The Healthiest Protein Powders for Your Morning Smoothies

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The Healthiest Protein Powders for Your Morning Smoothies
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A scoop of protein powder in your green smoothie doesn’t just make your drink taste better (looking at you, chocolate flavor), but according to studies it could also help stave of hunger until your next meal. However, not all protein powders are created equal, and there are a few things to consider before you choose one.

The two most common categories are plant and whey protein powders—the former is usually derived from peas, hemp, and soy, while whey is a byproduct of milk/cheese production. Dietitian Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD, says both are comparable, as long as you go with a plant product that is high in leucine.

MORE: 101 Ways to Lose a Pound

Beyond that, you should be looking at the nutrition information on each product, because the amount of protein and calories per serving varies across different brands. Spano says there are some ingredients that should be avoided: “I don’t like seeing caffeine unless it’s disclosed clearly on the front of the label, or  glutamine, taurine, creatine, glycine [in protein powder],” she told us, explaining that these ingredients can dilute the quality. “If a protein powder contains this, it has been spiked with amino acids to artificially ramp up the testing for protein.”

In the gallery ahead, we’re spotlighting the highest quality vegan, whey, and organic formulas, breaking down which have the lowest calories and the highest protein content. Keep clicking!

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Common plant-based proteins include soy, pea, and hemp.

Naked Pea Protein Powder, $0.72 per serving

120 calories and 27 grams of protein per 30-gram serving.

Naturade Pea Protein, $1.66 per serve

Contains 140 calories and 20 grams of protein per 36-gram serve.

Vegan Clean Protein Powder, $2.20 per serving

Contains 130 calories and 25 grams of protein per 35-gram serve.

Navitas Naturals Hemp Protein Powder, $1.54 per serve

Contains 120 calories and 12 grams of protein per 30-gram serving.

Whey is what's left over after milk has been curdled and strained.

Naked Whey Protein, $1.18 per serve

Contains 120 calories and 25 grams of protein per 30-gram serve.

Promix Unflavored, $1.05 per serve

Contains 120 calories and 25 grams of protein per 30-gram serve.

NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate, $0.73 per serve

Contains 110 calories and 25 grams of protein per 28-gram serve.

Muscle Milk, $19.99 per 1.93 lb tub

Contains 100 calories and 15 grams of protein per 25-gram serve.

You can also find organic whey and plant-protein powders that are grown and produced without the use of pesticides.

Nutiva Hemp Seed Protein, $0.92 per serve

Contains 90 calories and 15 grams of protein per 30-gram serve.

Aloha Protein, $2.10 per serve

Contains 150 calories and 18 grams of protein per 37-gram serve.

Ka'Chava Vanilla Protein Powder, $3.96 per serve

Contains 30 calories and 22 grams of protein per 31-gram serve.

Epic Protein, $2.13 per serve

Contains 120 calories and 26 grams of protein per 33-gram serve.

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