Protein isn’t just for fitness buffs who want to improve muscle strength and make the most out of their workouts. By: Marie Spano, MS, RD
January 25, 2013
1 of 9Photo: Randy Mayor
Benefits of Protein
This powerful macronutrient has three crucial roles in weight management: It improves long-lasting satiety so you feel full longer, your body burns more calories digesting protein then it does digesting fat or carbohydrate, and protein will help your body preserve muscle mass when you are losing weight.
Our top picks for protein shakes contain no artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils. In addition, each one has at least 15 grams of easy-to-digest, high-quality proteins that delivers the amino acids necessary for building and repairing body cells and tissues. Shoot for a minimum of 20 grams of protein after workouts to stimulate protein synthesis in muscle.
2 of 9Photo Courtesy of Odwalla
Odwalla Super Protein
First up is Odwalla Super Protein. Every 12-oz vegan Odwalla Super Protein drink contains about 250 calories, 15 grams of protein from soy, and at least 6 vitamins and minerals. Odwalla Super Protein comes in vanilla Al’Mondo as well as three gluten-free flavors from a mix of fruit juices and purees. All flavors are packaged in PlantBottle, a fully recyclable plastic bottle made partially from plants.
3 of 9Photo Courtesy of Shamrock Farms
Shamrock Farms Intense Recovery Rockin’ Refuel
Shamrock Farms' Rockin’ Refuel is a 12-oz whey protein-fortified milk beverage sweetened with fructose and sucrose. Milk is naturally nutrient-rich and therefore each 300-calorie strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla varieties contain 20 grams of protein and 9 vitamins and minerals.
4 of 9Photo Courtesy of FRS
FRS Healthy Protein
Each of these 12-oz, 190-calorie whey protein drinks packs 25 grams of whey protein, plant-based antioxidants, and 7 grams of the prebiotic fiber inulin, which improves the flavor and stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. FRS Healthy Protein comes in two flavors: Orange cream and blackberry acai. Both are naturally sweetened with stevia, organic sugar, and white grape juice concentrate.
5 of 9Photo Courtesy of Odwalla
Odwalla Protein Monster
Each 12-oz, gluten-free chocolate and vanilla shake from Odwalla contains about 300 calories, 25 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbs, making these drinks ideal to refill your fuel tank and to build and repair muscle tissue. Each flavor is an excellent source of 6 vitamins and minerals and contains at least 82% organic ingredients, packed in a fully recyclable PlantBottle.
6 of 9Photo Courtesy of Orgain
Orgain organic shakes come in three gluten-free flavors: Chocolate fudge, sweet vanilla bean, and iced café mocha. Each 255-calorie shake is a blend of 16 grams of whey protein, omega-3 fatty acids, plant-based antioxidants, 2 grams of fiber, and 24 vitamins and minerals. Orgain shakes contain only natural flavors and colors, no preservatives, and come in aseptically packaged eco-friendly packs, making them shelf-stable for over one year.
7 of 9Photo Courtesy of CalNatural
Organic CalNatural Svelte is certified gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and kosher. Each of their four 15.9-oz flavors--including chocolate, French vanilla, cappuccino, and spiced -- has 260 calories, 5 grams of the fiber, 16 grams of protein, and 8 vitamins and minerals. It also has 35% of the daily value for calcium and 30% of the daily value for vitamin D. Svelte re-sealable, shelf-stable shakes are naturally sweetened with erythritol and stevia.
8 of 9Photo Courtesy of Bolthouse Farms
Bolthouse Farms Protein PLUS
Each 8-oz serving from Bolthouse Farms contains 16 grams of protein and at least 9 vitamins and minerals (Protein PLUS Vanilla has 20 vitamins and minerals). Each of their four flavors--including vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and mango--are naturally sweetened with a blend of fruit and vegetable juices or sugar.
9 of 9Photo Courtesy of FitPro
FitPro and FitPro Lite
These hormone-free, milk-based drinks are lactose-free due to an ultrafiltration process, which removes this naturally occurring sugar. FitPro is sweetened with all-natural cane juice, stevia, and monk fruit, and flavored with natural vanilla and cocoa. A 17-oz FitPro contains 40 grams of protein while an 11-oz FitPro Light contains 26 grams. Both are gluten free, lactose free, kosher, and an excellent source of 18 vitamins and minerals.