We asked fitness experts to recommend the best tasting protein powders out there.
After all, who doesn’t want to drink something that is both healthy and delicious before or after an intensive workout?
Table of Contents
- GNC Whey Protein
- Vega Organic Protein & Greens Powder in Chocolate
- Quest Nutrition Peanut Butter Protein Powder
- Isopure Low Carb Dutch Chocolate
- Met-Rx Protein Plus Vanilla
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Vega plant-based protein
- Amazing Grass Protein Superfoods
- Quest Nutrition Cookies and Cream Protein Powder
- Paleo Pro Protein Powder
- Orgain Organic Plant Protein
- Ghost Whey Protein
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein
- Merica Labz
- PurePaleo by Designs for Health
- F4U Whey Protein Concentrate
- Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Isolate
Personal Trainer | Weight Loss & Wellness Coach | World Champion Powerlifter
GNC Whey Protein
Protein powder has come a long way since I first started taking it as a teenager who wanted to gain weight. Early powders were soy based and so unpalatable they would make me gag. Now we avoid soy because of its estrogenic effect.
Instead, I eat a simple GNC brand whey protein, Chocolate Supreme flavor. I mix it with water and have it twice a day. It is quick absorbing and does not contain any stimulants or anabolics which would cause me to fail a drug test. Also, it tastes like hot chocolate.
Thea Boatswain, MS, CPT
Personal Trainer | Nutrition Coach | Owner, Elan Fitness and Nutrition
Vega Organic Protein & Greens Powder in Chocolate
Personally, adding chocolate to anything will automatically make it taste better but this Vega one is top notch. Not only is it a vegan protein powder but the chocolate really cuts down on the “protein powder taste”.
The first ingredient is pea protein but it also has loads of other vegetable powders and extracts that are also great for you and further cut down on the chalky protein taste. I typically use it with other ingredients that would typically go with chocolate, peanut butter, strawberries, and banana.
Certified Personal Trainer | Owner, Diabetes Strong
I have tried a lot of protein powders, but my absolute favorites are:
Quest Nutrition Peanut Butter Protein Powder
I can eat this directly out of the can without any water. Yes, I am serious, it actually tastes that good! It’s basically powdered peanut butter and how can you not like that?
Isopure Low Carb Dutch Chocolate
Mix with water and it tastes just like chocolate milk. This is what most other brands of chocolate protein powder claim as well, but in my opinion, only Isopure has got the taste right with their Dutch Chocolate.
Met-Rx Protein Plus Vanilla
This tastes much like any other vanilla protein powder, but it has one huge advantage – it’s perfect for baking! It keeps both it’s taste and consistency when heated. I use it to make high-protein muffins, cakes, and hot drinks.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Collagen peptides dissolve easily in any liquid and are complete without taste and odor. This makes it perfect to add to any shake or smoothie where you don’t want to taste the protein powder.
Orthopaedic Surgery Trauma Research Fellow, Regions Hospital | Exercise Physiologist
Vega plant-based protein
What’s the best tasting protein powder? I have absolutely no idea. I certainly know what I prefer, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find it appetizing. Though consensus can often be achieved with something as subjective as taste, inevitably even the most revered foods – apple pie, French fries, bacon, – are repulsed by some.
For this reason, I believe it is vital to fully understand what you’re getting into when considering a protein powder. Protein has been a daily part of my life since high school. I have used it for athletic recovery, meal replacement, and everything in between.
My rationale for selecting a protein powder has also been variable. I began this journey by simply finding the cheapest brand possible but now opt for the most nutritious supplement. Notice that taste was not mentioned as a motivator.
This isn’t because I don’t like tasty beverages, rather, I learned early on that I can significantly enhance the flavor by what I add to my shake.
I therefore purposely select protein flavors that aren’t dominant so I can vary add-ins. I am not married to any particular product, but I have been using Vega plant-based protein for the last couple of years as my nutrition has evolved. In particular, I like vanilla and coconut almond, with the latter being the tastiest I have tried in quite some time.
But again, I didn’t choose this brand based on flavor. Each of these flavors allows me to comfortably add a variety of greens and fruit without negatively affecting the taste – this may not be possible with chocolate or peanut butter flavors, for example.
If I tire of fruit smoothies, these flavors allow me to add banana, peanut butter, greens, and even cold brew coffee for a completely different flavor profile. Both powders are palatable when mixed with water alone, though I much prefer the flavor and added benefits of smoothies.
I did not choose this product line for flavor versatility, though I do find this to be convenient. Instead, I chose this product because of what’s on the label – which is what I recommend you do when shopping for a protein powder. Vega products are plant-based, offering protein, veggies, greens, vitamins, probiotics, omega fatty acids, minerals, and fiber.
These areas can be deficient or lacking in any diet, so don’t think that Vega is leaving the carnivores out. Lastly, I like this product line as it is low in carbs with no added sugars.
In fact, they are even lower than you may think as the fiber included should be subtracted from the total to reveal the net carbs – often as low as 4g in these powders.
I am not an advocate for low-carb diets and believe carbs to be vital in athletic recovery to replace the depleted muscle glycogen stores. However, sugary beverages are not the way to accomplish this.
Naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and vegetables are a healthier means of helping your body recover and restore. Low carb protein powders are also more versatile and can be used by a larger number of people.
For example, these shakes can be consumed before bed when the energy provided by carbs is unnecessary. Additionally, pre-diabetics and diabetics can cause harm by consuming sugary beverages – choosing a low carb protein powder can help them avoid dangerous aberrations in blood sugar levels.
So what’s my take on the best tasting protein powders? Beware! We make things taste better by adding sugar and artificial ingredients.
My advice: Read the label! The more natural the better. Limit added sugars, and opt for powders that include vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Remember, the flavor can be enhanced by adding fresh fruit, vegetables, and greens – these are lacking in most diets.
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Culinary Nutrition Expert | Nutritional Chef | Wellness Counselor | Owner, Via’s Kitchen
Amazing Grass Protein Superfoods
When it comes to the Best Protein Powders of 2019, I would have to say Amazing Grass Protein Superfoods for multiple reasons. For starters, they taste amazing, especially the peanut butter chocolate that I eat on almost a daily basis.
Additionally, they are organic, vegan, and have both greens powders as well as protein in all of their blends making it a very nutritious option. The greens incorporated into their powders include wheat grass, barley, alfalfa, and spirulina. Recently, they also came out with a glow line, in addition to a kale and protein line.
Lastly, as a nutritional chef, I am able to make much more with their protein outside of smoothies. I add scoops to my overnight oats, chia puddings as well as incorporate them in my dessert energy balls.
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN
Former Nutrition Lead, Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute
Quest Nutrition Cookies and Cream Protein Powder
I recommend Quest Nutrition Cookies and Cream Protein Powder. This flavorful protein powder has an incredibly high protein-to-calorie percentage, low sugar and contains real cookie crumbles, it is my absolute favorite! I see hundreds of patients every year and the one thing they all say when a diet fails is “I struggled with controlling my cravings and then caved in”. Therefore, I say, let’s indulge in the craving, but in a healthy way that doesn’t derail you.
Protein is my go to, especially in the morning or after a great workout. Studies show that focusing on protein for your first meal of the day helps with weight management and controlling of cravings later in the day. Plus, it keeps me fuller, longer and does not cause the fatigue-inducing and blood sugar roller coaster that other breakfast options can bring on.
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After a workout, high-quality protein can also help with muscle synthesis. My workout is step one, but the protein after is step two. Both lead to more muscle, which is an absolute must for me and the bulk of my patients that have lost muscle with age (and found themselves with a higher body fat % because of it.)
Celebrity Trainer | Goop Alignment Expert
Paleo Pro Protein Powder
Paleo Pro is dubbed “Farm-to-Shake” The protein in their mix is minimally processed and not instantized with soy like most other protein mixes. They use Grass-Fed and Pastured Beef & Eggs that are air dried then ground into a fine powder.
It’s available unsweetened and unflavored or naturally flavored and sweetened with monk fruit extract – there is nothing artificial in this mix. It is one of the rare protein finds that you can just add water and it’s delicious! Plus, it’s packed with 26 grams of Protein!
Fitness Trainer & Holistic Nutritionist, B.A. | Yoga Instructor
Orgain Organic Plant Protein
My favorite protein powder which is the one I use and also what I recommend to my clients is Orgain Organic Plant Protein.
Why Orgain? Because it is the “cleanest” protein shake on the market without chemicals that cannot be pronounced. Two scoops contain 150 calories and 21 grams of protein which is 42% of the daily value percentage. The calories from fat are only 40 and there are only 4 grams of fat. So you are getting a highly nutrient dense shake with excellent amount of protein.
Because it is plant-based, it is also excellent for Vegans. And what I love is that all the ingredients are organic – such as organic pea, brown rice, chia seed, rosemary, and some more pure ingredients.
Nutrition Coach | Certified Personal Trainer, Esther Avant Wellness Coaching
Ghost Whey Protein
I stumbled on Ghost protein last year and it quickly became my favorite brand.
They have really cool flavors like peanut butter cereal milk and coffee ice cream that actually taste like those things. I make the best Reese’s-inspired shake at night with the PB flavor. They have awesome seasonal flavors, too, like white chocolate peppermint that I’ve been rationing since I bought it. They even have a vegan line if you want in on the good flavors but don’t tolerate dairy or consume animal products.
Certified Personal Trainer | Founder, Truism Fitness
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein
Since you’re going to get a lot of responses to this I’m going to go a different route, I like to drink a protein shake in the morning. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein has flavors that will satisfy your morning palate with choices like Coffee, Strawberry Cream, Banana Cream, and Cake Donut.
They may sound odd but they taste amazing, mix well with a shaker bottle or blender and are backed by 3rd party testing and optimum nutrition is one of the most proven supplement companies around while giving you 24g of protein per serving.
Certified Personal Trainer
One of the best tasting protein powders I have come by is by a company called Merica Labz. Their protein actually has “lucky charms” size marshmallows in it. It literally tastes like you are drinking Lucky Charms cereal.
And when you are done drinking, there are normally about a dozen marshmallows at the bottom of your shaker bottle for you to munch on too. I look forward to drinking this every day. Very different than anything else out there!
Certified Nutritional Consultant
PurePaleo by Designs for Health
My favorite protein powder is PurePaleo (vanilla or chocolate) by Designs for Health. It has really clean ingredients and tastes great. Since it’s beef protein, it’s less allergenic than whey protein or a typical vegan protein powder that contains lectins.
Certified Personal Trainer | Co-Founder, Urban Strength
F4U Whey Protein Concentrate
I steer clear of recommending any protein powders that contain unnecessary additives, artificial flavors, and fillers which can stall weight loss and make it difficult to digest. If you do fine with dairy, my favorite of late is this grass-fed whey protein concentrate called F4U Whey Protein Concentrate because of its neutral taste and thick, creamy texture.
I love the freedom of adding it to the smoothie and making my own natural flavor combinations but it’s also fine to have on its own.
Poor quality whey protein powders which have been highly treated and processed can often taste a bit funky and off-putting and often masked in cheap protein powders by all the other additives.
You can tell the quality of this WPC because it doesn’t have those problems. It’s also a pure protein powder and contains all the essential amino acids your body requires for muscle building and repair, so it ticks off the boxes for me with the points mentioned before.
Whey protein concentrate is also more affordable than the isolate version which goes through more extensive processing to achieve a higher protein content.
But because this WPC comes from grass-fed cows, the small amount of fat is mostly healthy omega-3s and the carbohydrates aid in muscle recovery. So I personally find it more satisfying and a better tasting protein powder.
When it comes to protein, it’s hard to beat MyProtein. They have dozens of different flavors and many different protein types (isolate, casein, blends, etc…). Their protein powders also easily blend, which is a big plus, especially if you use a shaker bottle to make your shakes.
As a fitness trainer, my personal favorite vanilla. That might sound, well, vanilla, but hear me out. Vanilla is a great base flavor that allows me to add other flavors too. I can add chocolate, peanut butter, cinnamon, etc.. to switch up my daily shake. Needless to say, I’m a big fan. Oh, and I’m the type of guy that orders 11 lbs. at a time.
Nutrition Editor, BarBend
Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Isolate
As a source of fat and sugar, it’s not hard to make a “whey” that tastes good with milk. I consider the true test of a protein powder’s taste as to how it tastes with water. Plus, if it tastes good with water, it’s way more convenient to drink if you don’t have any milk lying around.
I’ve tried dozens and dozens of wheys in my quest to find the best whey protein powder and for my money, I’m the most impressed by Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Isolate. Note that I’m talking about the isolate, not their ubiquitous Gold Standard Whey, which is a mixture of concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate.
The Gold Standard Isolate is newer to the market and while there aren’t quite as many flavors available as the original, they’re far better when mixed with water. Most notably, it’s the first whey I’ve tried that has a vanilla flavor that tastes great with water: Rich Vanilla tastes rich, sweet, and not unlike melted vanilla ice cream, while the Chocolate Bliss reminiscent of cocoa puffs.
An extra bonus is that it contains more protein per calorie than you average whey, but it’s remarkably inexpensive — one big bonus of Optimum Nutrition being such a large company.
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