Walking into a health food store or vitamin shop may seem like a daunting task. Tons of protein powders line the shelves with similar packaging, promises of shapely muscles and pure enjoyment of their “tried-and-true” taste. I will help reduce time, money and poor after-taste by recommending my top five delicious and beneficial protein powders. In addition, I will reveal my top vegan aternatives for those who are cutting dairy and all other milk proteins out of their diet.
1. MET-Rx Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup- If peanut butter and chocolate is your go-to combo and yet, you don’t want to sacrifice your pant size for taste, this Met-Rx brand is a clear winner for both. At only 110 calories and 2 grams of fat, this ultra-concentrated, aspartame-free protein treat satisfies your taste buds while providing a remarkable 8 grams of branched chain amino acids – the building blocks of protein- to quench your muscles post-workout; or enjoy as a mini-meal treat any time of day. Your waistline with thank you for skipping those Reese’s Cups.
***Check out my delicious recipe here: https://christysiebert.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/chocolate-walnut-protein-shake/
2. Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard or Natural 100% Whey Protein- A multiple-year winner of numerous supplement awards, this protein has raised the bar for high-quality powders. And with only 1 gram of both fat and sugar and 3 grams of carbs, you can easily combine it with other ingredients to help improve the taste without indulging in too many calories. Here’s how:
**1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup mango, 1/2 cup pineapple, 1/4 cup banana, 1 cup soy milk, ice. Blend and enjoy.
3. Isopure Zero Carb- With only 105 calories, 1 g of fat, 25 g of program and as the name implies, 0 carbs, this protein is high on the list if you want to up your protein intake without unnecessary added carbohydrates. In terms of taste, other proteins on this list may satisfy your sweet tooth more, so try the following combo smoothie anytime of day to raise the taste factor:
**1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup plain greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp agave syrup, ice. Blend and enjoy.
4. BSN’s Syntha-6 – With tasty flavors like chocolate cake batter and vanilla ice cream, this powder is a sweet-tooth haven but also packs enough protein at 22 grams to promote lean muscle growth and a raised metabolism. Although, it may not be your top choice if you are trying to reduce calories and fat – at 200 calories and 6 grams of fat. Luckily, this protein can be served on its own in the following ways:
**Blended with water and ice.
** Pudding style in a bowl with small amount of water.
5. Beverly International’s Ultimate Muscle Protein- This protein supplement includes fiber, which is rare in powders but amazing for satiety and improving the digestive system. Although fat is touted at 3 grams, the taste is satisfying. Try this healthy fat and protein combo:
**1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 Tbsp raw almond butter. Mix together and serve as a pudding.
Top Vegan Alternatives:
1. Almond Milk- Packed with vitamin E, calcium and protein, this drink contains 1/2 the calories of skim milk per serving ounce.
2. Coconut Milk- Loaded with B12, calcium and vitamin D, coconut milk also provides a fat, although saturated, called lauric acid, which has been found to create positive effects on the cardiovascular system, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
3. Hemp Milk – Providing 10 essential amino acids, this milk provides a great vegetarian source of protein. In addition, hemp contains omega-6 and omega-3, essential fatty acids for metabolic function.
**Due to its nutty taste, hemp provides a great balance to traditionally tarty greens. Blend kale, hemp milk, pineapple and banana for a delicious green smoothie boost!
4. Soy Milk- Made from soybeans, this combo contains nearly the same amount of protein per ounce as cow’s milk. Soy milk also reduces low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, and triglycerides.
5. Rice Milk- This sweet-tasting milk is derived from brown rice. Although this milk does not contain enough significant amounts of calcium or protein, it is often manually fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium. It is a great alternative for those who are allergic to other milks, such as soy.