We get it! Sometimes it’s hard to get all the protein you need, especially if you’re really active.
Protein powder is an easy thing to turn to when you need an extra boost…but is it Whole30-friendly? Well, yes and no. Let us explain.
Whole30 Protein Powder Quick Picks
- Pick #1: PaleoPro Plain Naked Protein – A no-fuss protein powder from grass-fed beef & egg protein. Be careful though – only the Plain Naked flavor is compliant – the others contain stevia.
- Pick #2: Vital Proteins Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides – High-quality, unsweetened, unflavored beef collagen powder. Pricey, but high-quality.
Whole Foods vs Liquid Lunch
Your Whole30 is a time to not only reset your digestive system and give your health a little reset, but it is also a time for breaking old habits and patterns and putting in place new (and often better!) ones.
A lot of the point of doing a Whole30 in the first place is to change your relationship with food—it seems more difficult to prepare your meals because most of the convenience foods are not compliant on the program. Convenience foods are generally, although not exclusively, more processed and less healthful.
By taking these away for a month, we are reminding ourselves that, while eating whole foods may be a more time consuming and involved process than we’re used to, it is totally worth it to feel this good!
Why bring this up? Well, we’re talking protein powders…arguably one of the most convenient “foods” out there!
Most Protein Powders Are a No-Go on Whole30
Protein powder is often a staple in the busy athlete’s life—many people use them so religiously, a life without their beloved blender bottle is hard to imagine.
Unfortunately, most protein powders out there are highly processed, filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners, and made from soy, whey protein, pea protein, or other non-compliant foods.
The creators of Whole30 themselves do not recommend protein powders and gave them an “almost always no” on their Can I Have Guide.
That being said, there’s a lot of grey area here. If a protein powder is made out of 100%, Whole30-approved ingredients, you can have it on the program! While liquid meals are not recommended on Whole30 (i.e. smoothies or protein shakes), you may certainly use it occasionally to supplement your protein intake.
Whole30-Approved Protein Powders: Rare, But They Exist
The vast majority of protein powders are made with non-compliant ingredients, so instead of going over every single protein powder to avoid, we are going to list the ones that are allowed.
Once we discount every protein powder on the market that is sweetened, made with soy, dairy or legumes (such as pea protein), there isn’t much left!
When shopping for protein powders on Whole30, think as simple as possible. We’re talking one or two ingredients here.
Protein powders that are made from egg, egg white protein, hemp protein, collagen, or a combination of those ingredients have the greatest potential of being compliant.
Stuck on where to find these? We’ve listed a couple of our go-to’s below for your convenience!
- PaleoPro Plain Naked Protein – PaleoPro makes a simple protein powder from a blend of grass-fed beef protein and egg protein and packs 26 grams of protein per serving. Make sure you only use the “plain naked” flavor on Whole30 as the rest contain stevia to sweeten!
- NOW Sports Egg White Protein – This protein powder is made from 100% egg whites and has 16 grams of protein per serving. Priced under $20, this is probably the best budget Whole30 protein powder out there!
- Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein – This approved protein powder from a non-animal source is a little lighter on the protein at 15 grams per serving, but is a great option for vegetarians and pescatarians.
- Vital Proteins Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides – This stuff is the real deal. Pure, unsweetened, unflavored beef collagen, this protein is arguably the most “real food” option. Not only does it contain 18 grams of protein per serving, it also is said to be great for your hair, nails and for balancing hormones.
If I Can’t Have Smoothies…What Else Can I Do With Protein Powder?
While smoothies aren’t explicitly banned, they aren’t exactly encouraged on Whole30. According to the creators, smoothies aren’t ideal because they’re usually heavy in fruit (and therefore, sugar) and drinking calories rather than chewing them makes it harder for your body to register when you’re full.
Sure, the occasional smoothie isn’t a program-ender, but they aren’t really something you want to rely on too much during Whole30.
Don’t fret, however! There are other options.
- No-Oats Oatmeal. We love adding protein to no-oats oatmeal like the ones we talked about here.
- Mix In With Soups or Stews. Try stirring some protein powder into soups or stews for an extra protein kick.
Have other ideas for how to use your Whole30 protein powder? What’s your favorite Whole30 compliant brand? We want to hear from you – leave your comment below and let us know!