If you’re working out regularly (or, you know, just for the summer), chances are you’re consuming some sort of protein supplement. Protein powder can get ridiculously expensive. That’s why I’ve curated this collection of cheap protein powders (when priced per ounce) that still do it all.
We know we need it, but what exactly is protein?
Protein is part of every cell in our bodies. Our hair and nails are mostly made of it, and our bodies use it to build and repair muscle tissue. We also use protein to produce hormones, enzymes and other chemicals. Protein is necessary for our bones, cartilage, skin, blood, and muscles.
Protein completes the macronutrient trio along with fat and carbohydrates. This just means the body needs a lot of it. Unlike fat and carbs, our bodies don’t store protein. It can’t just pull some when it needs it for those daily functions. (It can, actually, do this with fat and carbs.)
So, how much do you need?
It depends on your weight. Multiply your weight by 0.36 grams per pound. Roughly translated based on averages, this equals out to 56 grams per day for sedentary men and 46 for women. If you are exercising, however, your body will require more. A studied recommendation is 1 gram per pound of body weight if you are actively gaining muscle mass.
Bonus points: if you are trying to lose weight, eating protein can boost your metabolic rate and decrease your appetite.
Finally, a pro tip: Buy a cheap protein shaker if you don’t have one already. You can thank me later. Then, if you want your protein to taste better, mix it with milk or a milk substitute instead of water. It tastes MUCH better than mixed with water. Like, think “milkshake”. Try unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or my favorite, cashew milk. You can also get creative with recipes; protein pancakes are the bomb.com and protein powder and smoothies are a match made in heaven.
And with that, here’s 10 cheap protein powders for 2018.
1. EAS 100% Pure Whey Protein Powder, 5lb Tub, Various Flavors
Maximize your lean body mass with this gigantic 5 pound tub of protein powder. It’s the best bang for your buck. One serving of this 100% whey protein powder provides a whopping 30 grams of high quality protein. This will help build muscle and you’ll recover faster from workouts. Each serving of protein powder also delivers 7.3 grams of BCAAs to help repair muscle damage. Available in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
Price: $38.56 for a 5 lb tub of chocolate powder (5 percent off MSRP). Free shipping.
- Cheap AF
- No added fillers or sugars
- Chocolate whey protein powder, when mixed with milk, tastes remarkably like a milkshake
- 6 net carbs per serving (1g fiber), 150 calories
- Mixes well with milk and milk substitutes
- 5 lbs of protein can last 3-4 months even taken daily
- Doesn’t mix as well with water
- Some users report bloating, but all around reviews are very positive
2. Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
USDA Organic, gluten free, kosher, vegan, non-GMO, soy free, dairy free, carrageenan free, no artificial ingredients. If you are looking for the perfect cheap protein powder for just about everyone, this is gonna be it.
Enjoy 21 grams of organic plant based protein is sourced from organic peas, brown rice, and chia seeds. 5 grams of organic fiber and 3 grams of net carbs (0 sugar) make this 150 calorie protein powder perfect for low carb dieters (or any dieters, really.) Use on-the-go as a meal replacement, in smoothies, or post-workouts. Comes in yummy flavors like Creamy Chocolate Fudge and Vanilla Bean.
Price: $22.22 for 2.03 lbs. Free shipping with Amazon Prime.
- Doesn’t clump when mixing
- Actually tastes good, which is a hard task for any protein powder let alone plant based protein
- Non-gritty texture
- Great meal substitute
- This is sweetened with stevia, and may be too sweet for some people. However, there is no stevia aftertaste.
- May cause digestive upset in those who are sensitive
3. Cinnamon Bun Flavored Protein Energy Powder by Optimum Nutrition (+ 3 more fun flavors)
This morning supplement has all you need to get your day started with 20 grams of quality protein and 120mg of caffeine from natural sources (equivalent to one cup of coffee). Combine with milk or water and take this fun-flavored protein shake on-the-go for when you need a boost of fuel and energy. It’s CINNAMON BUN FLAVORED. Also comes in delicious Vanilla Latte, Chocolate, and Mocha Cappuccino. (Try the cinnamon bun flavor in your oatmeal for something different.)
Price: $17.87 for 1.6 lbs (5 percent off MSRP). Free shipping with Amazon Prime.
- Blend of caffeine, green tea extract, protein and vitamins, especially B vitamins
- Mixes well
- Yummy taste, not too sweet — just right. Low carb, too.
- Great breakfast substitute if you’re in a rush
- Many people say this is the best tasting protein powder they’ve ever used
- Lots of niacin. Niacin can make your body flush but it’s not necessarily bad for you — you will just be hot.
- One reviewer said there wasn’t enough caffeine. As someone who is sensitive to caffeine, this is a plus for me, but it could be a con to others. Just drink another cup of coffee!
4. Designer Protein LITE, Low Calorie Natural Protein, Vanilla Cupcake, 9.03 Ounce
Looking for low calorie protein powder? This one’s for you. 10 grams of GMO-free soy protein isolate and whey protein blend mixed…