When most people think of protein supplements, they think of whey. While whey is one of the most popularly used protein supplements, it’s not an option for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Thankfully there are plenty of other quality protein sources that can be used to boost the protein in your diet. In fact, there are even plant-based protein supplements that taste delicious when blended with fruit, vegetables, Greek yogurt, and other healthy ingredients. Keep reading to learn about 5 protein supplements that are plant based.
- Soy Protein Powder
Soy protein comes from soya beans. This plant-based protein provides all sorts of vitamins and nutrients, including fiber, isoflavones, and amino acids, all of which are needed to sustain and grow muscle mass. If you’ve got a sensitive stomach, soy protein is a wise option as its easily digestible and is gluten and lactose-free. Most soy protein powder supplements offer around 23 grams of protein per 28 grams.
- Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein powder lacks certain amino acids, but it’s a great option for people who are allergic to soy or lactose intolerant. This type of protein is full of fiber and tends to produce thick filling shakes. Aside from protein content, peas have also been proven to reduce the risk of kidney disease and hypertension. To ensure a full amino acid profile, be sure to combine pea protein with another protein source like quinoa, or legumes like peanuts or chickpeas.
- Hemp Protein
These tiny seeds pack a protein punch. In fact, three tablespoons of hemp seeds provides 15 grams of protein! Hemp seed protein powder is easily digestible and offers essential amino acids. If you prefer to drink protein before working out, this is the protein to use as it’s unlikely to cause stomach or digestive issues. Hemp seeds offer a variety of health benefits including:
- Improved immune system
- Weight management
- Reduced risk of headaches and anemia
- Aids in digestive issues
- Strengthens bones
Hemp seed protein is higher in calories than most powders because of its high-fat content. But, if you’re looking to bulk and add mass, hemp seed is an easy way to boost your caloric consumption.
- Brown Rice Protein Isolate
Brown rice protein is another plant-based protein supplement that doesn’t offer a full amino acid profile. Brown rice protein is high in methionine but doesn’t offer important short-chain amino acids such as histidine and threonine. This type of protein can be a little grainy and is best mixed using a blender. You’ll want to mix another protein source with brown rice protein to ensure you’re taking in all of the amino acids that you need to maintain and repair your muscle mass.
- Pumpkin Protein
Pumpkin protein powder is one of the newest additions to the protein family. Pumpkin protein is full of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese. It’s also full of omega 6s and omega 9s. This protein is highly praised for its unique taste and its mixability. Unlike other plant-based proteins, pumpkin protein doesn’t have a strong aftertaste. This protein is the ideal option when you’ve got a sweet tooth. Add some pumpkin pie spice and almond milk and you’ve got dessert in protein shake form!
Choosing the Right Protein
No two protein powders are the same. When choosing a plant-based protein, there are some considerations to keep in mind. First, you want to take a close look at the ingredient list. It’s best to avoid ingredients such as added sugar, artificial sweeteners, thickeners or stabilizers, and artificial colors and flavors. Studying the ingredients list will ensure that the powder you choose isn’t full of allergenic or potentially harmful ingredients. Look for protein powders that are fortified with superfoods and vitamins to boost your health.
While ingredients are important, taste is also worth considering. You want to find a protein powder that impresses your taste buds day in and day out. Most companies sell single-serve packets which lets you taste the protein without risking spending money on protein that you don’t like. Shop around and find a protein that you enjoy. Of course, don’t rule out the idea of adding fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients, such as Greek yogurt, to transform a bland protein powder into a delicious smoothie.
Last but not least, ensure you’re drinking a complete protein. Some plant proteins such as pea and brown rice aren’t complete proteins. In this case, it’s important to mix proteins to get the full amino acid profile that you need.
Don’t let your dietary choices or limitations keep you from maintaining or building muscle mass. With the 8 plant-based protein powder options above, you can ensure you’re getting enough protein each day while also enjoying the dozens of vitamins and nutrients that these plants offer. Was this article helpful? Leave us a comment in the section below.