Protein powder is an invaluable supplement in the arsenals of many active women.
I surveyed a group of over 1,000 women and INSERT was their top pick.
While INSERT was the top overall pick, my personal favorite is still Shakeology. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s worth it.
Many women also like to use protein powders as part of a weight-loss regimen, seeking out lower-calorie formulas to provide nutrition without the unnecessary calories.
When shopping for high-quality protein powders, it’s important to keep in mind the ingredients and bioavailability of the protein sources.
Most protein powders use whey as their protein source, which might cause upset stomachs for those who are sensitive to dairy, although there are other sources like pea protein which can be a suitable alternative especially for plant-based women. Bioavailability determines how efficiently your body can actually use the protein – you want to use protein powders with high bioavailability for the best results.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of 16 popular low-calorie, high-protein shakes so you can start incorporating these powerhouses into your own healthy diet.
Available in an array of classic flavors ranging from vanilla to Cocoa Pebbles, Dynamatize ISO 100 is a whey protein powder specifically formulated to give you a fast-absorbing protein source after your workout.
This option is gluten-free and ranges from just 110-120 calories per serving while still providing 25 grams of protein and minimal lactose for easier digestion.
- Increasing muscle mass and strength
- Keto weightlifters
Core Power Protein Shakes come in convenient ready-to-drink bottles, so you don’t have to deal with lugging powder around and can consume it as soon as you’re done with your workout.
These shakes are powered by ultra-filtered milk, meaning they keep the protein and vitamins but do not have lactose – perfect for women who are lactose-intolerant! These do have higher calories, clocking in at around 240 calories per serving, but provide a whopping 42g of protein per bottle.
- On-the-go athletes
- Lactose-intolerant women
- People who like a lot of protein in their protein drinks or who don’t get a lot of protein in their diet alone
MyProtein’s Impact Whey Isolate powder is just 90 calories for its 20g of protein, making it a good choice for women looking to consume fewer calories. The protein in this powder comes from “unfeatured whey protein,” which the brand says allows for both quick and slow absorption throughout the day.
This powder might also be a good choice for those on a budget, since it comes with 40 servings for a cheaper price tag than many of the other protein shakes on this list.
- Pre- and post-workout protein
- Shoppers looking for more product for less money
Need your sweet tooth satisfied? Bowmar Nutrition boasts a ton of varieties, from classic protein shakes to protein hot chocolate, and a tempting array of flavors including caramel apple and dulce de leche – perfect for bakers who like using protein powder!
It also has an impressive nutrition profile, with servings ranging from 105-120 calories and 22g of protein. This brand offers vegan and dairy-free options as well for those with specific dietary requirements.
- Experimenting with protein powder baked goodies
- Satisfying sweet-tooths without the guilt
- Vegan and dairy-free consumers
Lady Boss Lean protein shakes are specifically formulated for women, with each serving boasting an array of necessary vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes all in a great-tasting package.
The protein source for this shake is grass-fed, rBGH-free whey, which is nice for those who are concerned about antibiotics and growth hormone in their dairy. However, there isn’t as much protein in this shake versus others, with only 15g of protein for every 100 calorie serving.
- Taking care of your protein, vitamin, and mineral intake all in one
- Avoiding antibiotics and growth hormone in dairy protein sources
1stphorm Protein Powders can be a great choice for people who experience upset stomachs when using other dairy-based protein powders.
These shakes are made with low-temperature processed whey, which the company says minimizes the GI discomfort that you might experience with other powders while also being the most biologically-available protein source.
- Women who experience upset stomachs from traditional protein powder
Living up to its name, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey Protein is one of the most recognized protein powders out there. Using three different whey protein isolates, the Gold Standard powder will give you 24 grams of protein and 5 grams of BCAAs per serving.
However, some users do report upset stomachs with some flavors due to the inclusion of sucralose, an artificial sweetener that can cause GI distress.
- Consumption before, during, and after workouts
LivBody’s Lean Vegan Protein Formula is a great choice for women who live active, plant-based lifestyles. Made with 24g of pea protein and all-natural ingredients, this product lives up to its name as the “leanest and cleanest” protein source.
It also comes with probiotics and digestive enzymes, which work in tandem to increase the bioavailability of its protein.
- Clean eating and bulking
- Vegan, plant-based lifestyles
This protein powder by Bloom Nutrition is powered by whey isolate and includes digestive enzymes for increased protein bioavailability. Users like them for their tasty array of sweet flavors including iced coffee, hot chocolate marshmallow, and seasonal pumpkin spice.
This product does have a slightly lower protein makeup than some others on this list, with just 22g per serving.
- Sensitive stomachs
- Those who like flavor variety
Battle Ready Fuel Protein Powder has an impressive amount of protein for its calorie level, with 28g of protein per 106.7 calories. This brand uses minimal fillers and centers around a 90% whey protein isolate with a high bioavailability, although it does use sucralose for flavoring.
This product is packaged in two separate tubs, which is useful if you’re on-the-go and want to keep a tub of protein on-hand and one at home.
- Athletes who like to take their protein on-the-go
- Getting the highest amount of protein for the fewest calories
Isopure Protein Powder is another big name in the protein powder game, using a 100% whey isolate as its protein source.
It also includes a vitamin and mineral blend to support your immune system and just one gram of carbohydrates per 110 calorie, 25g protein serving.
- Keto athletes watching their carbohydrate intake
- Women who want an immune boost of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and zinc
Another protein powder made specifically with women in mind, IdealLean’s offering comes with antioxidants and essential nutrients for improving your athletic performance.
This product also has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can try it risk-free for yourself!
- Athletic women
- Those looking for a multitasking supplement that includes more than protein
Premiere Protein comes in either ready-to-drink or powder options. At 150 calories, this shake has more calories than some of the others on this list, but does also include 30g of protein, making it a decent meal replacement option.
This product also comes in a smaller packaging than most of the others on this list with only 17 servings for the powder or 12 for the shakes, so it might be good for someone who uses protein supplements more infrequently.
Full meal replacement
Quest is well-known for their popular protein bars, but they also make tasty protein powder for shakes. Quest’s protein source is 60% whey and 40% micellar protein, allowing for both fast and slow absorption of its 24g of protein per serving and 9 essential amino acids.
- Fans of Quest’s protein bar line
- Protein absorption throughout the day
Team Beach Body’s Shakeology shakes are nutrition-packed powerhouses that are designed specifically for weight loss. These shakes come with only 17g of protein per serving, but they make up for it by supplementing your probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes.
Shakeology shakes are significantly more expensive than other protein shakes on this list, but it may be worth it if you’re specifically looking for a nutrition-packed meal replacement shake in a weight loss program.
- Using as an overall meal replacement, rather than a protein supplement alone
- Women looking to lose weight
Vega’s protein powder comes in a variety of options, from the Proteins & Greens and Protein & Energy lines to their All-In-One Shake for meal replacement. No matter which line you choose, the focus of this brand is providing plant-based nutrition from real foods.
The have slightly higher calorie counts than other powders on this list for a relatively low protein content of 20g, so they may not be the best choice if you’re focusing on weight loss.
- Vegans and vegetarians
- People who are looking to incorporate more vegetable nutrition into their diet
Protein shakes are a core supplement for many women looking to stay toned, build muscle, or lose weight. If you feel as though you aren’t getting enough protein from your diet alone, try incorporating one of these protein powders for maximum nutrition with minimal calories!