Food and Nutrition

The 10 Healthiest Protein Powders You Need to Try

Photo: Pixabay/Milivanily
In an ideal world, you'd get all of the important nutrients your body needs, including protein, from whole foods, says Manhattan nutritionist Sharon Richter, RD, "but there are always situations where it's useful to have protein shakes. It's just convenient and easy."

There's just one little problem. Choosing a protein powder can be complicated, thanks to many bodybuilding brands using low-quality ingredients and then adding in all kinds of unnecessary, unhealthy...stuff, like fructose, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors. "The best question to ask yourself is, 'what has ingredients that are the simplest and are things that we know?'" Richter explains. In case you have better things to do than read New Yorker-story-length ingredient labels, the info is all here for you.

Ahead are 10 healthy protein powders (including vegan options), so you can feel really good about blending them up.

Healthiest Protein Powders

naked whey protein
Nakey Whey — $95.00

It really doesn’t get any simpler than Naked’s line of one-ingredient powders from a variety of sources. Naked Whey is just whey protein concentrate; Naked Goat is goat whey protein concentrate; Naked Pea is yellow pea protein. And the company’s ingredient sourcing is top-notch—as in the whey comes from grass-fed cows’ milk, the peas are non-GMO, and everything is processed in the cleanest way possible. “Any are fine—pick one based on allergies or preference,” Richter says. You’ll notice the difference in terms of taste, too. No weird sweetness or cardboard-reminiscent aftertaste, here.


  • Simple, only one ingredient
  • Variety of protein options
  • 25g of protein in each serving
  • No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors


  • Only available in large sizes

Cost: $1.19/ounce

What reviewers say: “This protein truly lives up to what it’s preaching – flavorless and versatile in application. Regardless of what I’ve added it to, there’s no awkward flavors to worry about. I mix it into protein shakes, fruit smoothies, a bowl of breakfast yogurt and granola; I’ve actually made protein banana bread with this stuff and it came out fantastic.” —Amazon reviewer

Body Ecology Probiotic Protein Shake Powder
Body Ecology Probiotic Protein Shake — $58.00

“It’s like I went to a juice bar and told them what to put in,” Richter jokes of how close Body Ecology’s ingredients are to whole foods, even if the list is a little longer than it needs to be. Think pea protein concentrate paired with bonus health boosters like organic mushrooms, which have great health benefits, and kelp. And for those who have digestion issues with straight protein, it’s fermented and comes with probiotics. They’ve kind of thought of everything, but it’ll cost you.


  • Plant-based and vegan
  • Probiotic and organic
  • Unflavored
  • Rice and pea protein


  • Lower amount of protein, at 15g per serving
  • Expensive

Cost: $3.13/ounce

What reviewers say: “Smells and tastes delicious.” —Amazon customer

Aloha Protein
Aloha Protein — $24.00

Aloha’s powder provides complete protein for vegans (which is still not easy to come by) via a mix of pea, pumpkin seed, and hemp seed. It’s made with almost all organic ingredients, and has USDA certification. Because Aloha only uses real foods in the formulation, even the flavoring is healthy, and comes from things like vanilla bean and cinnamon, so it tastes way better than your standard powder, too.


  • Organic and natural ingredients
  • Vegan, paleo, and keto-friendly


  • Slightly lower grams of protein per serving (18g)
  • Only comes in flavored versions

Cost: $1.31/ounce

What reviewers say: “We love love love this protein powder! It’s a complete, healthy protein. It’s all natural and has no artificial ingredients. This was a must for me when I was looking for a new protein powder to start using.” —Amazon customer

ProMix Grass-Fed Whey Protein
ProMix Grass-Fed Whey Protein — $80.00

Created by a top trainer-registered dietitian (who better?), ProMix is a favorite among in-the-know weight lifters and CrossFit athletes because of its super high quality standards. Made with whey protein sourced directly from small farms raising grass-fed cows, it’s free of anything extra you’d want to avoid—like colors, flavors, soy, or gluten—and employs a processing and filtration method that ensures the product is ultra pure. It comes in an Unflavored version and also in Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Vanilla if you’ve got more of a sweet tooth.


  • Grass-fed protein
  • 25g of protein/serving
  • No artificial flavors


  • Flavored versions contain sugar

Cost: $0.90/ounce

What reviewers say: “I bought the vanilla, and it mixed very well—I just use a shaker with water post workouts—and started incorporating it into more foods like smoothies, banana-based “ice creams,” oatmeal, etc. It has a very pleasant vanilla taste with no aftertaste. The sunflower lecithin is probably the best emulsifier for any GI issues you might have and helps to keep the product in suspension. I am not a dietitian—I am just providing my personal experience with it; you can investigate sunflower lecithin and other emulsifiers for yourself. So, I have since bought 5lb tubs of raw chocolate and peanut butter as well. All taste great, and there are only slight variations in calories, all from different amounts of fats. You will also get slightly different amino acid amounts depending on the flavor.” —Amazon customer

Vega Protein and Greens
Vega Protein and Greens — $30.00

Another great pick for vegetarians and vegans, Vega’s formulation starts with a blend of plant-based proteins (pea, brown rice, and sacha inchi protein), and then adds in some extra greens (including kale, alfalfa, broccoli, and spinach powder) to help you easily increase your daily vegetable intake. It includes the typically hard-to-know-what-they-are “natural flavors,” but in super tiny amounts, and the company also breaks down the amino acid profile for you on the label, if that’s something you’re into.


  • Plant-based and vegan
  • 20g protein/serving
  • Includes additional greens
  • Rice and pea protein


  • Flavored versions contain stevia

Cost: $1.15/ounce

What reviewers say: “My go-to protein powder. Great flavor, mixes well into oatmeal and smoothies, and smells delicious. A bit chalky if you’re just mixing it with water, but otherwise this is by far my favorite protein mix-in. The added bonus is the serving of vegetables that you get with each and every scoop.” —Amazon customer

Orgain Organic Protein Powder
Orgain Organic Protein Powder

Orgain was developed by a doctor and cancer survivor, so it uses organic, clean, food-based ingredients. The protein powder is certified organic and contains a blend of organic pea protein, brown rice protein, and chia seed. It comes in a variety of flavors, including unsweetened, vanilla, and chocolate, as well as strawberries and cream and pumpkin spice. You can also get the protein powder in travel packs to make it easy to take on-the-go.


  • Organic and vegan
  • 21g protein/serving
  • Includes 5g of prebiotic fiber


  • Flavored versions contain stevia

Cost: $0.83/ounce

What reviewers say: “We have been drinking this every morning since it arrived. The flavor is phenomenal! And it gives just enough energy to pump you up for the day’s workout. It is advertised as ‘never gritty’ but there is a small amount of grit, especially when not prepared in a shaker bottle or blender. Blending, so far, is the best way to make it as smooth as possible. Considering that it is vegan (and therefore dairy free) and has a good amount of calories when blended with your choice of plant milk, it is really well worth the money for me.” —Amazon customer

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein
Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein — $34.00

In addition to being organic, Garden of Life’s plant-based protein also uses raw ingredients (pea protein, sprouted brown rice, amaranth sprout, buckwheat sprout, and more), which helps preserve the proteins and their amino acid integrity. It also includes an organic prebiotic fiber blend and a raw probiotic & enzyme blend to help with digestive health. The protein powder comes in unsweetened, vanilla, vanilla chai, and chocolate flavors.


  • Organic and vegan
  • 22g protein/serving
  • Includes probiotics and enzymes
  • Contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K


  • Flavored versions contain stevia

Cost: $1.77/ounce

What reviewers say: “I have purchased this over and over again, over the course of maybe 2 to 3 years now. Having a short background in nutrition makes me analytical and skeptical of so many products – but this one holds up in theory and in my stomach. This is the only protein powder that does not upset my stomach, and that, from a scientific and nutritional point of view, actually delivers nutrients and amino acids to the body without harmful byproducts, such as those that can be found in cesian or whey blends, like casonorphines.” —Amazon customer

KOS Vegan Protein Powder
KOS Vegan Protein Powder — $50.00

Almost all of the ingredients in KOS’s protein powder are certified organic, and the protein is made from a blend of pea, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin seed, and chia seed. Plus, there’s a chockfull of additional vitamins and minerals *(iron , vitamin E, vitamin B12, and more) as well as an enzyme blend to help with digestion.


  • Organic and vegan
  • 20g protein/serving
  • Includes vitamins, minerals, and enzymes
  • Contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K


  • Includes some added sugars
  • Slightly higher in calories

Cost: $1.21/ounce

What reviewers say: “High praise for a truly great product! What’s great about this powder is the doesn’t try to be too many things all rolled into one. It’s simply a complete vegan, organic protein powder with natural flavors and added enzymes. It doesn’t pretend to be a powdered v8 or other all in one meal replacement. You can drink it straight with water and it tastes pretty good and definitely eliminates hunger cravings, but it’s best when I add it to my morning fruit and almond milk smoothie. It adds protein and a consistency that allowed me to stay more satisfied longer than just the fruit alone. While it’s a great standalone protein shake, I think it’s the ideal compliment to other foods.” —Amazon customer

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides — $31.00

If you’re looking to increase the collagen (which can support healthy bones, joints, hair, and skin) in your diet but don’t feel like drinking bone broth, this Vital Proteins product contains both grass-fed collagen and protein in one. Bonus: it contains 100 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C to help with immunity, too.


  • Non-GMO and paleo-friendly
  • Contains 20g of collagen and 100% daily value of vitamin C
  • Only 70 calories


  • Slightly lower protein/serving (18g)
  • Not vegan or vegetarian

Cost: $1.56/ounce

What reviewers say: “First, I bought the single serve and shook it up in a 16oz water bottle, then prayed I would not throw up. Barely and I mean barely any taste whatsoever. Moved on to purchasing a single serve blender—poured 200 ml of organic milk, a splash of carnation milk, 1tspn organic agave, 1tspn organic cocoa powder, 1 scoop collagen powder and 1 scoop maca powder..AGAIN you can’t even taste the powder and no after taste. Results…joint pain gone! Hair growth 1 inch in 1 month, nails are stronger (I like short natural nails), skin–bye bye fine lines and fine wrinkles (the ones you see in the 5x magnifying mirror). For the sake of clarity, my goal was to address some joint pain. The ancillary advantages/outcomes was not what I was seeking—but I am not complaining. I make the shake everyday and drink it after my Pilates and elliptical workout in the am.” —Amazon customer

Shaklee Life Shake Plant Protein Powder
Shaklee Life Shake Plant Protein Powder — $42.00

Shaklee’s products go “beyond organic,” as the company undergoes strict screening beyond the United States Pharmacopeia standards to ensure the purity and potency of its ingredients. The result is a protein powder that includes pea protein and chia and pumpkin seed protein, essential vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and fiber to help with digestion. You can even use it as a low-glycemic, meal replacement.


  • Vegan, non-GMO, and kosher
  • 20g protein/serving
  • Includes 24 essential vitamins and minerals
  • Includes 6g of fiber


  • Includes added sugars
  • Slightly pricier

Cost: $2.21/ounce

What reviewers say: “I love this stuff! First, I don’t like protein powders because of taste and gastro side effects. This is the absolute first one that I have tried that I love. No ill effects probably because it’s non whey and non soy, tastes great, and has pre and probiotics included which is a plus.” —Amazon customer

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