Vegan proteins can get a bad rap for being grainy, sludgy or simply tasteless. These are the ones the Strong Women team recommend for muscle building without compromising on taste and texture.
If you eat a vegan diet then the chances are you’ll have been questioned about your protein intake. The reality is that you’re probably getting enough of the macronutrient through plant-based foods, but some people might require a bit more protein than tofu, beans, milk-alternatives and vegetables have to offer.
This is especially true if you’re into exercise, particularly strength training or muscle building workouts. “When we train, we’re essentially ripping the muscles,” explained Strong Women ambassador Caroline Bragg. “We need to repair them so they keep building. Proteins are the building blocks for that.”
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How much protein should you have when strength training?
If you’re training hard, our trainers recommend getting around 1.2-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (e.g. if you are a 75kg woman then having at least 90g of protein a day will help with optimal performance and recovery.) An easy way to hit that target is using a supplement. Protein powders can be mixed with milk, stirred into porridge or used in baking to create high-protein, muscle repairing foods.
While whey protein supplements are often championed by bodybuilders and strength trainers, those that are dairy free don’t quite get the same reputation. Luckily, as the vegan diet has gained popularity, vegan protein powders have come a long way from their grainy, chalky or sludgy beginnings.
Which are the best? We tried and tested a bunch to find out…
Innermost Health Protein
This protein includes immune system boosting ingredients, such as shiitake mushrooms, acai berries and camu camu, without actually tasting like it does. In fact, it’s a rather subtle, smooth protein shake that ticks all the boxes.
Bulk Powders Vegan Protein Powder
This protein is made from five different plant-based sources to make a great vegan blend that offers 23g of protein per serving. The fact that it comes in peanut butter flavour? Even more of a winner. We recommend blending to make a smoothie bowl for a decadent tasting snack that could almost be classed ice cream.
Form Nutrition Performance Protein
This makes for a deliciously smooth shake. The chocolate peanut flavour is one of the Stylist team’s all time favourites, with a sweet but nutty flavour and no proteiny after taste. The powder is a complete protein, meaning it features all five essential amino acids, and is also boosted with probiotics and Digezyme for good gut health.
Vivo Life Raw Plant Protein & BCAA
This tastes like what you might imagine a vegan powder to taste like: slightly earthier and less sweet than other brands. That’s because it packs the nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet, while still being super delicious. Ingredients include pea and hemp protein, reishi mushrooms and super foods including turmeric and maca. It’s a thick powder so mixes wonderfully into oats for a cakey texture. This is also a favourite of Stylist Strong trainer Alice Miller.
Misfits Vegan Protein + Vitamin Blend
A few months ago, Misfits rebranded to make their entire protein range vegan. Why? Because it was so delicious that they didn’t see why anyone would use any other alternative. The pea protein blend also contains L-Glutamine to speed up repair and recovery. Despite the low sugar content, it’s definitely one for those with a sweet tooth.
Plant Supplements CBD Protein Powder
For a shake that will support muscle and mind recovery, this vegan pea protein powder comes with added CBD. One serve comes with 8mg of cannabidiol, making it perfect for an evening snack. And we love how the sweet vanilla flavour has no artificial taste either.
MyVegan Protein Blend
This mix of pea and fava bean proteins gives each serving 22g of complete protein. It’s a thick, smooth texture that comes in a decadent mix of flavours: from coffee and walnut to turmeric latte. But the classics here are best – the chocolate flavour can be mixed with milk for a protein-based drink that’s surprisingly reminiscent of a thick chocolate milkshake.
USN 100% Plant Based Protein
USN are one of the most recognisable protein brands on the market. Famed for their whey powders, they’ve now branched out with their 100% Plant Protein, a pea, rice and hemp blend containing 23g of protein. And it upholds USN’s rep: a smooth shake with no after taste and flavours that taste exactly like what they say on the tin (hello, vanilla maple!).
Welleco Nourishing Protein
A high-quality complete protein that includes probiotics, vitamins and fibre. Made using organic ingredients, it’s a nutritional post-workout fuel delivering 20g of protein per serve.
Image: Brand’s own / Unsplash