Over a decade ago, I found my first vegan food blog and was hooked. Up to that point, the only vegetables in my diet were boring side salads and the tomatoes in my salsa (19-year-old me would be shocked I'm a registered dietitian now).
While eating more plant-based meals was terrific for my digestive system, it was hard to get enough protein with my busy schedule. I had to find a plant-based protein powder that tasted good and helped me get a solid nutrient boost. A trip to Whole Foods Market later, and I had a pile of protein powder packets to try.
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My checklist included taste (most failed at this point), texture (we lost a few here, too) and whole-food ingredients. So began my love affair with Vega Essentials protein powder.
It Has Whole-Food Ingredients and Impressive Macros
Getting more protein was essential during my college years and now, too, as a busy working mom of two. Half a day can go by before I realize all I've eaten is the crust from the kids' grilled cheese.
Tossing this protein powder into a quick smoothie keeps me full and energized, and fills the nutrient gaps when I can't sit down for a quality meal. I like using the Vega Essentials protein powder over other brands because of the extra vitamins and minerals it adds.
Here's the nutritional breakdown for one scoop of chocolate Vega Essentials Protein Powder:
- Calories: 140
- Total fat: 4 g
- Total carbohydrates: 6 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Sugar: 1 g
- Protein: 20 g
It also has other essential nutrients:
- Vitamin A: 30% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin D: 25% DV
- Potassium: 10% DV
- Calcium: 20% DV
- Vitamin C: 45 % DV
- Vitamin E: 25% DV
- Biotin: 25% DV
- Iron: 20% DV
- Vitamin B2: 35% DV
The main protein source in this powder is pea protein, followed by flaxseed. And the ingredient list contains whole foods, including powdered broccoli, kale, carrots, quinoa, berries, spirulina and more.
While this protein powder doesn't replace a meal filled with these nutrient-dense foods, it does help fill in gaps when you're strapped for time.
You'll Love the Taste and Texture
While nutrition is important, it's not helpful if you can't get yourself to actually drink the shake. The chocolate Vega Essentials has a great texture, especially when mixed into a smoothie.
Plant-based protein powders have one major downfall compared to whey: They're often chalky — especially ones made with pea protein. Whey protein powder blends into a creamy texture much more easily than pea protein because of the plant fibers. But the Vega Essentials protein powder has minimal chalkiness compared to many other pea protein powders I've tried.
Now, on to the taste. It's chocolatey and sweet — sort of like a more nutritious milkshake. With all of its whole-food ingredients, it has a somewhat earthy taste, but not nearly as much as the Vega Protein and Greens powder.
Also worth noting: Vega Essentials is sweetened with zero-calorie stevia. While I enjoy it, some may experience an unpleasant aftertaste from it.
If you're on the fence about the sweetener, try mixing your shake with other foods to help round out the taste of the stevia. Adding a little honey or fruit to your shake can help mask the stevia so you can enjoy the chocolate taste and health benefits of the protein powder.
How I Use the Vega Essentials Protein Powder
While you can mix water and the protein powder in a shaker cup, it's not my favorite way to enjoy this plant protein.
For a daily shake, I like to blend a scoop of chocolate Vega protein powder with almond or flax milk, frozen banana, spinach, and a handful of whatever berries I have on hand.
If I'm in the mood for a healthy dessert, I'll blend a scoop with bananas, extra cocoa powder, peanut butter and a few splashes of milk for a delicious banana "nice cream."
Buy the Vega Essentials Plant-Based Protein Powder
This tasty plant protein comes in three versatile flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla and Mocha. Choose your favorite flavor or buy all three!