Nobody can have a healthy functioning body without protein. But, how much do you need and how to go about choosing the best protein shakes for your needs? Protein shakes can be used to lose weight, build and maintain muscle, or to supplement nutritional needs.
Recovering from your workouts the right way is just as important as hitting the gym regularly — and recovery starts with a good protein powder. Protein is by far the most important macronutrient when it comes to your muscles recovering from a workout. Taking it shortly after a workout aids muscle recovery as well as muscle growth, an imperative step for anyone with a firm fitness goal.
There are a variety of brands on the market that utilize a wide array of base ingredients and grams of protein per serving to cater to different goals. The best way to supercharge your recovery routine is to make sure you’re not just taking any protein after your workouts but rather one that suits your needs and gets your body primed to bounce back for your next session.
Cellucor Cor-Performance contains three digestive enzymes, which may help to improve absorption, and is soy-free. It also mixes well and tastes great with water — the Peanut Butter Marshmallow flavor did not last long in the BarBend office. That said, this protein does contain artificial sweeteners, which may not fly with everyone, and is manufactured with equipment that processes eggs, wheat, and soy. If you have severe allergies, you may want to avoid this pick.
Best Vegan Protein Powder: Healthspan Elite Complete Vegan Protein
Along with 20g of protein per 27g serving this powder delivers 100% of your recommended daily intake of B12, which is important because it’s a virtually impossible vitamin to get enough of on a vegan diet. The protein is sourced from a combination of pea, pumpkin and brown rice to provide a complete source of essential amino acids.
Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake
“No one can improve on the power of real, nutrient dense plant-based foods. Vega grew from my goal: to make plant-based nutrition easier for busy people. Since 2004, Vega has brought real, plant-based food ingredients together in purposeful combinations to help you get the nutrition your body wants, without compromise.
Even if it wasn’t our “house” brand, this would still be our go-to for whey, primarily because it’s a fantastic combination of value and quality. While many value brands’ products are primarily whey protein concentrate, Signature 100% Whey has an impressive profile of 13 grams of isolate and 6 grams each of hydrolysate and concentrate. That means you have a lot of clean, quick-digesting, low-carb protein, with just enough whey concentrate for a creamy flavor and texture.
There’s a pretty blurry line between “whey that has some extra vitamins” and a “whey-based meal replacement shake.” IdealShake has come out on top as a viable meal replacement shake. It’s got a base of whey concentrate and whey isolate, and it has 100 calories per serving (and about as many carbs as grams of protein). Also, IdealShake delivers roughly 75 percent of the recommended daily intake of most vitamins and minerals per serving. That includes iron, Vitamin D, magnesium, and B12. That’s not a bad spread.