By the time I’ve wrapped up work for the day, made dinner, done chores, and helped my kids with homework or whatever art project they’re into, I’m beat. Come 8 p.m., you’ll find me on the sofa with a glass of red wine. Which is why I try to front-load my morning with healthy activities.
Those mornings look a little something like this: After a run or strength-training session, I shower, make my bed, and blend up a veggie-forward smoothie for breakfast. But on a recent trip to Costco, I spotted Orgain’s Plant-Based Protein Shake (on sale!). I’m a fan of the brand’s Plant-Based Protein Powder, so figure I’d give the ready-to-drink version a try.
A Healthy Dose of Plant-Based Protein
I don’t count my macros, but since turning 40 I’ve been more conscious about upping my protein intake. A few years ago a large meta-analysis found that for the 40-plus crowd, eating more than the RDA of protein (about 46 grams for women) can significantly boost the effects of strength training. And strength training is key as you age for increasing bone density and maintaining strength.
Orgain Plant-Based Protein Shake delivers a solid 20 grams of protein in a single 11 fluid ounce serving. Sure, adding a couple of scoops of protein powder to a smoothie delivers a similar amount of the nutrient, but I have to jam-pack it with other ingredients to mask the chalkiness and increase nutritional value.
By the time I’m done adding fruit, veggies, and plant-based milk to round out my drinkable breakfast, it’s 15 minutes and a hundred calories later. Sure, they’re all healthy, nutrient-dense calories, but after a recent trip to an all-inclusive resort, I’m trying to cut back. An Orgain shake I grab from the fridge in 10 seconds comes in at 150 calories, and since 84 of those cals come from protein, a single serving keeps me full until lunch.
A quick glance at the nutrition label shows that Orgain uses mostly pea protein, a high-quality protein that’s also high in iron. Pea protein is gentler on the gut than whey—a godsend given some recent GI issues.
According to the carton, Orgain’s protein shake also contains water, cocoa, and a blend of organic produce including beet, kale, raspberry, spinach, tomato, banana, blueberry, and carrot. You can’t taste the veggie and I know better than to count a shake as a serving of fruit or vegetables but it’s a refreshing change to have a list of ingredients I can pronounce and actually want to put in my body.
Smooth Chocolately Goodness
I’m a sucker for anything chocolate. Orgain’s Plant-Based Protein Shake comes in two cocoa-rich flavors: creamy chocolate and chocolate fudge (there’s also a vanilla version that you can find on Amazon, though it only has 16 grams of protein per serving). I opted for the creamy chocolate since it had slightly fewer calories than the chocolate fudge and 1 gram of sugar instead of 3.
The chocolate isn’t overpowering or super thick. Drinking an Orgain Plant-Based Protein Shake is less milkshake and more Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink, both in flavor and texture. The shake is sweetened with monk fruit extract, so it doesn’t have the slightly bitter aftertaste that can plague drinks sweetened with stevia. Unlike Yoo-hoo, which is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, Orgain’s creamy chocolate flavor only has 1 gram of sugar and no artificial sweeteners.
I mostly drink the shake on its own for breakfast, but one day this week I skipped my morning meal altogether. To get my protein fix around 3 p.m., I emptied my shake into a glass and added ice and two shots of espresso. It was like a fancy coffee shop drink without the $7 price tag.
The Bottom Line
Orgain Plant-Based Protein Shake delivers 20 grams of plant protein per 11-ounce serving. At just 150 calories and 1 gram of sugar per carton, this ready-to-drink shake is perfect for lazy mornings or to grab on the go, and it keeps me full for hours.