The majority of runners are well aware of the importance of protein in the diet, especially for post-run recovery and muscle repair, yet it’s not always easy to stomach a protein-packed meal or snack after a hard run, especially when you’re on the go or rushing off to work.
In these cases, shaking up some protein powder or blending up a refreshing protein smoothie is oftentimes a more feasible and palatable post-workout refueling option.
Protein powders are a convenient, reliable, hassle-free nutrition strategy to maximize your recovery, muscle building, and fitness progress.
These days there are a variety of flavors and protein slices used in protein powders, enabling all runners to find a good protein powder that aligns with their dietary needs, appeals to their palate, and can be easily incorporated into their diet in one way or another.
The best protein powders for runners contain all nine essential amino acids, use only natural ingredients, digest well, and are free from artificial sweeteners, flavorings, chemicals, and fillers.
Unfortunately, while there are many clean, healthy protein powders for runners, there are also many packed with added sugars, fillers, and processed ingredients. To help make sure you’re giving your muscles the highest-quality protein, we’ve compiled a list of the best protein powders for runners.
Let’s get into it.
The 8 Best Protein Powders For Runners
Without further ado, here are our picks of the best protein powders for runners!
#8: PB2 Performance Peanut Protein Dutch Cocoa
PB2 is well known for their powdered peanut butter, but they now have protein powders that are great for runners, too.
The PB2 Performance Peanut Protein provides 20g of complete plant-based protein with only 190 calories and 5g of fat per serving. Plus, the protein powder is low in sodium and packs in 8 grams of prebiotic fiber for digestive health.
The protein powder is flavored with rich Dutch cocoa—think Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and is sweetened with monk fruit extract.
We recommend adding this protein powder to anything from water, milk, or alternative milks to yogurt, smoothies, and overnight oats.
#7: Garden of Life Organic Raw Protein Powder
It’s not easy to find unflavored protein powders that aren’t really chalky or grassy. While we can’t say the unflavored variety of the Garden of Life Organic Raw Protein Powder is delicious, it is pleasantly neutral and blends well.
The Garden of Life Organic Raw Protein Powders do come in flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and vanilla chai), but they are sweetened with stevia, so if you’re sensitive to stevia, or want an ultra-clean protein powder, the unflavored option is the healthiest choice.
Regardless of flavor, each serving of Garden of Life Organic Raw Protein Powder contains 110-120 calories, 22 grams of plant-based protein (a blend of over a dozen different raw, sprouted seeds, legumes, and ancient grains), digestive enzymes, and over 3 billion CFU of gut-supportive probiotics.
By sprouting the grains and seeds, the amino acids become more bioavailable, helping you reap all the muscle reparative benefits of every single gram.
Related: The 7 Best Tasting Protein Bars For Runners in 2022
#6: Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Yeah! Organic Max
Hemp is a nutritious superfood seed, and makes one of the best protein powders for runners. Whether you’re vegan, sensitive to whey, or prefer a plant-based protein powder that also packs an impressive dose of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and regularity-supportive fiber, Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Yeah! Protein Powder is a smart alternative protein powder.
Not only is it certified organic, but it contains only two ingredients: hemp concentration and oregano extract. One serving of Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Protein Powder contains 140 calories, 20 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 4.5 grams of vital omega-3 fatty acids, which are often deficient in vegan diets.
Because the mix is unflavored, it does have a bit of an earthy, grassy taste, which may not be particularly palatable in plain water. However, it’s a clean, healthy, allergy-friendly protein powder, making it an excellent option if you prioritize nutrition over taste.
#5: Muniq Vegan Protein Powder
Muniq makes a line of nutritious shakes in powder form. They provide more of a complete nutritional profile, rather than just protein, making them one of the best protein powders for runners who are looking to boost their overall nutrition or have a more substantial post-run recovery shake.
For example, the Vegan Chocolate Shake powder contains 6 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein, 42 grams of carbohydrates, and 180 calories. This carbohydrate-to-protein ratio is ideal for recovery after a workout.
Another benefit is each serving contains 15 grams of gut-healthy fiber, mainly prebiotic resistant starch, which promotes healthy digestion, supports the gut microbiome, and increases satiety. No more insatiable hunger after your run!
You’ll also get a significant dose of 26 different vitamins and minerals, and zero artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, soy, or GMOs.
The Muniq shakes come in vegan or whey varieties, depending on your dietary needs. The shakes blend up incredibly smooth and taste decadent.
#4: Gnarly Nutrition Whey Protein Powder
Gnarly makes both a vegan and whey protein powder line geared towards runners. Both offer high-quality ingredients, complete sources of protein, and digestive enzymes and probiotics for gut health.
The Gnarly Whey Protein Powder, which comes in chocolate and vanilla, contains 25 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 160 calories per serving. The whey is sourced from grass-fed New Zealand cows raised without hormones.
This protein powder blends very well, resulting in a creamy, smooth protein drink, even when mixed with just water. It also works well in oatmeal, pancakes, and smoothies. The protein powder is sweetened with stevia and erythritol though, so if you have a sensitive stomach, it might not agree well with you.
#3: GHOST Vegan Protein Powder
GHOST is a lifestyle brand of dietary supplements, energy drinks, and sports nutrition products such as protein powders. In addition to their whey protein powders they offer an excellent vegan protein powder that is soy-free, gluten-free, and super smooth.
It comes in four delicious flavors (Peanut Butter Cereal Milk, Banana Pancake Batter, Chocolate Cereal Milk, and Pancake batter), each with 20g of protein per scoop. The complete amino acid profile contains protein from pea, organic pumpkin, and watermelon seed protein.
We love that Ghost is fully transparent in their labeling, sharing every ingredient and the dosage so that you know what you’re getting in each serving.
#2: Natreve Vegan Fudge Brownie Protein Powder
Natreve makes a full line of delicious protein powders, including whey protein powders and several vegan protein powders.
The Natreve Vegan Protein Powder is a multi-sourced plant-based protein blend containing organic pea, organic pumpkin seed, and organic brown rice protein for a complete, well-balanced amino acid profile.
Each scoop provides 25 grams of protein and 4.5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
We love this protein powder for runners because it also contains probiotics for gut health, organic grains, and organic greens to boost overall nutrition and promote recovery from workouts.
The Natreve Vegan Protein is gluten free, non-GMO Project Verified, Informed Sport Certified. It is free from added sugar and is made with no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. We love the Fudge Brownie flavor and the Peanut Butter Parfait flavors.
#1: Your Super Skinny Protein
Your Super Skinny Protein is one of the best protein powders for runners because it’s ultra-clean, meaning you’re only putting premium ingredients into your body with zero fillers or junk.
While the flavor leaves something to be desired—it’s somewhat grassy and earthy—this unflavored, unsweetened 100% plant-based protein powder contains 62% vegetable proteins and all nine essential amino acids.
Each small serving, just two tablespoons, provides 9 grams of protein but contains only 50 calories. This is a light option for those looking to control their caloric intake, but also can be doubled or tripled for runners wanting more protein.
Your Super Skinny Protein contains only five ingredients (hemp protein, pea protein, moringa, spirulina, and alfalfa), all of which are certified organic.
The protein powder is sugar free, free from all fillers and artificial ingredients, and provides nutrients like chlorophyll, vitamins A, B9, B12, C, iron, potassium and magnesium. For example, each serving provides 20% of the DV of vitamin B12 and 15% of the DV of vitamin A and iron.
Do you use protein powders? What is your favorite? Do you have a go-to recipe? Let us know in the comments!