Want to start using a vegan protein powder in your diet? Learn how to choose a healthy protein powder for YOU.
With so many options out there, it’s overwhelming knowing where to start. Use this guide to learn what to look for when trying a new protein powder as well as the best vegan proteins for women.
Protein powder isn't just for muscle growth.
Loaded with essential amino acids it's an easy choice for busy lifestyles.
However, there are a TON of options on the market. Do you opt for whey protein, pea, soy protein, or casein?
All with different flavors, profiles, and health claims.
So, it’s no wonder that women are nervous when learning to choose a protein powder best suited to their goals.
Why Is Protein Important?
Most people think that protein is just for muscle growth and workout junkies as post-workout fuel.
However, protein does so much more than that in our bodies. Protein helps almost every function in our bodies, not limited to:
- Healing our gut and boosting our immune system
- Replenish essential amino acids that our body cannot make
- Having healthy hair, skin, and nails
- Replenishing muscle mass
- Regulating hunger
- Boosting muscle protein synthesis
- Healing from cuts, scrapes, and bruises
Regardless of whether you choose whey protein or plant based protein, you'll experience mega benefits bumping up your intake.
On top of what protein can DO, it needs to be replenished daily. There are essential amino acids we can't make. As well, we can’t store all the protein we need.
Thus, we need to continuously take more in. Think of a large sink full of water… without a plug. To keep the sink full, we need to keep the water on.
How Much Protein Do We Need?
This is a bit controversial at the moment. Technically speaking, we only NEED about 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight.
However, this is what we need to SURVIVE, not thrive. In my experience as a Nutrition Coach, most people thrive and achieve their goals best with roughly 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
If you're looking to use protein for muscle growth, you'll probably want a bit more than that.
Now, obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. But in general, it’s a good place to start.
Do I NEED To Use A Protein Powder To Achieve My Goals
Absolutely not. So long as you’re taking in adequate protein and getting your essential amino acids, you don’t need a powdered version.
The reason most people opt for a protein powder is that it’s easy. Most pea proteins contain 20-25g of protein per serving.
So, having a scoop or so a day is a simple way to boost your all-around intake.
Plus, protein powder makes it easy to grab a bar or smoothie while running out the door. Basically, protein powders are quick fixes for everyday life situations.
Can Using A Protein Powder Help Weight Loss?
Yes! Protein is the macronutrient that keeps us full the longest because it takes longer to absorb.
The fuller you are, the less likely you are to snack aimlessly. Less snacking normally means better calorie control and thus weight loss (though you can learn more about the pillars of weight loss).
That said, there are lots of different kinds of proteins to choose from and each one will have its own unique benefits.
- Whey protein (very common)
- Casein protein (slow releasing)
- Pea protein (used in most vegan powders)
- Soy protein (controversial)
- Coconut protein (low carb)
- Hemp protein (great profile)
- Brown rice protein (used in most vegan powders)
- Plant based protein (normally a blend)
Easy Alternative To Protein Powder
As mentioned above, protein powder is not a must to achieve your goals. Or even to be healthy. It’s just an easy way to boost essential amino acids.
That said, many proteins do contain a lot of “extras”.If you want to cut out the middleman, still get your amino acids, and have a protein boost in its rawest form while still benefiting from the everyday convenience of a powder, choose collagen.
Collagen is a beneficial part of bone broth and is wonderful for your hair, skin, and nails. Learn more about collagen and why you may want to boost your intake.
However, unlike bone broth, it doesn’t taste like well, bone broth. Similarly, collagen powder is odorless and flavorless.
Plus, if ethically sourced is one of the purest forms of protein you can give to your kids! I grab my collagen from Perfect Supplements and while I love their big tub of powder, I love the individual packets even more!
I find collagen the easiest way to boost protein in smoothies, vegan yogurts, oatmeal, or any other dish. It blends and mixes well and there are zero flavors to it.
Plus, Perfect Supplements sources their collagen from pasture-raised (grass-fed) cows. So, I trust it. Grab some collagen powder and use code mamabear10 to save some money.
Whey Protein, Casein, Or Plant Based Protein Powders?
This blog post is formatted around the best vegan protein powder for women.
If you’re looking for more information about the differences between the kinds of proteins, Precision Nutrition has a great guide on the breakdown.
While all three proteins can be beneficial, you need to choose the one best for YOU.
Below are a few things to consider:
- Are you allergic to or avoiding dairy? If so, you’ll need a vegan protein powder. Given roughly 65% of people do not tolerate dairy well (source), you may want to consider a vegan powder if you'll be consuming it frequently
- Whey protein powders will bake very differently than vegan protein. Whey protein will absorb less liquid for starters.
- In my experience, whey protein is sweeter and contains more additives
- Most vegan proteins are a blend of brown rice, pea and hemp protein. Brown rice protein tends to leave a "chalky" taste when taken straight so pea protein is more common.
What To Look For When Choosing A Vegan Protein Powder
If you’re taking a peek at vegan proteins, you may be wondering what to look for! Below are the six things I check out when I’m considering a new one:
- The protein contents! Look for a powder that has at least 20g of protein per serving and all essential amino acids.
- The carbohydrate and sugar totals. Ideally, you want less than five grams of carbohydrates and three grams of sugars
- Make sure there are no processed oils in the ingredients. If you’re looking to use a vegan protein powder to boost your health, you’ll want to avoid ingredients like “sunflower oil”, “safflower oil”, “canola oil”. Learn more about the detrimental effects of seed oil.
- Fewer ingredients the better. Ideally, the protein powder you choose will have minimal ingredients.
- Sweetened with more natural options like date sugar, monk fruit, stevia etc
Flavored Protein Powder
My top three vegan powders are all vanilla-based.
This is because I would personally rather add the flavor than be stuck with it the whole time. Every so often I’ll grab chocolate.
But really, it’s much easier to alter a vanilla protein powder than it is a flavored one.
Plus, many flavored options have some funky ingredients in them to get them to taste that way. So, use with caution
Texture Of Vegan (Plant-Based) Protein
More often than not, the biggest complaint when it comes to a healthy began protein powder is the texture!
Because they are normally grain-based, the powders can be extremely “chalky” and absolutely horrible when blended.
The vegan proteins below do not have this issue. They definitely absorb a lot of liquid, but they blend into smoothies extremely well.
Don’t Forget To Pin These Tips On Choosing A Healthy Protein Powder
Wicked Protein Powder Recipes You’ll Love
- Peanut butter and jam protein balls
- Easy protein pancakes
- Vanilla protein bars with chocolate
- Fudgy protein brownies
- Protein granola
- Flourless peanut butter protein muffins
- Overnight cookie dough protein oats
- Chocolate chia protein balls
- Chocolate protein fluff
- High protein cookies
- High protein snack recipes
Below are my three favorite proteins for women! All three of them are vanilla-flavored though the brands do offer other flavors and I trust the brand.
So, if you want to go for a chocolate variation- do it!
Genuine Health Fermented Vanilla Protein Powder
I’ve been using the Genuine Health brand of protein powder for years and absolutely love it!
Why should you opt for a fermented protein powder? Well, sometimes increasing your protein intake causes some gas, bloating and constipation (great, right?).
At the same time, many plant based protein powder use grains that can cause bloat also (even if they’re gluten-free). Fermented Protein reduces the bloat!
Fermenting breaks down the anti-nutrients that cause bloat and irritation while making the protein more absorbable. It’s a huge win.
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- Blends into things really well
- One of the best tasting vegan protein powders (many can be “chalky”
- Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free
You can purchase Genuine Health Protein Powders on Amazon.
Progressive’s Fermented Vanilla Protein Powder
Another fermented powder. THAT’S how passionate I am about fermenting! This protein powder is very similar to Genuine Health.
It’s a blend of five non-GMO legumes, grains, and seeds. It’s allergy-friendly (no dairy, gluten, nuts, or soy) and is sweetened with only stevia and monk fruit.
And of course, this protein powder not only contains 23g of protein per serving, but it also aids digestion and helps keep you bloat-free!
Botanica Perfect Protein
This vegan protein powder is not fermented but it is wonderful! One of my favorites because it has just four ingredients. That’s right, FOUR. This protein powder:
- Contains 20g of protein per serving
- Does not absorb as much as the other two because it does not contain pea protein
- Is sweetened with monk fruit juice
- Non-GMO, dairy and gluten-free, sugar-free, pea protein-free, and more
Don’t get overwhelmed when it comes to choosing protein. Instead, take your time and find a brand that best suits your needs, beliefs, and goals.
It’s easy to get “sucked in”. But, if this is something you’re going to be consuming daily, you want it to be a healthy choice!