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’re two weeks into Veganuary, you might be wondering about how your new meat-free diet is faring when it comes to protein intake. As long-term vegans will attest to, the reality is that you’re probably getting enough of the macronutrient through plant-based foods. But if you are struggling to fit in high-protein vegan meals, you might want to pay attention to your intake.
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,” explains personal trainer Caroline Bragg. “We need to repair them so they keep building. Proteins are the building blocks for that.”
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For those who train hard, our experts recommend getting around 1.2-2g of protein per kilogram of body weight (eg 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 by using a supplement, such as a vegan protein powder.
Before you grimace, let it be known that vegan protein powders have come a long way from their grainy, chalky and sludgy beginnings. Now, there are plenty of brands that create great tasting protein powders to mix with plant milk, stir into porridge or use in baking to create delicious, high-protein, muscle repairing foods.
Which are the best? We tried and tested a bunch to find out…
Shreddy, known for its resistance bands and home workout kits, made the foray into supplements during lockdown – and it’s paid off. Their pea-based protein powder is one of the smoothest around, meaning it tastes perfect even just shaken with water. A single serving will hit you with 22g of protein from an entirely compostable packet (yes, including the zip-lock).
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.
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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.
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