The one question that I always get from clients who are transitioning to a plant-based diet is, “How can I get more protein?”
To many people, it seems like a challenge––we often think of meat and dairy as the best ways to get protein, and don’t even consider what plants can bring to the table. Because of this, as a whole, our society tends to get way more protein than we need. Most people are eating some form of animal protein at every meal. An egg for breakfast, a chicken breast on a salad for lunch and fish filet for dinner.
When transitioning to a plant-based diet, it can be hard for many people to look outside of their usual protein options and turn to the vegan sources.
That’s why protein powder can be the perfect choice for ensuring you’re meeting your protein needs, while staying on a plant-based diet. It’s especially great for the pickier people who might not like the texture of tofu or tempeh, or the taste of beans and lentils.
The problem is, there are so many protein powders out there to choose from. And sorting through the long and unrecognizable ingredients lists at the store can feel more stressful than shopping on Black Friday. So I’ve created a simple guide to help you get the cleanest and healthiest protein powder to support your plant-based lifestyle.
FYI: For the average active person, your protein needs can be calculated by multiplying your weight in pounds by .6. But, if you don’t feel like doing the math (I don’t blame you there), a good standard to go by, if you’re an average active woman, is to try and get somewhere between 60-70 grams of protein per day.
Ingredients to look out for
When choosing a protein powder, I like to say the fewer ingredients the better. If it’s a specific type of protein, meaning it’s a hemp-based protein powder or a pea protein powder, for instance, that should be the first ingredient on the list. Keep an eye out for artificial sweeteners and added sugar––you want your protein powders to be free of these, especially if you’re adding it to your fruit smoothies, baked goods or anything else that may already contain sugar. If you’re looking for a true plant-based powder, skip anything containing whey or casein, because they are derived from dairy.
My go-to protein powders
Philosophie Superfood Blends (all flavors) – These come in three different flavors, (green dream, cacao magic and berry bliss) and are perfect for adding a flavor-boost to your smoothies or adding to your oatmeal. Each contains about 10 grams of protein per tablespoon and the green dream and cacao magic use hemp seeds as the main protein source, while the berry bliss uses brown rice protein, which adds an extra creaminess to anything you put it in! Bonus: there’s a reason they’re called superfood powders––in addition to protein, each blend is packed with great for you superfoods like maca, reishi, spirulina and so much more
Orgain – This organic, plant-based powder combines pea, brown rice, chia seed and hemp protein to deliver 21 grams of protein per serving. There are plenty of flavors to choose from, all free of added sugar and great for adding to smoothies.
Nutiva Hemp Protein & Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp – I tend to favor hemp-based protein powders, because they tend to provide more omega-3’s and fiber. What I love the most about these two powders are that they both have one ingredient: hemp protein. That’s it. Sure they aren’t as exciting or flavorful as other options, but if you’re looking for a simple and easy protein source without a long ingredient list, this is the way to go.
PlantFusion – The coolest thing about PlantFusion’s Organic Plant Protein is that it not only provides you with a good serving of protein (20 grams), but provides digestive support as well. This is because the protein powder contains a mix of fermented foods and digestive enzymes that will keep your gut feeling great.
Sprout Living Pumpkin Seed Protein – People don’t often think of pumpkin seeds as a good source of protein, but this powder, made from pepitas that have been cold-pressed and then milled, provides 19 grams of protein per serving. It’s great for people who have nut or soy allergies and can easily be added to yogurt, oats or into a smoothie.