays a key role in a healthy diet: The essential macronutrient is a building block for our hair, skin, muscles, and bones. And while protein can easily be obtained through regular consumption of animal proteins, those who observe vegan or vegetarian diets sometimes have to work a little harder to maintain a healthy protein intake, since plant-based foods may not be enough to supply the actual amount of daily protein you need.
So, if you're vegan/vegetarian — and even if you're not — adding a protein powder to your diet can be very beneficial, especially since it's an easy and convenient way to ensure you consume filling meals and get all your amino acids.
Not sure which protein powders are best? We've got you covered: We spoke to some dietitians and a nutritionist about all the best protein powders that are both filling and nutritious. From grass-fed formulas to collagen-building options, here are ten powders totally worth investing in.
Image via Imaxtree
Aloha Vanilla Protein Powder, $30
"This is one of my go-to plant-based protein powders when I'm looking for an easy way to boost up my oatmeal or smoothies," says registered dietitian Gal Shua-Haim, MS, RD. She likes it because contains minimal sugar, has 18 grams of protein per serving, and even provides some fiber from the pea protein.
"This protein powder (which is available in four flavors) is a delicious smoothie ingredient, as it contains 16 essential vitamins and minerals, as well as eight grams of prebiotic fiber from sweet potato powder (prebiotic fiber nourishes your gut's own probiotic microorganisms)," says dietitian Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, founder of Essence Nutrition.
"I go to the gym five to six days per week and mostly do HIIT workouts (or other weight-bearing exercises), so getting enough protein to support my muscle development is key," says Diana Morgan, MS in Nutrition and Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs at Care/of. "I am not vegetarian or vegan so I choose whey protein, as it is the gold standard for bioavailability," she adds.
Noosh Almond Protein Powder Unflavored, $39.99, 15 count
"Noosh almond protein powder is a minimally processed protein powder that is great for smoothies," says registered dietitian Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN. "I usually recommend this product to my clients who are elite-level dancers and professional athletes," she adds.