The 8 Best Protein Powders for Women, According to a Dietitian

Sprout Living Simple Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder is our top pick

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Protein powders can be a convenient option to boost your protein intake, particularly for women that have difficulty meeting their protein needs from food alone. The Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for healthy women and can increase to as much as 1.2-2.0 grams/kilogram for those that perform regular endurance and resistance training, to support optimal muscle repair and growth.

While it is best to focus on meeting your protein needs from whole real foods including poultry, lean meat, fish, eggs, diary products, nuts, seeds, and beans, protein powders can be a helpful option to have on hand. Try adding protein powder to your morning smoothie to boost satiety or shake up a scoop with your choice of milk to help promote muscle recovery after a workout.

Depending on your dietary preferences and nutritional needs, there are a wide range of protein powder varieties on the market including animal based products like whey and collagen, as well as plant-based sources like soy, pea, and hemp. In general, it is best to look for powders with a simple ingredient list and limited added sugars and artificial sweeteners. When selecting our top list of protein powders for women, we considered overall nutritional content, ingredients, protein type and taste.

Verywell Fit Approved Protein Powders for Women

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Best Overall: Sprout Living Pumpkin Protein

Sprout Living Pumpkin Seed Protein

Courtesy of Amazon

What do buyers say? 82% of 800+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Sprout Living's Simple Sunflower Seed Protein Powder tops our list with 20 grams of plant-based made from pumpkin seeds with no other ingredients added. Organic, non-GMO sunflower seeds are cold-pressed to remove some of the seed's oil and keep all of the nutrients while concentrating protein.

One serving provides 15 grams of plant-based protein, 2 grams of fiber, 2-percent of the daily recommended intake of calcium and 6-percent of the recommendation of iron intake. Optimal calcium and iron intake are critical for women to protect bone density and replenish iron that can be lost during menstruation.

What Experts Say

"In order to absorb all of the plant-based iron, use this powder in a smoothie or shake that has a high vitamin C ingredient such as kiwi, papaya, cauliflower, strawberries, kale or of course, oranges." Sydney Greene, RD, MS

Best Budget: NOW Foods Organic Pea Protein

NOW Foods Organic Pea Protein

Amazon

Third-party tested products are the safer choice when picking a dietary supplement which is why NOW Sports Pure Pea is the best budget pick. NOW Sports products participate in Informed Choice testing, a quality assurance program for sports nutrition products and suppliers to the sports nutrition industry. Informed-Sport-Certified products are blind-sampled at the retail level up to four times annually, and testing results can be found at Informed-Sport.

Organic, non-GMO peas are used to produce a powder featuring 15 grams of protein per serving, a smart choice for anyone with food allergies or intolerances. Protein aside, this product also offers 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, a critical mineral for women.

Best Whey: Raw Organic Whey Whey Protein Powder

Raw Organic Whey Protein Powder

Courtesy of Amazon

When looking for a protein powder produced from animal sources, quality is extremely important. Raw Organic Whey is USDA certified organic and sources their whey from cows raised without the use of bovine growth hormone (BGH/BST). Raw Organic Whey does 3rd Party Lab testing for pesticides, heavy metals, antibiotics, mycotoxins, and melamine from third party testing directly on their website for complete transparency.

One serving is less than 100 calories and contains 21 grams of protein as well as 15 percent of the recommended daily intake for calcium.

Best Organic: Garden of Life Raw Organic Fit Powder, Vanilla

Garden of Life Organic Meal Replacement

 Courtesy of Amazon

Garden of Life's Raw Fit Powder offers broad-spectrum organic nutrient density. Featuring high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as the antioxidant Vitamin E and mood-boosting Vitamin D, there are also 8 grams of fiber per serving and multiple probiotics and digestive enzymes that can help curb hunger and optimize digestion.

In addition to green coffee extract, this powder contains Ashwagandha, an herb used for stress management. If taking any prescriptions, check in with your health care provider to prevent supplement-medication interactions.

Best Vegan: Philosophie Cacao Magic

Philosophie Cacao Magic

Courtesy of Amazon

It is difficult to find a flavored protein powder that tastes good but is not overwhelming. Philosophie's Cacao Magic Superfood Protein Powder is just as delicious as it is nutrient-dense. Using a base of organic hemp protein, Philosophie also combines raw, organic cacao and chia seeds for a mega nutrient boost. The combination of these three ingredients provides 10 grams of plant-based protein, 20 percent of the daily recommended intake for iron and 2 grams of fiber for only 55 calories.

Philosophie also adds organic maca, an edible root that is known as an adaptogen for its ability to help the body resist stress. Another stress fighter and energy booster featured in this product is reishi, a medicinal mushroom known to boost immunity and energy. Mix this product with warm nut milk for a tasty, energy-boosting late afternoon snack, or use it in a smoothie or with oatmeal for a satisfying and energizing breakfast.

Best Low-Calorie: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

4.9
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder

With only 70 calories per serving, Vital Protein packs a potent nutrient punch. Featuring 18 grams of protein per serving, consumers also get a dose of immune-boosting Vitamin C and 20 grams of collagen which is suggested to help support hair, skin, and nail health. Though the clinical research to support this claim is shaky, many consumer reviews support claims stating improvement in thinning hair, brittle nails, and dull skin.

Vital Proteins puts extra care into the sourcing of their protein. The cows used for the collagen peptides were raised in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership 5-step animal welfare rating standards, an important quality to look for when purchasing protein powders sourced from animal ingredients.

Best for Building Muscle: Bodylogix Natural Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder

Bodylogix Natural Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder

Courtesy of Amazon

Muscle building is done most efficiently and successfully when all nine essential amino acids are consumed in adequate amounts throughout the day. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. As a result, they must come from food. If a protein powder is used as a post-workout snack or even as a meal replacement and muscle building is the goal, consumers will want to look for products that contain all of the essential amino acids.

Body Logix features a complete amino acid profile meaning it contains all of the nine essential amino acids. Sourced from grass-fed cows, Body Logix Whey Protein Powder is non-GMO and NSF certified gluten-free. It is also produced in a peanut-free facility making this an excellent choice for consumers with severe peanut allergies.

Best for Paleo: Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein

Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein

Courtesy of Amazon

The Paleo Diet has been and continues to be a very trendy diet focusing on aligning one's way of eating with the way our hunter-gather ancestors ate thousands of years ago. The Paleo Diet promotes the avoidance of processed foods and additives such as artificial sweeteners and flavorings.

Ancient Nutrition's Pure Bone Broth Protein is made from chicken bone broth concentrate. Bone broth has been touted throughout integrative and holistic health and wellness circles as an inflammation-fighting, gut-healing food. However, there isn't any clinical research on humans that confirms these beliefs.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a tasteless protein powder for women that mixes well into water, coffee, or your favorite smoothie, try Sprout Living's Unflavored Pumpkin Protein Powder (view at Amazon) or Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (view at Amazon). If you prefer a bit more flavor, try Garden of Life's Vanilla Raw Organic Fit Powder (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in a Protein Powder for Women

Protein Type: 

There are several different sources of protein, the most common of which are whey and soy. Whey is often viewed as the best option for day-to-day use, as it's easy for the body to digest and contains all essential amino acids. Soy, on the other hand, can help build bone mass and may reduce high cholesterol, though more research is needed. However, there are also egg, milk, rice, pea, and hemp protein-based powders to consider.

Health Goals: 

Different protein powders are designed for different purposes. Some are designed to help meet basic daily protein needs, while others are great for women looking to build muscle. Certain ones can serve as meal replacements. The outcome you're looking for should play a big role in which powder you pick.

Taste: 

There's nothing worse than buying a big container of protein powder, only to discover you hate the taste. Some products are unbearably chalky, so make sure to read reviews of the powder before buying to ensure people like the consistency and flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best protein powder for women for weight loss?

    Weight loss is highly individual, so what works for one woman may not work for another. In general, this holds true for protein powders; however, selecting a protein powder with minimal ingredients that's high in protein and low in calories and carbohydrates may promote weight loss. For weight loss, consider how you will use the protein powder—as a protein boost or in a shake as a meal replacement—when you select the optimal product. Collagen powder is a great way to boost protein intake without tons of extra calories. It mixes well into a fruit and vegetable smoothie to make a meal, but may not be enough on its own. If you prefer to mix a powder with water or almond milk, you may need a more complex whey or plant-based protein powder.

  • What is the best protein powder for keto?

    A great keto protein powder is low (or free) of carbohydrates and sugar. Look for a protein powder that is high in protein and low in carbs and sugar but is free of artificial sweeteners and flavors that may cause stomach upset.

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5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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