When my workouts leave me too exhausted to make a shake, I reach for these vegan, organic protein drinks - here's why I recommend them

Aloha/Instagram

  • A high-quality protein product is easy to bring along when you're on the go, uses clean ingredients without a bunch of extras, and the taste (and aftertaste) are palatable.
  • I like the Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein Drink because it's free of artificial sweeteners, tastes great without any gross aftertaste, and I don't have to do any blending or shaking to enjoy it.
  • Though it costs more than most protein drinks (currently $35.99 for 12 servings on Amazon), it's made of high-quality ingredients and contains MCT oil.

After a tough workout, I like to grab a protein drink to help build muscles and rehydrate so I can tackle the rest of my day. Yet after trying dozens of protein beverages, it's clear that not all powders and drinks are created equal. And what may work well for one person may not be palatable for another.

My body has a hard time with artificial sweeteners and excessive dairy, so I turn to plant-based proteins that are free of sucralose - the most common sweetener in protein beverages. The best option I've found so far is Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein Drink.

But before we get into the details of my experiences, I want to note that this dietary supplement has not been approved by the FDA. The information below is based on claims from the manufacturer as well as my personal experiences; not everyone will have the same results or experiences as I did. Before incorporating supplements into your lifestyle, consult with your doctor to make sure they're right for you.

Specs

Aloha protein drink

Aloha Protein Drink is available in three flavors: chocolate sea salt, coconut, and vanilla. The flavors are sold 12 containers to the box, and each twist-top container is 11 ounces.

All three flavors cost the same: $35.99 for 12. This works out to about $3 per container and 16.7 cents per gram of protein.

Here's the nutritional content for each 11-ounce serving:

  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Calories: 160 (170 in chocolate sea salt)
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Sodium: 220 milligrams
  • Sugar: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams (4 grams in chocolate sea salt)
  • Vitamin D: 260% of the RDV

This beverage is also USDA organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, and free of artificial flavors. It has prebiotics, which help with gut health, and MCT oil, which is growing in popularity since it's been shown to help with energy, endurance, and has several other positive health benefits.

What makes the Aloha protein drink stand out

Aloha drink

What I like most about the Aloha Protein Drink is that it's lightly sweetened. Other protein powders and drinks go overboard with sucralose or stevia. Aloha doesn't use artificial ingredients. Instead, the drink is sweetened with coconut sugar for a pleasant, subtle taste. This is especially nice since my stomach is sensitive to sucralose.

And just because Aloha isn't hitting you over the head with flavor doesn't mean you're stuck with a gross protein taste. You can hardly tell you're drinking a protein beverage, and I also haven't experienced any off-putting aftertaste.

After a hard workout and a brief cooldown, all I want to do is grab some fluids and sit down. If I'm particularly exhausted, I don't want to go through the effort of blending or shaking a protein drink. With Aloha, I appreciate how I can just grab the drink out of the fridge and park myself in front of the AC.

If I take in too much dairy, I tend to have digestive issues. Fortunately, Aloha Protein Drink relies on brown rice protein, pea protein, and coconut milk and is free from dairy. This helps me increase my protein intake post-workout without unpleasant stomach pain.

Cons to consider

Each container only has 18 grams of protein. Several sources suggest that you should imbibe at least 20 grams after a workout. Though the Aloha drink is close to reaching that threshold, you may want to drink two containers or supplement it with some nuts or even a couple of bananas, which will get you to the 20 grams mark and provide you with valuable potassium and fiber.

Compared to other ready-to-drink protein supplements, Aloha is much more expensive. I looked at the five top-selling brands on Amazon, and Aloha costs at least $0.05 more per gram of protein than the next most expensive option. However, none of these other options have such an impressive resume - dairy-free, organic, vegan, and artificial sweetener-free - nor do they contain MCT oil. Also, you can save up to 15% off the price by choosing Amazon's Subscribe & Save feature.

The bottom line

If price is your main consideration when shopping for proteins or you really want to get those 20 grams of protein in one serving, Aloha may not be the best option for you. Below, we will look at whether you should buy it and what other options are available.

Should you buy it?

Protein drink preferences vary from person to person. I look for beverages that don't have artificial sweeteners and have minimal dairy. I don't like sweets in general so the milder the flavor, the better. There are a few options that fit this description and cost less than Aloha. However, Aloha has MCT oil, which isn't common in protein drinks. If you are looking to boost your endurance and energy with MCT oil and want a protein drink made of high-quality ingredients, then you should buy Aloha.

Which flavor should you get?

Vanilla was my favorite flavor, and chocolate sea salt was my least. However, I would take all three flavors before I'd grab an over-sweetened whey protein drink. Vanilla appears to be the most popular option on Amazon and has a nice, unobtrusive taste to it. Coconut tastes a lot like plain coconut milk, which makes sense since it's the main ingredient. And the chocolate sea salt is mild and reminds me of a cross between dark chocolate and a good cold brew coffee. Unless my descriptions turn you off to a specific flavor, I recommend trying them all to find your favorite.

What are your alternatives?

muscle milk

I usually go with vegan protein powders for my post-workout protein fix. If that's your jam, check out my guide to the best ones. But if you'd prefer the ready-to-drink solutions, these should serve you well:

  • Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Shake ($13.28 for 12 servings): Of the major brands, Muscle Milk is your most affordable option at 4.4 cents per gram of protein. Each container has 25 grams of protein. However, the taste doesn't compare to Aloha. Muscle Milk is over-sweetened and has a distinct protein taste to it. Also, it's made from a long list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Still, if the price is your only consideration, this is the way to go.
  • Orgain Grass Fed Clean Protein Shake ($20.91 for 12 servings): Though I haven't tried this specific shake, I've tried other Orgain protein products and am impressed with the quality. The company does a good job of balancing affordability with safe, healthy ingredients. This shake is free of artificial ingredients, GMOs, gluten, and soy.
  • Evolve Protein Shake ($23.97 for 12 servings): The Evolve Protein shake is vegan, has 20 grams of pea protein, and a whopping 10 grams of fiber. It's also non-GMO and sweetened with organic cane sugar and stevia. If you have no interest in MCT oil, it might be worth checking out this cost-effective, plant-based protein drink.

Overall, Aloha Protein Drink has an impressive ingredient profile that people with the most common food sensitivities will appreciate. Best of all, it tastes great without any off-putting aftertaste. I strongly recommend giving it a whirl when you have those late-afternoon cravings or as a post-workout pick-me-up.

Pros: No artificial ingredients, vegan, pea and brown rice protein, contains MCT oil, ready to drink

Cons: Expensive, only 18 grams of protein per serving

Buy the Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein Drink (12-count), $35.99, at Amazon

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