The 7 Best Plant-Based Protein Powders, According to Exercise Experts

These are powerful protein powders made for vegans and vegetarians alike.

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January 18, 2022

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Mid adult black woman enjoys light upper body workout before at-home cycling session

Photo by: Grace Cary/Getty Images

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Choosing a plant-based protein powder can be tricky since some may be missing important elements needed for building muscle. Exercise enthusiasts need to look for a product with all nine essential amino acids (EAAs), the building blocks of protein, including those that help you build and maintain lean body mass. Here are some of the best plant-based protein powders that sports nutrition experts reach for.


This brand features a combo of pea and pumpkin seed protein, along with digestive enzymes and probiotics and totals 21g of protein per scoop. Ladder also has third-party testing from NSF Certified for Sport, a company that verifies the product is labeling properly and free of banned substances.

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Soy based protein powders are one-stop shopping for all your essential amino acids — it is one of the few plant-based exceptions, meaning it’s a plant-based food that like animal products, offers all nine essential amino acids. Look for brands like Bob’s Red Mill and NOW Foods.

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Chris Mohr, PhD, RD of opts for this plant-based powder from Laird Superfoods. "I mix and match my protein options. One I've really been enjoying is RENEW with 19 grams of protein from a mix of Organic Sacha Inchi, Organic Hemp, Organic Pumpkin Seed, and Organic Cranberry Seed Protein. Along with a bonus of a variety of functional mushrooms added, this one is solid and delivers with taste as well. It even offers 4 grams of fiber to boot."

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Affordable, accessible (sold all over the place) and most importantly, tasty! Vega is also NSF certified and boasts an impressive 30 grams of protein per serving. It comes in a wide variety flavors including berry, mocha and peanut butter.

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Quickly becoming the new "it" plant protein, pumpkin seed derived products add nutty flavor and 5 grams of protein per tablespoon. It is a great addition to shakes and protein balls plus it adds important minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc.

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This organic, reliable and 3rd party tested brand has 15 grams of protein from seeds and legumes, plus a plant-based recovery blend with antioxidant-rich ingredients to help fight some of that post exercise inflammation.

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Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD, a sports nutritionist for the Atlanta Braves encourages a variety of plant-based proteins. She recommends Sprouts for your bod and your wallet. "Sprouts farmers market vegan protein powder offers a mix of plant proteins (therefore containing all EAAs) and natural nutrient-rich ingredients, plus great taste at an affordable price."

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Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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