Liquid nutrition: protein drinks review + money saving tip
Liquid nutrition market seems to be booming lately. From protein powders to shelf stable shakes to refrigerated protein drinks, the choice is getting bigger and bigger.
I've picked out some new products from Whole Foods refrigerated section the other day to try them out and see if they are worth all the hype. I'm also reviewing one of the shelf-stable protein shakes which tend to be less expensive.
Evolution Fresh Protein Power Greens - $3.99
Nutrition info per bottle (15.2 oz) : 320 calories, 1g fat, 49 g carbs, 33 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 25 g protein
Ingredients: Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Cucumber Juice, Mango Puree, Whey Protein Concentrate (Whey [milk], Sunflower Lecithin [an Emulsifier]), Lemon Juice, Spinach Juice, Romaine Lettuce Juice, Banana Puree, Kale Juice.
Pros: Tastes pretty good. You can taste both the fruits and some of the veggies. It's quite refreshing and filling at the same time. Good option for post-workout meal replacement on the go.
Cons: High in sugar - although natural it still packs about 8 teaspoons of sugar. Not a good option for those with poor insulin sensitivity.
Overall verdict: OK choice for occasional on-the-go post-workout meal replacement but due to high sugar content maybe best suited for glucose-depleting activities such as 1+ hour training sessions, long runs, hikes, bike rides, etc.
Evolution Fresh Organic Greens & Kale - $3.99
Nutrition info per bottle (15.2 oz) : 50 calories, 0 g fat, 10 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 4 g protein
Ingredients: Organic juices (celery, cucumber, spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, lemon, parsley).
Pros: I seriously can't think of any. Bought it instead of a serving of veggies with my lunch and seriously regretted it.
Cons: Taste. Just raw and grassy. Although it has 8 g of sugar I don't know how that's possible because there was no sweetness to it whatsoever. It begs for half an apple or orange to add some sweetness.
Overall verdict: Save your money, I couldn't even finish the bottle.
Koia Plant Powered Nutrition Vanilla Bean & Cacao Bean - $5.99
Nutrition info per bottle (12 oz): 170 calories, 5 g fat, 13 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 18 g protein
Ingredients: almond milk (water, almonds), Koia proprietary blend (brown rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein), cane sugar, monk fruit extract, vanilla extract, vanilla bean powder, sunflower lecithin, nutmeg, sea salt, locust bean gum, glean gum, and natural flavors.
Pros: Tastes amazing! I love the vanilla bean flavor with a delicate hint of nutmeg. Pure indulgence. Also surprisingly very filling, I'm assuming, thanks to the fat coming from almonds. Cacao Bean flavor tastes like chocolate ice cream.
Cons: Lacks veggies. 17% of daily sodium intake so not the best option for those with high blood pressure. Also, pricey.
Overall verdict: I'm almost addicted to this stuff. And surprisingly, my husband really likes it too (and he hates almond milk!). Expensive, but worth it from time to time. This would be my go to protein shake if I was on the go.
Orgain Organic Protein - Creamy Chocolate Fudge - $3-$3.50
Nutrition info per bottle (11 oz): 150 calories, 3 g fat, 8 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 5 g sugar alcohols, 1g fiber, 25 g protein
Ingredients: Filtered water, Orgain Organic Protein Blend (organic grass fed milk protein concentrate, organic whey protein concentrate), organic erythritol, organic cocoa, organic high oleic sunflower oil, organic natural flavors, organic rice bran extract, potassium citrate, tricalcium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, organic inulin, potassium chloride, organic locust bean, glean gum, sodium phosphate, organic stevia, monk fruit extract.
Pros: Organic grass fed protein, shelf stable so you can keep it in your gym bag, office, take with you on trips, etc. My husband loved it and said it tasted like chocolate milk.
Cons: Although it says "no preservatives" on the box, I assume some of the stuff in it does preserve it's freshness making it shelf stable.
Overall verdict: Good on the go shake. You can pack it in your checked luggage and take on trips. Definitely tastes better cold, but even with that it still left me with a weird aftertaste I couldn't quite describe. Not bad, just not my favorite. I prefer their plain protein powder mixed with water.
MONEY SAVING TIP:
Combine protein powder you like + greens supplement + water
(My favorite products below)
2 scoops of Orgain + 1 scoop of greens + water =
180 calories, 4 g fat, 13 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 5 g sugar alcohols, 23 g protein
$ 2 per serving (based on Amazon prices)
Notes: You can also drink them separately. I drink greens with 16 oz of water between breakfast & lunch and protein powder with 12-16 oz water after a workout.
Protein powder with greens such as this one below
1 scoop + water =
100 calories, 1 g fat, 3 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 20 g protein
$1.50 per serving (based on Amazon price)
Note: I highly recommend getting a sample of any plant based protein powders are they usually have a different taste and consistency compared to whey or soy products. You can buy samples of this at Whole Foods or Nature's Temptations.