12 Best Substitutes for Whey Protein

Substitutes for Whey Protein
Image by ajay_suresh via Flickr

Whey protein may be the most popular protein powder among the fitness community, but it isn’t the only one.

Whether you have an allergy to whey or want to try something new, there are plenty of alternative protein powders that you can try, each with its benefits and drawbacks.

Check out this list of substitutes for whey protein below!

1. Pea Protein

Pea protein is easy to find and usually well-tolerated, a great plant-based alternative to whey. It’s also a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids your body needs.

Pea protein can be used in shakes, smoothies, and baking recipes. Some people will use it as an egg substitute in vegan baked goods. 

Quinoa

High in quality proteins, quinoa is another option for those who want plant-based substitutes for whey protein powder.

Rice Protein: One of the most popular vegan alternatives to animal proteins like meat or eggs, rice protein powders are high in lysine, which helps promote healthy skin and hair growth. 

A straightforward way to get more protein is adding another meal like quinoa (1 cup cooked with 10 grams of protein) into your day.

Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair. You can easily make this grain into a bowl by cooking it with beans (black beans have the most protein per ounce), veggies, avocado, and dressing.

One last suggestion is to add almonds to your breakfast smoothie – they are rich in calcium and healthy fats necessary for maintaining good heart health too!

2. Wheat Germ Powder

Made from whole wheat kernels that have been crushed into powder form, wheat germ is one of many alternatives for those with dairy allergies or sensitivities (or anyone looking for some extra fiber).  

3. Hemp Protein

If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly protein powder, hemp protein is among the excellent substitutes for whey protein. It’s also high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a heart-healthy choice. Hemp protein powder can be used in smoothies, baked goods, and coffee creamer. 

The taste might take some getting used to for some people, so if you are new to hemp protein, start with a small amount at first. In addition, the texture may not work well for some recipes that call for whey protein. 

4. Rice Protein

You’ll need to find a brand that’s been cold processed or micro-filtered because rice protein has many health benefits from processing methods like those two.

Rice protein has a more earthy flavor than most other proteins, so it may not work well in sweet recipes like cakes or brownies where the essential vanilla flavoring. 

However, rice protein works well in savory dishes like soups and stews, where the earthiness helps balance out other flavors like salt, onion, or garlic. As a bonus, rice protein contains all nine essential amino acids and some vitamins and minerals. 

5. Pea Protein

Pea protein is made from yellow peas and typically comes in either yellow or white varieties. White pea protein usually has fewer carbohydrates, less fat, and fewer calories than yellow pea protein.

Most brands of pea protein contain mostly soluble fibers (roughly 8 grams per serving), which help support healthy cholesterol levels. 

The downside is that the flavor profile tends to be bland (so it won’t do much good on its own). There are ways to mask the taste, though. Adding chocolate sauce or strawberries can make it less noticeable.  

6. Flaxseed and Chia Seed Pudding

Mixing flaxseed and chia seeds creates a delicious and nutritious pudding perfect for post-workout recovery. Combine each source with almond milk, sweeten to taste, and refrigerate for at least an hour. You can also add in some fruit or spices for extra flavor.

If you’re looking for even more protein, you can add a scoop of plant-based protein powder. Mix it with flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, coffee, peanut butter, or cherry! 

7. Chickpeas  

Chickpeas are a great source of vegan protein. One cup of cooked chickpeas has about 15 grams of protein.

They’re also a good source of fiber and contain essential vitamins and minerals, making them one of the perfect substitutes for whey protein.

You can use chickpeas in various ways, such as adding them to salads, soups, or pasta dishes. You can also make your hummus or roasted chickpeas as a healthy snack.

Black beans as substitutes for whey protein: Black beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Just one cup contains about 17 grams of plant-based protein and 5 grams of dietary fiber. Add black beans to recipes like tacos, burritos, soup, chili, or salad. 

8. Tempeh  

Tempeh is another good alternative if you’re looking for a soy-free vegan protein packed with nutrients. It’s made from soybeans fermented using natural bacteria cultures that turn the beans into this flavorful meatless product.

Another soy-based product, tempeh, is a fermented cake made from whole soybeans. Like natto, it is high in protein and contains all essential amino acids. Tempeh is also a good source of fiber, vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium, and phosphorus.

A four-ounce serving will give you about 18 grams of plant-based protein and 8 grams of dietary fiber, almost equal to one cup worth of black beans mentioned above!

9. Natto  

Natto is a fermented soybean product that is popular in Japan. It is high in protein and contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs.

Natto is also a good source of vitamins K2 and B12, calcium, iron, and magnesium. If you are looking for substitutes for whey protein that is high in protein and nutrients, natto is a great option.

10. Goat Milk  

If you’re looking for substitutes for whey protein, goat milk is a great option. It’s a source of high-quality protein and has a similar nutrient profile to cow’s milk. Goat milk is also easier to digest than cow’s milk and is lower in lactose. 

If you’re looking for a non-dairy option, plenty of plant-based proteins can be used as substitutes for whey protein. Pea, hemp, and brown rice protein are good options.

11. Mung Beans 

Mung beans are little green legumes that pack a serious nutritional punch. They’re a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, they’re low in calories and fat. You can find mung beans at most health food stores. Cook them like any other type of bean (e.g., black beans). 

12. Tofu  

If you’ve ever seen tofu in the store, it might have looked like nothing more than an innocent block of soybean curd—a simple cheese made from soybeans and milk. But tofu is so much more than that.

Conclusion

Many options are available if you’re looking for substitutes for whey protein. Soy, rice and hemp powders are all vegan-friendly and provide comparable nutrients.

Pea protein is another popular choice that is high in iron and potassium. These substitutes offer a great way to get the nutrients you need without the side effects for those who are lactose-intolerant or have allergies.

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