best protein popcorn

9 Best Protein Popcorn for Muscle Gain

Due to the increasing demand for appetising healthy snacks, fitness and wellbeing companies have since flooded the market with a variety of protein goodies to help you curb the cravings; but we think we’ve found our new favourite - protein popcorn!

As much as we try, it is often hard not to snack between meals, and if you are serious about building muscle it is a requirement to keep your muscles supplied with plenty of protein, as opposed to snacks loaded with saturated fats and sugar. 

If you haven’t tasted high protein popcorn before, you should know that it is a product specially designed to allow you to enjoy snacking without the added worry of saturated fats and high sugar content - making it the perfect diet-friendly treat whilst you’re gaining muscle.

Though you can make your own version, and only a handful of companies have delved into the protein popcorn market - making it hard to purchase, we’ve made your search easier and put together a list of our favourites. You can then add them to your basket and get them delivered straight to your front door!

Is Popcorn a Source of Protein?

If you have been wondering “is popcorn high in protein?’” or whether it is a source at all, then in short terms, the answer is yes. Popcorn has long been deemed a healthier alternative to snacking, though little attention has been paid to the protein count of this naturally nutritious snack. Boasting an average of 11g of protein, 4.3g of fat and 7mg of sodium per 100g, popcorn makes the ideal substitute for crisps, biscuits or snacks alike.

If you compare this to the likes of other popular ‘supposedly’ high protein snacks, such as greek yogurt which has 10g per 100g or no-bake energy balls which have approx 3g, popcorn as protein content is a heavily overlooked and underestimated snack.

And that’s just for your standard air popped corn without added butter, salt, or oil; when it comes to specialised protein popcorn that comes in an array of flavours and forms, the nutrition values are even more impressive. 

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#1 - Protein Popcorn by Natural Nutrients 

Natural nutrients protein powder popcorn

Price: £0.75 (30g)

Leading the sector for high protein popcorn is our favourite from Natural Nutrients.

Each measured 30g serving offers 4 grams of protein, whilst still only making up for 145-156 of your daily calorie intake, depending what flavour appeals to you most.

Though only available in three flavours - Simply Salted, Spicy Tomato and Sweet Vanilla - they provide enough of a contrast to target both the sweet tooths and savoury snackers (we recommend their protein popcorn in sweet vanilla!).

Better yet, unlike products alike, Natural Nutrients Protein Popcorn is both soya and gluten free, 100% natural and suitable for vegetarians AND free from artificial flavours, preservatives and sweeteners - meaning no dietary requirements or lifestyles are holding you back from indulging in this macro-friendly snack.

This product by Natural Nutrients is finished off with a coating of the finest quality Organic Coconut Oil, Faba Bean Protein Powder and a sprinkling of real food powders, providing your taste buds a flavoursome snacking experience at the expense of just 0.2g of sugar.

Natural Nutrients Protein Popcorn is clean, light and offers all the goodness of traditional popcorn but with extra nutritional value and a natural source of protein!

#2 - Corners Crunchy Flavoured Protein Popcorn Crisps

Corners Popcorn protein content

Price: £19.99 (8 x 85g)

Not everyone’s idea of snacking is indulging in chocolate cake or engulfing a pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Corners took that into consideration with their Crunchy Flavoured Protein Popcorn Crips. 

A brilliant option for savoury lovers, these high protein popcorn crisps come in three flavours: Cheddar & Onion, Sour Cream & Onion, Sweet Barbeque.

Loaded with 21.5g of protein in every 85g bag, this is the ultimate protein popcorn for muscle building, and better yet, they’re even suitable for vegans due to the use of plant based protein! For further vegan-friendly diet and workout tips, check out our ultimate vegan weight training guide to further your training success.

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(For reference: it is important to note that the amount of protein in popcorn (100g) usually sits at around 11g.)

Setting them apart from other brands and fitness names alike, Corners believe that a healthy lifestyle starts with finding healthy snacks, and healthy snacks start at the source, which is why they teamed up with an independent family farm to ensure they are using the best Non-GMO corn available..

We know that some protein heavy snacks aren’t always the most appetising, however, this newly-shaped protein powder popcorn chip is innovative in its style and form. Corners have strategically crafted a low calorie crisp with its texture at the forefront of production. This specific texture was designed to provide you with the sensation of eating a saporous, filling treat as opposed to a ‘specifically healthy snack’. 

Crispy, crunchy, and loaded with flavours that taste like they shouldn’t be good for you; these triangular protein popcorn crisps are a must have for anyone prone to a carby snack.

#3 - ICON Meals Protein Popcorn 8.05 oz 

ICON popcorn protein

Price: £7.76 / $9.99 (241g)

So you like the idea of protein popcorn for muscle building but you wanted a wider variety of flavours? ICON Meals have got you covered, plus more.

This brand of high protein popcorn has an incredible array of 14 different flavours to appease everyone's palettes, including:

  • Birthday Cake
  • Banana Split
  • Blueberry Cheesecake
  • Canadian Maple
  • Cinnabon Crunch
  • Cotton Candy
  • Peanut Butter Vanilla
  • Orange Creamsicle
  • White Chocolate Peppermint

Each recommended 60g serving of ICON’ protein powder popcorn is packed with 10g of protein, making it one of the most powerful protein snacks on the market. But unlike other protein loaded products, these are light on the stomach whilst still curbing your sugary urges.

In addition, this protein popcorn is ready to eat and comes in weightless  bags making them easy to pack away in your gym bag for a post-workout snack.

Combined alongside other supplements, this popcorn with protein can help amplify and fuel your more intense workouts, assisting you to reach new PBs, who’d have thought popcorn could do that! We’ve also collated a list of running supplements into a guide that we would recommend you check out and try in company with your protein popcorn.

We guarantee there is a flavour for you, and with so many amazing product reviews from satisfied customers online, you won’t be disappointed with ICON protein popcorn. 

#4 Feel Free Nutrition Whey Protein Popcorn

feel free Protein in popcorn

Price - £33.40 (15 x 11g)

Snacking needn't be damaging to your training schedule if you find the right treats, and that’s the aim of the game with this whey protein popcorn from Feel Free Nutrition.

Boasting with health benefits, this savoury bag of popcorn with protein acts as a healthy source of protein that is low in fats and sugars, as well as being 100% whole grain -  this won’t break the dietary discipline.

Though one of the slightly pricier options on our list, sitting at £34 for 15 packs, Feel Free has packed a massive 18g of protein into each bag, providing you with the perfect either pre or post workout snack guaranteed to hit the spot.

With their sizable 100g bags, this is the perfect sharing snack for those cosy cinema evenings with friends or training partners.

This salted protein popcorn for muscle building is a must for all training fanatics that need to treat their taste buds after a gruelling workout. You’ll get all the nutritional benefits you need from this protein-infused bag of popcorn, whilst still allowing yourself to indulge in goodness.

At the minute, Feel Free have only produced a salt and vinegar edition, however, we’re hopeful for new flavours soon!

#5 - Bowmar Nutrition High Protein Popcorn 

bowmar nutrition Is popcorn a source of protein

Price: £10.09 (+ tax) / $12.99 (154g)

Boasting a much higher amount of protein compared to its competition and consisting of the highest amount of protein in popcorn on our list, Bowmar Nutrition’s High Protein Popcorn is loaded with 10g of protein within each recommended 37g serving.

When analysing the protein to serving ratio, this popular protein popcorn comes up much leaner than the likes of others on the list who make up that much protein in a serving twice the size. Bowmar’s product dominates with 0.27g of protein per singular gram, whereas more than half the list only average 0.15g, though still an impressive amount of protein.

Bowmar’s high protein popcorn comes in a large five serving bag, so while you do get 10g of protein per serving, it would equate to a massive 50g of protein if you were to get carried away and finish the bag.

Offering one of the most unique flavours amongst the list, their cheddar and caramel mix has been a success since its first release. But if that doesn’t quite appeal to you, and we can’t imagine it will everyone, you can also choose from ranch or white cheddar.

If you’ve been looking for a delicious, quick and high protein snack, then Bowmar Nutrition promises to fulfil your needs. This is a low cal snack that will make sustaining a healthy diet feel easy. 

Whether you’re looking for a cinema treat, pre-gym fuel or every day snack, then Bowmar has you covered. This popcorn with protein will benefit a wide range of different sports and athletes, from gym-goers to cyclists; for a more detailed food plan, take a look at our cycling nutrition plan.

If you don’t want to take our word for it, then take a look at the product’s reviews on the website, where you’ll find an ongoing sea of raving 5 star reviews from happy customers.

#6 Crankt Protein Popcorn

crankt  How much protein in popcorn

Price - £4.00 (65g)

With over 10grams of protein per pack this is a great source of energy and protein with whey protein concentrate. 

Though Crankt only offers their protein popcorn in Supreme Cheese or Salted Butter flavours, it allows the brand to keep away from all preservatives, artificial flavours and colourings, making this one of the most  natural products on our shortlist.

What makes this salted protein popcorn for muscle  building even better is its high sources of fibre combined with its exclusion of palm oil and preservatives - giving you a completely natural taste of healthiness. For more information on muscle building, particularly gaining bigger muscles in your arms, check out our ultimate workout plan for getting bigger arms.

The only negative is due to being an Australian product, you may be subject to import fees depending on where you order from.

If you’re looking for a snack that gives you an extra boost and hits the right spot after an intense workout, then the Crankt high protein popcorn is perfect for you. 

#7 AllMax Nutrition Hexapro Protein Popcorn 

allmax hexapro Is popcorn high in protein

Price - £7.25 (110g)

One for the chocolate lovers, as this high protein popcorn for muscle building comes in two tasty flavours: Chocolate Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt.

This deliciously flavoured protein popcorn makes snacking fun and exciting, whether that be pre-gym, post workout or just whilst socialising and avoiding the temptation of that bag of Maltesers. AllMax Hexapro’s high protein popcorn is highly addictive and provides you with the energy and extra muscle boost to fuel your workouts and fight your sugar cravings. 

With a massive 40 grams of protein per bag*, this AllMax bag of popcorn is specially designed to taste good whilst giving you that desired hit of protein. What’s more, AllMax protein popcorn uses only non-GMO corn that is air-popped to perfection with zero trans fats.

And if that wasn’t enough, from a singular bag, you’re also receiving your iron, calcium and potassium dose; we guarantee that once you have experienced snacking with AllMax Hexapro,  you won’t find yourself searching for another brand for your healthy treats. 

* A recommended serving of AllMax Hexapro Protein Popcorn is 55g - containing 10g.

#8 - The Protein Works Protein Popcorn

the protein works popcorn muscle building

Price: Currently Out of Stock

Introducing the OG of protein popcorn. 

The Protein Works changed the health snacking game back in 2014 when they launched the world’s first protein popcorn.  

In an old school cinema-esque tub, the 100g tub comes enriched with organic virgin coconut oil as well as being made with premium whey protein isolate and stevia extract to create a delicious taste.

Popcorn has always been an ideal low fat snack (unless drowned in butter and toffee), however, 100% carb - this is not the case with TPW’s high protein popcorn. Boasting some pretty impressive nutritious figures, per 100g, TPW product contains just 55g of carbohydrates, in comparison to a standard bag of Butterkist which contains over 80g. 

And that’s not the only impressive stat, while a 100g portion of Butterkist contains just 3.1g of protein, this high protein popcorn brags a massive 22g - the ultimate snack for getting your sweet fix whilst watching the cals.

Plus, did we mention this salted protein popcorn also air-popped? This zero-calorie popping method removes frying oils and results in light, airy kernels with a cloud-like texture.

This particular protein popcorn has been applauded by gym-goers, personal trainers and professional sportsmen, so we’d say some pretty accredited sources when it comes to knowing a thing or two about fitness! If you’re a personal trainer looking for recommended meal ideas, or maybe just someone looking to change up their food, take a look at our personal trainer meal plan guide.

Since its launch, The Protein Works has yet to introduce any further flavours than its iconic sweet and salty - but you know what they say, if it’s not broken don’t fix it - and this trademark product certainly is still working for the sports nutrition  brand.

#9 Gourmet Protein Popcorn 

gpop salted popcorn protein

Price - $5.00 (57g)

Don’t worry, we haven't forgotten about you sweet-tooths and we might have just saved you the best until last.

Brought to you by Gourmet, the Australian brand promises that your sugary desires will be met with these excitingly flavoured, delicious, and not to mention, healthy snacks. The high protein popcorn provides you with all the protein and none of the guilt. 

Bragging an attractive menu of options, Gourmet’s popcorn comes in the following flavours:

  • Chocolate Lava
  • Birthday Cake
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Peanut Butter Cup

You can even purchase a mixed box to give all flavours a try before committing to your favourite.

Each serving is gluten-free, air popped as opposed to fried; giving you that light fulfilled feeling whilst eliminating all the calories of traditional popcorn, real flavours, locally sourced non-GMO kernels, only 260 calories and over 13 grams of whey protein. You can’t go wrong. 

Only 260 calories per bag, this guilt-free popcorn makes the ideal on-the-go tasty snack for those short on time who aren’t willing to give up the sweeter things in life whilst pursuing their fitness goals.

And better yet, unlike other products on the list, you can purchase G-POP’s protein popcorn on the UK Amazon, meaning you can avoid any importation costs or added fees. If you’re wanting to satisfy all of your protein needs, then G Pop's product is perfect for you. 


How Much Protein is in Popcorn?

As we previously touched on, standard popcorn contains approximately 11g of protein, though this will depend on a range of factors, from flavour to brand to how it was produced.

Even from the likes of Metcalfe and Propercorn, brands known for their low calorie and healthier products, their ‘skinny popcorn’ only contains on average 5.9g of protein per 100g.

We know that the world of ‘protein snacks’ can be a pretty implacable place, with many brands putting the word ‘protein’ in front of staple products simply as a marketing strategy. When it comes to the popcorn protein content in our shortlist, it is a completely different story. When we boiled down the statistics of our top 9, we found that the average protein count per 100g was a massive 19.5g - unarguably a significant increase.

So when it comes to answering how much protein is in popcorn, it will generally vary across brands and flavors, though for the maximum protein count, we will strongly advise specialised protein popcorn.

When to Eat Protein Popcorn?

Just like other sources of protein, protein popcorn can benefit the body in a range of different ways, depending on your overall goal. People use protein for a variety of reasons, including: to build muscle, lose weight or simply improve their overall health and wellness. Depending on what your health goals are would depend when in the day would best benefit you to take protein, or in this case, eat protein popcorn.

Building Muscle - If you weren't already aware, protein is your holy grail when it comes to building muscle (in conjunction to other factors, of course). However, when it comes to a set answer for when to take protein, it can spark some controversy and opposing opinions. Fitness experts and enthusiasts often recommend taking a protein supplement (snacking on your recommended serving of protein popcorn) between 15–60 minutes post exercise. The reason for this is this time frame is known as the 'anabolic window' - said to be the ideal time for getting the most out of nutrients like protein. Now, the anabolic windows' timeframe has been debated within research and studies over the years, however, in our professional opinion, we would say stick to this.

Losing WeightIf your goal is to lose weight, protein is one of the most important nutrients to aid this. Taking up a high-protein diet can help raise your metabolism and reduce your appetite and levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin- meaning you're less likely to indulge in snacks throughout the day. In order to obtain the most weight-loss benefits, we recommend eating plenty of protein-rich foods throughout the day.

Exercise Recover/Performance - This is often the question people are referring to when searching for the answer of when is the best time to take protein. Protein has been scientifically proven to both aid your performance during a workout, as well as help with the recovery stage afterwards. For the majority of athletes and seasoned gym-goers, it is often less about the timing of their protein intake and more about eating enough. However, the simple answer is most sportspeople will benefit from eating their protein popcorn either immediately before or after a workout.

Preventing Muscle Loss - As you get older, it is important for your health and strength to make a conscious effort to maintain your muscle mass. Research has shown that after the age of 30, people lose, on average, between 3-8% of their muscle mass - a statistic which has directly been linked to higher risks of fractures and shorter life span. However, this is reversible through certain factors, i.e. protein as a supplement for preventing muscle loss!

Similar to when using protein for weight loss, it is recommended when you are using protein to prevent muscle loss, you should spread your protein intake across the day - however, this time, with slightly more thought and strategy put into your measurements. To help prevent muscle loss with age it is advised to evenly spread out your protein across meals, equating to approximately 25–30 grams of protein per meal.

Before you go!

After conducting the research ourselves, we know finding the best protein popcorn can be a difficult task, so we hope we’ve made your search easier and your cupboards will be full on products from our list in no time.

With a list that covers an abundance of flavours and varieties, they won’t disappoint.

If you're interested in a career in fitness, why not take a look at our REPs accredited personal trainer courses, or check out our prospectus before you go to find out more! 

Written by Annie Williams

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Annie on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, Annie specialises in mental and physical wellbeing, with a specific interest in nutrition and mindfulness. Her long standing interest in fitness is what brought her to OriGym, and led her to become a qualified Personal Trainer and obtain specialist qualifications in Advanced Sports Nutrition. Annie’s primary professional attraction lies in following and tracking the ever-changing trends in the fitness industry. Beyond OriGym, Annie divides her time between personal writing, her passion for the countryside and mountain walking, and charitable runs.

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