If you’re a fitness enthusiast, you already know the benefits of protein powders. But even if you aren’t working out every day, they can help with weight loss, with studies finding they can help you lose weight without losing muscle.
But if you’ve ever tried a protein powder, you know they can vary in both taste and consistency. Taste is an individual thing. You may prefer a sweeter, more milkshake-like taste, while someone else may prefer more of a mild, flavored-water taste. When it comes to price, it’s also important to consider how much powder you’ll need. One powder may seem like a better deal because it comes in a bigger container, but we found that some in smaller packages only required one scoop versus two. This is especially important if you prefer to toss your protein powder in your gym bag and make it on the go since a large tub will require you to scoop out a smaller amount for portability or keep your canister in your trunk.
After mixing and tasting a variety of powders in water, we narrowed it down to our favorites, both for taste and consistency. Here are our favorites.
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The Best Overall
Why We Like It: Even when mixed with just water, we were impressed at how thick and frothy this shake was. It even had that delicious foam topping. In our testing, we found that it is prone to clumping, so with this one, you’ll need to shake it a little longer or, if possible, use a blender to mix it up.
The Best Value
Why We Like It: This is by far one of the best protein shakes we’ve ever tried. In our taste test, we found it to be sweet with no aftertaste. Basically, it’s a thinner version of a real milkshake, even when mixed with only water. If you want to add your protein powder to sweet items like pudding or ice cream, this is the protein powder for you.
Why We Like It: You aren’t always at home when you’re drinking a protein shake. What we liked best about this protein powder was that it was easier to take along with you, thanks to a smaller size. Perhaps the biggest benefit we discovered in our testing, though, is that you can “instantize” this powder, which means simply stirring it into water with a spoon.
Tips and Advice
- You aren’t limited to making “shakes” with your protein powder. In fact, you can add it to oatmeal, cereal, ice cream or any other food that blends with your chosen flavor. Still, long-term, you’ll probably find it’s most convenient to find a powder that tastes good mixed with just water.
- If you won’t always be mixing your protein powder at home, consider how you’ll transport it. Most protein powders require two fairly large scoops for even a small amount of water.
- Although most protein powders taste best when blended, a good shaker can thicken up water- or milk-based shakes, as long as you shake for at least 30 seconds.
- You may prefer the consistency of a thicker shake but consider when you’ll be drinking it. Chances are, it’s either before or after a hot, sweaty workout. A thinner water-based shake may be more refreshing and easier to get down.