The Best Protein Powder

Want to start using protein powder, but not sure which one to try? Here’s a guide for choosing the right protein powder for you, a list of my favorites and coupon codes.

One question I get asked all the time is what protein powder I use! I’m happy to share my favorites because I know how challenging it can be to find a good quality protein powder that actually tastes great too. It’s no fun to spend money on a huge tub of protein powder only to realize it’s chalky and has the flavor of wet cardboard. Been there done that!

Whether you’re making protein shakes or using protein powder in recipes, the type/brand of protein powder you use will definitely affect the recipe’s outcome. For the recipes here on EBF, I currently use the protein powders seen here.

5 tubs of protein powder stacked and displayed

How to Choose the Best Protein Powder?

There are so many protein powders on the market. From whey, soy, egg white, casein, collagen, hemp, rice, pea, etc. If you’re new to protein powder, learn more about the seven best types of protein powder. In general, it’s hard to know which protein powder is right for you. It really depends on your dietary needs and how well your body digests the different protein sources.

I personally like plant-based protein powders and collagen options because my body doesn’t process whey protein very well and I’m not a big fan of processed soy. Besides good flavor (which is one of the biggest factors for me!), this is what I look for when choosing a protein powder:

  • Complete protein with all nine essential amino acids.
  • High in protein (obviously) — I look for powders with at least 15 grams of protein per serving.
  • Low in sugar — I look for options with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
  • No artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame. I’m okay with natural sweeteners like stevia and monkfruit.
  • Free of soy, milk, yeast, wheat, and other allergens that often cause allergic reactions.

Scoop of chocolate protein powder

Why Use Protein Powder?

Let me start by saying that I don’t think you need protein powder to eat healthfully or lose weight. In college, when I lost over 20 lbs, I didn’t use any supplements or protein powder (much less have — I just ate healthy real food).  At this point in my healthy eating journey I try to get most of my daily protein intake from whole, minimally processed foods like fish, dairy products, eggs, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. But protein powder makes for quick protein-packed snacks and on-the-go meals when needed.

I personally love using protein powder to help make macro-balanced meals and snacks. If you’ve been a blog reader for a while, you know that I recommend having every meal consist of lean protein, fiber and healthy fats. I love adding protein powder to certain meals (especially snacks) to up the protein level. The extra protein makes meals more satisfying and keeps you feeling full longer. Some examples?

My Favorite Plant-Based Protein Powders

Two containers of Nuzest protein powder stacked and a picture of the nutrition label

Nuzest Clean Lean Protein

Why I like it:
  • Short ingredient list
  • Great nutrition facts
  • Vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, lectin free and non-GMO
  • Easy to digest
  • Both the vanilla and chocolate have a great flavor and aren’t chalky.

My picks: Smooth Vanilla, Rich Chocolate

Coupon Code: use code eatingbirdfood for 15% off your order.

Other Protein Brands I’ll Occasionally Use:

Because Nuzest isn’t offered in stores, I’ll occasionally need to pick up a different brand that can be found at a local store. If this happens I usually grab Tone It Up protein, Sun Warrior or Bob’s Red Mill protein powder.

Two tubs of collagen peptides, chocolate Further Foods and Vital Proteins

My Favorite Collagen Protein

I also really like using collagen, which is different than regular protein powder. I have post about collagen and why I like using it. Two favorite collagen brands are Further Food and Vital Proteins. I’ve been loving the Further Food chocolate collagen with reishi mushroom. It tastes like hot chocolate when mixed with hot water. If you want to try Further Food, use EBF15 for 15% off your order.

Can You Eat Protein Powder Every Day?

Yes, absolutely! I wouldn’t recommend that you have protein powder with every single meal and snack. I like to get my protein from a variety of sources – chicken, fish, tofu, beans, legumes and yes, protein powder. When possible, I recommend incorporating real, whole food sources of protein and using protein powder as a supplement when needed.

Can You Use Protein Powder While Pregnant or Nursing?

Most protein powders say to consult your physician if you’re pregnant or nursing on the package, which I recommend as well. For me personally, I felt comfortable using organic, plant-based protein powders and collagen while pregnant, but to be honest it wasn’t something I craved so I didn’t have it every often. I also feel comfortable using protein powder and collagen while nursing. Since having Olivia I’ve been incorporating more protein-based snacks and using collagen to help with postpartum hair loss.

Protein Powder Recipes:

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    75 comments
    1. Kate
      June 23, 2020 AT 10:02 am

      Looks like IdealRaw discontinued anything chocolate some time ago. You must have stocked up since it sounds like it was a favorite of yours.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 23, 2020 AT 10:22 am

        Hey Katie – It’s just been out of stock for a bit now. Hoping it will be back in stock soon!!

    2. Carey Perkins
      June 19, 2020 AT 9:45 am

      I’m looking at the Idealraw.com website but I don’t see a chocolate flavor (only white chocolate chai) or a sample pack. What am I missing? Thanks.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 19, 2020 AT 12:33 pm

        Oh no!! They must be sold out right now! :/

    3. Kristina
      June 19, 2020 AT 9:12 am

      Thanks for sharing, this is very helpful!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 20, 2020 AT 1:56 am

        You’re so welcome, Kristina! I’m so glad this post is helpful for you. 🙂

    4. Stella
      June 19, 2020 AT 9:12 am

      I’ve been following you for quite some time. Thank you for explaining things in ‘real’ easy to understand language. I’ve been wanting to use protein powder but always overwhelmed when deciding, so I really appreciate this article!
      Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 20, 2020 AT 1:56 am

        I’m so glad this post is helpful! I know how overwhelming it can be when searching for a protein powder.

    5. MuddyGurl
      April 21, 2015 AT 4:05 pm

      HI, is a quality BR protein, or HEMP protein suitable for a person on low protein diets? NOT bodybuilding. I have Chronic Kidney Disease stage 3-4, must eat easily digestible low protein, (no red meats..so I am mostly vegetarian) I have eggs..but dairy isn’t allowed much. I was considering Warrior and unsweet almond milk/kale/cucumbers for my shakes..getting 20-30 gr a day from Warrior, plus other. Doable for a 1500 calorie diet?

      Also HEMP has all amino acids, but heard it hurts kidneys..any info?
      thanks!!!!

    6. 310 Nutrition Shake
      April 1, 2015 AT 8:03 am

      Vanilla, chocolate, black berry,white berry all are natural protein.

    7. Rob
      August 12, 2014 AT 7:41 pm

      I have been having this vanilla protein powder. All natural native whey protein blend, helps me recover much faster than rice protein, which I have tried in the past. Would like to know your thoughts on this?

    8. Kasey
      April 8, 2014 AT 9:03 pm

      Brown rice protein doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids, unless they’re added, which some brands do. But pure brown rice protein is missing some of the essential amino acids.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 8, 2014 AT 10:22 pm

        Hi Kasey. Brown rice protein powder is not a complete protein (a protein that contains all 22 amino acids) on its own, but it does contain all nine essential amino acids.

    9. penny
      March 24, 2014 AT 1:06 am

      I use Nufinna which is collagen protein,it is 95%absorbable,the taste is amazing,I have experienced so many changes using collagen protein.

    10. Lolo
      February 22, 2014 AT 1:25 pm

      Just as an FYI: Sun Warrior and other healthier brands of brown rice protein powders are testing high for heavy metals like lead. However, Sun Warrior has just recently agreed to work to lower the heavy metals in their powders. Check Natural Health News for more information about it.

    11. The Protein Reviewer
      November 15, 2013 AT 8:56 pm

      Awesome recipes!

      Feel free to check out theproteinreviewer.com , it’s got sweet ratings and reviews on all protein powders.

    12. jayme
      November 13, 2013 AT 11:48 pm

      Have you tried making protein pancakes or any other Tone it Up recipes with Sun Warrior? If so did it work and taste good? 🙂

    13. Adam
      October 15, 2013 AT 7:12 pm

      Nice write up Brittany. I was wondering if there is any particular reason why you prefer brown rice protein over hemp protein?

      Just curious…

      Regards,

      Adam

    14. Bobby Heydari
      September 3, 2013 AT 8:44 am

      Sun Warrior products are NOT certified organic. This is very curious in lieu of how they claim their products are produced. I think your readers should just be aware that Sun Warrior is NOT organic and may choose to opt for an organic option instead.

      Thanks

    15. Gloria
      July 2, 2013 AT 3:44 am

      Hi Brittany, love your blog 🙂
      I’m breastfeeding at the moment and looking for a protein supplement that helps me get my body back after pregnancy. Would you recommend this product to breasfeeding moms? Thank you

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 2, 2013 AT 8:15 am

        Hi Gloria. Just to be on the safe side, I would check the Sunwarrior FAQ page (http://www.sunwarrior.com/resources/faq/) and email them about using their product as a supplement while breastfeeding. Sunwarrior is usually really good about responding. Hope this helps!

    16. Bibi @ Veggie Runners
      May 24, 2013 AT 2:19 pm

      Hi Brittany,

      I found this post through searching for ‘Brown Rice Protein Powder’ as through my own research I’d decided that this was the way I want to go forward in protein powders. So, it’s really great to read your positive comments on them.

      I’m love to support you through the Sun Warrior link but it’s not working! Check it out, want you to be getting all the clicks you deserve.

    17. Ray
      April 16, 2013 AT 7:55 pm

      Great article–and so nicely designed website too. I like your promotion of rice protein powders. I was a bit reluctant to try them at first because rice protein isn’t a complete protein as, say, whey protein is, but then again, as you’ve emphasized, it’s vegan. Nice to know Sun Warrior Blend has pea protein in it also since pea mixed with hemp would produce complete protein. Keep up the good work!

    18. Lissy
      March 12, 2013 AT 6:21 am

      Thanks Brittany very delicious stuff in your post. What is your opinion on soy protein? And what is your all time favourite protein cake recipe?

    19. Riane
      February 28, 2013 AT 2:58 pm

      If the access bars aren’t a healthy option,what are some good pre-workout snacks because I usually workout in the am and need something before I workout.

    20. Riane
      February 28, 2013 AT 1:45 pm

      Okay, thanks! I’m not going to use it anymore! I will, thanks again 🙂 Do you also know anything about their access exercise bars?

    21. Riane
      February 27, 2013 AT 5:30 pm

      Have you ever heard of Melaleuca? Well, I recently tried their proflex protein powder, which says that it is naturally and artificially flavored. Does that mean it probably isn’t very good? Never have tried brown rice protein powder, but definitely going to now!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 27, 2013 AT 10:25 pm

        I have heard of Melaleuca but I’ve only used their soaps and stuff, not the protein powder. The “artificially flavored” part scares me a bit… Let me know what you think of the brown rice protein powder once you try it.

    22. Kathy Spargo
      February 12, 2013 AT 2:27 am

      Hi,
      I sure didn’t know you could use the protein powder in all those “treats” you make.
      I am a new comer to this stuff, but I am confident that I will enjoy it.

      I am trying to get my health back to where I can enjoy life again after two back surgeries and THR. I have gained some weight, but my joints and fibromyalgia give me a fit. I am trying to do what I can do and trust in God to do the rest.
      So, I do desire everyone’s prayers.

      I am also starting at Anytime Fitness on their elliptical machine. Thanks for all this encouragement.
      Kathy

    23. Natasha
      February 6, 2013 AT 12:58 pm

      Hi thanks for the great ideas the novelty of making pancakes and smoothies is running out

    24. Caitlin @ArtemisPrimeWellness
      August 1, 2012 AT 8:51 pm

      Holy crap, that is awesome! I LOVE her! That is seriously big news.

      Also, I’ve heard tons of good stuff about SunWarrior, I’ll have to check it out!

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