Protein is a great option for helping you stay full between meals, but this macronutrient is essential for lots of other things, too, including building muscle mass and repairing cells. When it comes to eating a healthy diet, protein is definitely an essential ingredient to pay close attention to. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends getting 50 grams of protein per day. And even though there are lots of easy ways to enjoy it (like beans, poultry, and quinoa, to name a few), sometimes when we’re having a busy day, it’s easy to grab whatever’s available without thinking about how the meal plays a role in our overall health. That’s where protein drinks can come in. Filled with plenty of nutrients, it’s a great way to ensure you’re meeting your needs in the protein department, even if you’re on the go.
Types of Protein
Yes, there’s more than one type of protein. Here are the three options to look for when trying to incorporate more protein into your diet.
- Complete proteins: Complete proteins include all nine amino acids. Examples include quinoa, hemp seeds, chia seeds, eggs, pork, and soy.
- Incomplete proteins: Incomplete proteins aren’t a bad thing, they’re just missing some of the necessary amino acids to be considered complete. This category includes lots of plant-based foods like nuts and seeds, beans, and legumes.
- Complementary proteins: The last category of proteins are the complementary kind, in which two or more incomplete proteins combine to make up for the lack of amino acids in the other ingredient. Some popular examples include rice and beans or whole grain bread with a smear of peanut butter. These combos not only taste great together, but also join forces to result in complete proteins.
Top Protein Drink Brands
When it comes to the top protein drink brands, these are the best of the best.
The origin of this supplement brand began when the founder (now a medical doctor) was diagnosed with cancer at age 17. He wasn’t happy with the nutrition shakes available at the time, and eventually started a company to formulate drinks that will help, not hinder, your health.
Iconic Protein doesn’t want you to compromise flavor in the name of nutrition. That’s why it developed a line of high-protein beverages that not only taste great, but are made with GMO-, lactose-, gluten-, and soy-free ingredients.
Known for its line of protein drinks, powders, and other ways to fuel you up, Vega is a go-to brand for plant-based nutrition. Launched in 2001 by a former triathlete, Vega not only supports your health and wellness goals, but is committed to the environment through sustainable farming practices and eco-friendly manufacturing.
Best Non-GMO Protein Drinks
You won’t find any genetically modified ingredients in these protein drinks.
Iconic Protein Chocolate Truffle Grass-Fed Protein Drink
This drink might feel like an indulgence thanks to the cocoa powder, but it’s brimming with 20 grams of grass-fed protein, plus B12 vitamins and 4 grams of dietary fiber. It’s an easy choice for quick breakfasts or post-workout snacks.
Vega Protein Nutritional Shake, Vanilla
Enjoy 20 grams of plant-based protein in this delicious, gluten-free shake. You’ll also enjoy Vitamins A, C, D, and iron, plus dietary fiber in a convenient bottle you can take with you.
Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Shake, Vanilla Bean
This 14-ounce bottle works as a vegan meal replacement or workout fuel. Each drink has 20 grams of protein, calcium, and iron, and is made with organic pea protein.
Top Gluten-Free Protein Drinks
These drinks are deliciously gluten-free and include the protein you need to fuel your lifestyle.
Orgain Plant-Based Protein Shake, Smooth Chocolate
If you love chocolate, this vegan meal replacement is for you. It delivers 21 grams of protein and is made without artificial sweeteners.
Iconic Protein Golden Milk Grass-Fed Protein Drink
You’ll love this creamy protein drink inspired by golden milk. Turmeric and ginger are mixed with grass-fed milk and essential nutrients to help provide natural energy throughout the day.
Vega Protein Nutritional Shake, Chocolate
Here’s a four-pack of a chocolate-flavored beverage you’ll be glad you have on hand. Stash the bottle in your purse or gym bag and enjoy 20 grams of protein per serving, plus fiber and vitamins A and C.
How to Eat More Protein
There are plenty of ways to add protein into your daily diet. Get our recipes and tips on the blog.
Orange Julius Protein Smoothie Recipe
This smoothie might taste like a favorite childhood drink, but it’s a more wholesome option thanks to vanilla protein powder, fresh juices, and coconut milk.
How to Add Protein to Every Meal
From breakfast to dessert (and every meal and snack in between) there are lots of easy ways to make sure you get enough protein throughout the day.
How to Make a Smoothie
There’s an art to making the perfect smoothie, and this post takes you through the basics so your morning meal can be one to remember.