Protein is referred to as the building blocks of life. And, for good reason. But, what exactly is protein and why is it so important for our body?
Protein is a macronutrient that not only gives us energy but is also “essential to building muscle mass.” In fact, protein “makes up about 15 percent of a person’s body weight.” Alright, but what’s it made of? If we’re looking at the chemical makeup, protein is “composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, or sulfur.”
Why is it so amazingly essential for a healthy, well-rounded diet?
It’s not simply that protein is a key in the cog of your body’s chemical structure, but there is also a slew of health benefits that come from getting a proper amount of protein. These health benefits include management of hunger levels (better satiation), increased muscle mass, stronger bones, boosts the metabolism, helps burn more fat, lowers your blood pressure, repairs the body after injury and arduous exercise, and can even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Yet, there’s a common myth that you can’t get adequate protein intake on a plant-based diet. Not true! The plant-based world offers a slew of wonderful protein sources.
For those on a plant-based diet with a hectic lifestyle, here are a few vegan-friendly, protein-rich shakes to take with you on-the-go!
1. Vega Protein Nutrition Shake Chocolate
Vega Protein Nutrition Shake/Amazon.com
This Vega Vegan Protein Nutrition Shake offers 20 grams of plant-based protein sourced from peas, hemp, and pumpkin seeds in each 11-ounce bottle. This unique protein blend is rich in vitamins and minerals, uses real food ingredients from leafy greens, green algae, and vegetables, and is chock full of fiber and plant-based omega-3s. This protein shake is non-GMO project verified, vegan certified, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and is low on the glycemic index. A 12-pack of 11-fluid ounce bottles costs $28.99.
Susan D says “I don’t eat gluten, dairy, or any simple sugars. This is a delicious and nutritious shake without any of the unnecessary additives. They did a great job!! I wish they would make their nutrition bars just as carefully but they decided to add sugar to those (Why???). They got the chemistry right on this one! I hope it doesn’t change. After reading another’s comment I looked up the Svelte brand and they have cane sugar. This tastes great without having to use cane sugar. much better for those of us who realize that white sugar is a bad drug pushed on us by manufacturers to create addictions to their products. go clean. go vega!!”
2. Evolve Protein Shake Classic Chocolate
Evolve Protein Shake Classic Chocolate/Amazon.com
There’s lots to love about this Evolve Protein Shake Classic Chocolate besides the fact that its vegan-certified, non-GMO, and highly nutritious! This protein blend uses 100 percent vegetable-based and plant-powered protein sourced from 10 ingredients including non-GMO pea protein. You’ll get a healthy dose of 20 grams of protein, as well as prebiotic fiber, yet without the artificial flavors. A 12-pack of 11-fluid ounce bottles costs $26.99.
Sarah B says “So I’m venturing to find the best vegan protein drink that there is to offer (at a reasonable price) and this is the best one I’ve found thus far. The chocolate has a very smooth and light taste. Tastes very “clean” to me, if that makes any sense. It almost has some sort of “green/grassy” flavor alongside it. I’m sure that might turn people off from trying this drink but personally I find it quite pleasant. However I didn’t notice that “green” taste in the Mocha flavored. I would describe the taste as a basic chocolate flavor, not quite as good as their actual chocolate flavor but still enjoyable enough to finish off what I purchased. I would recommend giving this product a try. I can definitely say it is much better than the Vega bottled drinks. Those are SUPER grainy and make me feel like I’m just drinking down a bunch of powder. These Evolve drinks are completely smooth & tasty, so I’ll definitely buy more in the future.”
3. OWYN Vegan Protein Shake Dark Chocolate
OWYN Vegan Protein Shake Dark Chocolate/Amazon.com
This OWYN Vegan Protein Shake Dark Chocolate offers 20 grams of plant-sourced protein promising to “deliver all 9 essential amino acids and naturally occurring Branched Chain Amino Acids.” Along with protein, this shake provides you with fiber, vegan omega-3, and a host of superfoods including kale, spinach, and broccoli. It’s not only vegan-friendly, but also gluten-free, soy-free, peanut and tree nut-free, non-GMO project verified, kosher, low in sugar, and free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A 12-pack of 12-ounce fluid bottles costs $35.99.
JB says “I’ve tried all three flavors – Coffee, Vanilla, and Dark Chocolate – and all three are AMAZING! Husband and I love these for breakfast in the morning to grab and go. There are days where I’ll do one for breakfast, one for lunch. They are on point with Macros – the best I’ve seen for a plant based shake. There is NO chalky taste and they are perfectly balanced in terms of sweetness. I can’t imagine making these any sweeter. If you’re used to eating cookies and sweets all day, you may be alarmed these don’t taste fake like some of the other options out there. Please keep doing what you’re doing OWYN!!! Other flavor ideas: Strawberry, Orange Cream/Orange Dream, Caramel Latte.”
4. PlantFusion Complete Ready to Drink Plant-Based Protein Shake
PlantFusion Complete Ready to Drink Plant-Based Protein Shake/Amazon.com
This PlantFusion Complete Ready to Drink Plant-Based Protein Shake takes it up a notch, one in fact, and offers 21 grams of plant-based protein. This blend is amino acid-infused, includes digestive enzymes to boost digestion, is vegan-friendly, and contains small amounts of carbs and sugar. PlantFusion sources its protein from yellow peas “grown from the northern hills of France,” sprouted amaranth, sprouted quinoa, and artichokes. This shake is also allergy-friendly as it contains no dairy, soy, rice, gluten, eggs, nuts, fish, tree nuts, or shellfish. A 12-pack of 11-ounce bottles costs $37.15.
Courtney Thorne says “I was nervous to try these, I’ve had some pretty gag-worthy protein drinks in the past. This, however, was the best I’ve had. I was really impressed. I found out a year ago I have PCOS and have been reading a lot of info on avoiding soy and turning to a more plant-based gluten-free diet. So this was something low on carbs and a good change in the morning from not eating breakfast at all. The vanilla is great no weird taste! Thank you for making this!”
5. Tone It Up Ready to Drink Vegan Vanilla Protein Shake
Tone It Up Ready to Drink Vegan Vanilla Protein Shake/Amazon.com
This Tone It Up Ready to Drink Vegan Vanilla Protein Shake focuses on making you feel satiated, boosts metabolism, forms lean muscle, and increases energy with high-quality, plant-based protein. Each shake offers 10 grams of protein sourced from essential ingredients. Two 8-fluid ounce bottles cost $9.99.
NM Lady says “Got this for my mom to drink after recent surgery. She is a chocolate lover, and she loved it! Would buy again!”
6. Ripple Vegan Protein Shake
Ripple Vegan Protein Shake/Amazon.com
Ripple is well known for its pea-based milk and yogurts and now they offer protein shakes! This Ripple Vegan Protein Shake offers 20 grams of protein in each bottle sourced from Ripptein, “Ripple’s proprietary ultra-clean pea protein.” It’s not just protein, but also a blend of essential vitamins and minerals — including “30 percent of your daily recommended value of iron” — as well as calcium phosphorus, and potassium. This protein shake is vegan-friendly, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and gluten-free. A 12-pack box of 12-fluid ounce bottles costs $31.99.
Dr RJP says “I have tried literally every plant-based protein drink or shake on the market and none of them compare to Ripple. Ripple Chocolate is the closest-tasting product to a high-quality whey protein drink that I’ve found. I was drinking Evolve but this is much better and higher in calories. you would never guess that it’s a pea protein shake. I drink one in the morning when I wake up and it helps to settle my plumbing, so to speak. I’ve been suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and this shake definitely helps quiet things down besides being nutritious and easily digested. Drink this and it will definitely change your opinion about pea protein drinks. It did for me.
7. Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein Shake
Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein Shake/Amazon.com
Garden of Life is a highly trusted brand of health and wellness products spanning from supplements to this Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein Shake. Vegan-friendly, organic, and 100 percent plant-based, this shake offers 21 grams of protein “with all the essential amino acids,” as well as 5 grams of MCTs — medium-chain triglycerides — sourced from organic coconuts. This product is third-party certified, USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, gluten-free, and U kosher. Plus this shake contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. A 16-pack of 12-fluid ounce bottles costs $51.96.
Family 7 says “I was very impressed with the flavor of this drink. I have tried a ton of shake drinks out there, and I must say this taste is probably one of the best. It isn’t too sweet, just perfect. The ingredients are amazing! The protein amount is perfect. I feel great and fulfilled upon drinking this in the mornings and/or after my gym/workout sessions. I would recommend to shake it really well, and drink it after the fridge, chilled, not room temperature. Enjoy!”
8. Pirq Vegan Protein Shake
Pirq Vegan Protein Shake/Amazon.com
This Pirq Vegan Protein Shake is a truly unique mix that aims to not only provide protein, vitamins, and minerals but also includes antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory ingredients. This blend contains 12 grams of pea and brown rice-sourced protein, turmeric, curcumin, maca root, and almonds. This shake is not only vegan-friendly but is great for keto dieters with no added sugar! It’s non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, and kosher. Plus, this shake doesn’t contain artificial ingredients and synthetic vitamins.A 4-pack of 11-fluid ounce bottles costs $12.99.
Toral Patel says “My son likes the chocolate and I like the golden vanilla so we get both. It’s a great on the go snack, perfect to curb over eating. I drink a shake before lunch each day which causes me to not eat so much for the rest of the day. I heard you can buy these at Whole Foods to try before you buy a case on Amazon. I have never tried any other drinks as yummy (and low cal at the same time) as this one and they are so filling. It’s worth the purchase definitely!”
9. ALOHA Organic Vegan Plant-Based Protein Drink with MCT Oil
This ALOHA Organic Vegan Plant-Based Protein Drink with MCT Oil is vegan-friendly, USDA organic, and brimming with 18 grams of plant-based protein sourced from pea protein and brown rice protein. ALOHA offers a super unique blend that includes organic MCT oil from coconut, which has been shown to help weight loss and boost energy. Plus, this shake doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners and opts for organic monk fruit extract instead! On top of that, this shake is paleo-friendly, gluten-free, soy-free, low-sugar, dairy-free, and non-GMO.A 12-pack of 11-fluid ounce bottles costs $29.99.
Tasty says “This is a great protein drink. It’s portable for days I don’t have time to make something for breakfast and I feel good about the ingredients. The coconut flavor is good. It’s definitely a coconut taste but it’s not super strong or overly sweet. It’s pleasantly sweet and gives a nice boost without a sugar rush. My husband tried one and liked it but do be aware that these contain MCT oil as well as coconut water. Both of those ingredients can have a mild laxative effect if you’re not used to them, similar to a cup of coffee. Just something to be aware of, no big deal but maybe don’t try this for the first time just before an important meeting if you know what I’m saying.”
10. Après Plant-Based Vegan Protein Shake
Après Plant-Based Vegan Protein Shake/Amazon.com
This Après Plant-Based Vegan Protein Shake offers 14 grams of organic plant protein sourced from peas, chia seed, cacao, and hemp seed, which has a “complete amino acid profile, along with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.” The MCTs — medium-chain triglycerides — are sourced from organic virgin coconut oil making you feel fuller longer and boosting energy. This protein shake is vegan-friendly, non-GMO, soy-free and falls low on the glycemic index. A 12-pack of 11-fluid ounce bottles costs $39.99.
Chloe says “I was pleasantly surprised with the variety pack and enjoyed trying all of the flavors. The texture was almost the same consistency as the old school Slim Fast drinks but was not unpleasant. Really great to grab and go for an after workout drink or a breakfast replacement on a busy day.”
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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