Working out a lot these days? These healthy vegan protein powders can help keep your energy up!
By Lora O’Brien
Whether you’re training for this year’s marathon, trying to improve your fitness, or even trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of protein in your diet. Exercise alone is unlikely to produce visible results as quickly as combining a killer workout routine with healthy nutrition.
We all know about the natural food sources of protein available to us, like lean meat and eggs. But vegans are stuck mainly with legumes, nuts and veggies – and you may need to eat an awful lot of them to get the protein you need to build and repair muscle.
Why Do You Need Protein?
“Protein is essential for muscle recovery and repair,” says London based personal trainer and artist Slawomir Milewski. “When you consume protein, you’re helping your body to build lean muscle while burning fat.” He says you’ll also lose weight with a high protein diet because it helps you feel fuller for longer.
It’s recommended we eat one gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight, which means a 57kg woman needs up to 57g of protein every single day – but this is the guideline for those who are not working out 3-4 times a week, and the more active you are, the more protein you will need.
While vegans can get protein that equates carnivorous sources pretty easily, a protein powder supplement can make this even easier. But you should be aware that many protein shakes, powders and bars are often nothing more than junk food. High quality products shouldn’t contain anything that actual food doesn’t, and you shouldn’t rely solely on protein powders for your hit: whole foods are always the best source, such as 1.5 cups of lentils or beans (which is equal to the protein found in 1 chicken breast).
When Should You Take It?
According to Milewski, consuming a protein rich snack or shake within twenty minutes after your workout is important for muscle repair and recovery. Many women believe these snacks are fattening and will make you bulk out – but don’t worry. There are loads of low-calorie, low-fat and low-carb protein shakes on the market that offer a quick protein punch without compromising your diet – just make sure you remember the protein shake is acting as a partial replacement to a meal.
There are other benefits to protein powders, too: “I use a good-quality protein powder that’s packed with minerals and vitamins to make sure I cover all my nutritional needs,” says Milewski.
Here, I’ve put together a list of the best healthy vegan protein powders that are often organic and are always free from all the nasty additives and fake sweeteners that you’ll find in a lot of the big branded protein products.
10 Healthy Vegan Protein Powders For Higher Energy
Peas, rice and chia seeds combine in this organic plant-based protein powder to give you a protein hit that’s free of GMOs and all artificial ingredients. Got intolerances? No worries: this brand is dairy, gluten and soy free.
And oh, but this product makes for a great shake! Just add two scoops to your favourite vegan milk and blend it up. Choose from chocolate peanut butter, chocolate fudge, vanilla bean or unsweetened.
*Top tip* This is one of the healthiest of all the healthy vegan protein powders!
Per 20g Serving (doesn’t include almond or soya milk): 125 cal –Carbs -5g – Fiber – 21g Protein
Can’t be bothered with the mess of making a shake with a protein powder? Need your fix on the go? Pulsin offer a range of vegan protein based products that cater to every taste. Whether you have a sweet tooth and are looking for a high protein, organic snack bar or want an actual protein powder that offers something a little different, Pulsin is the place to look.
Personally, I highly recommend the Peanut Maple protein bars for an afternoon snack! Curbs sugar cravings and gives you a protein kick. I’m addicted.
Per Bar: 238 cal – 11.5g Fat – 6.5g Sat Fat – 19.3g Carbs – 5.8g Sugar – 12.2g Protein
Indigo Herbs of Glastonbury is passionate about promoting a healthy lifestyle, so they offer top quality organic products at affordable prices. They offer loads of products that are packed full of protein and the choice means that they can cater to any taste. Their brown rice protein is easy to use: just sprinkle some powder in your morning cereal or add to a smoothie for a quick and easy protein punch.
*Top tip* These powders are great if you suffer from fatigue or iron deficiency anaemia, because they are packed full of iron and essential vitamins. Bonus!
Per 10g Serving: 36kcal – 1.1g Fat – 0.1g Sat Fat – 1g Carbs – 0.6g Sugar – 4.9g Protein
After a lengthy gym session, you can come away feeling ravenous. That’s when a good protein rich shake comes in super handy, and they don’t get much healthier than ones made with this Sun Warrior Blend. Made from hemp and legume protein and sweetened with all natural, low cal stevia, a drink made with this is a true reward for your body. And since it’s so low carb and sugar free, it’s perfect for diabetics!
*Top tip* Not feeling the vanilla flavour? No worries. There’s also chocolate or neutral flavoured powders available.
Per Serving: 100 cal -Carbs – 3g Sugar -0g Protein: 27g
Formulated from a tasty blend of organic Pea and Hemp powder that equals the protein of two eggs in every serving, this powder also offers prebiotics, probiotics and organic ingredients that combat stress, provide a healthy metabolism and are easy to digest. Vegans will also love this fact: it ticks off all the essential amino acids including Lysine, Glutamine and Valine. Thanks to the presence of plant based keratin and collagen, this is also a great hair and skin booster, too.
*Top tip* If you’ve previously dabbled with protein powders and experienced tummy troubles, this is one of the best healthy vegan protein powders for you!
Per Serving: 94 cal – 0.025g Sugar –18.75g Protein
Plant Head raw chocolate protein powder is great for baking, the environment, animals and your tummy. But there’s more great news about this product: it’s non GMO, Soy Free/ Dairy Free/Non-GMO/Lactose Free/Gluten free/Free of Common Allergens/Preservative free and even contains dried chlorella algae, which is hugely detoxing.
Not keen on chocolate? There’s a vanilla option, too.
Per Serving: 110 cal -Fat – 5g – Carbs – 2g Sugar – 15g Protein
Looking to make those plant based gains on a vegan diet? Protein World have now added not one, but two vegan friendly protein powders to their range. Made from a combination of 3 different vegan proteins, quinoa, hemp and pea, with added probiotics for optimal gut health, this versatile product can be used in post workout shakes, in smoothies or even in cooking and baking – protein pancakes, anyone?
Per serving: 26g protein – 244 calories – 9.5g carbs
Hemp Protein is an excellent source of protein derived from whole raw hemp seeds, and contains a comprehensive amino acid blend with live enzymes, Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), vitamins and minerals. Hemp Seeds are rich in essential nutrients including chlorophyll, magnesium, potassium, sulphur, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, fibre, histidine, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine.
You can use this in smoothies, sprinkled on cereal or in vegan yogurts, or you can make tasty protein balls with them at home. Hemp Protein is also an excellent source of protein for vegetarians, vegans or for anyone that suffers with a lactose or gluten intolerance.
Per serving: 124 calories – 3g carbs – 15g protein
This sugar free formula is sweetened with organic coconut juice powder, pure vanilla, banana fruit powder, and tooth-saving Xylitol to offer a tasty plant based drink. It’s a post-workout shake that really helps your body make more lean muscle. If you’re in a rush in the mornings, this makes for a great breakfast, too: the organic pea and brown rice proteins will make you feel fuller throughout the day.
*Top tip* This is great sprinkled over cereal, yogurt or granola. This is one of the tastiest healthy vegan protein powders!
Per serving: Carbs – 6g Calories -80 Protein – 12g
Flavored with sweet cacao, this is rich in plant-based pea and hemp proteins that will help to quickly repair muscles after an intense workout. Try mixing yours with almond milk and fruit for a breakfast alternative or snack.
*Top tip* When looking at the label of your foods, if the protein content is a higher number than the sugar/carb content, you’re good to go! Otherwise, it’s best to avoid.
Per serving: 15g protein – 124 calories – 3g carbs