9 Best Protein Popcorn for Muscle Gain

best protein popcorn

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?

protein popcorn best

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 - Kettle Brothers Heavenly Cake Protein Popcorn 5.0 oz

protein popcorn cheap

Price: $8.49 

With a whopping 10g of protein, this product from Kettle Brothers is one of the best protein popcorns for muscle building on the market right now. Luckily for you, it even tastes good too!

You may not traditionally think of popcorn as a muscle building snack, but it’s actually a great source of protein. The high fibre content also means you’ll feel fuller for longer post workout, which will help stop you from overeating.

Cake may not be a traditional flavour of popcorn, but the sweetness will make this high protein popcorn deliciously indulgent whilst being good for you.

Kettle Brothers have definitely concentrated on taste as well as content. Their protein powder popcorn is mixed well to avoid any over-concentrated areas and they’ve eliminated any chance of a chalky taste that can come with protein powder.

#3 - ICON Meals Protein Popcorn 8.05 oz 

ICON popcorn protein

Price: £38.40

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 - PopWorks Popped Protein Crisps

popcorn with protein

Price: £1.90

In terms of high protein popcorn crisps, this product from PopWorks is a great alternative to conventional popcorn.

These popped crisps have 7.4g of soy protein which means they’re an excellent option for vegans and vegetarians looking for a high protein snack pre or post workout. They’re satisfyingly crunchy without being fried, which means that they’re a healthy alternative to other crisps.

We love their Sweet BBQ flavour but there are others to choose from: including Salt and Vinegar, Sweet and Salty or Sour Cream and Onion. 

These protein powder popcorn chips are a delicious combination of crisps and popcorn that can give you the nutrients you need during the day or after a workout.

#5 - Salted Caramel Protein Popcorn

salted caramel protein popcorn

Price: £4.82

If you’re keen to support small businesses you might want to consider buying your high protein popcorn from Etsy, where small scale sellers offer you several high quality products to choose from.

We love this salted caramel protein popcorn that is handcrafted in small batches for quality control and sustainability. With 8g of protein per serving, this product is a handily sized snack bag that can fulfil your protein requirements after a hard workout.

Not only that, but this popcorn with protein in sugar free, gluten free, lactose free and nut free - making it safe for vegetarians and vegans, as well as anyone out there with a food allergy.

This protein popcorn boasts 100% natural ingredients so you can be confident you’re filling your body with healthy and nutritious foods.

#6 - Quinn White Cheddar and Sea Salt

salted protein popcorn

Price: £4.99

This protein popcorn from Quinn is a great healthy snack to help you through the day or as a way to get more protein into your diet.

3g of protein may not seem like much compared to other offerings, but this is still a high protein popcorn. This is the perfect snack after a light workout because it still has the protein content you need, as well as carbs and fibre to give you energy and help you feel fuller for longer.

The cheese and sea salt flavours are deliciously savoury which feels more healthy than sweeter snacks. This protein popcorn is free from preservatives, non-GMO verified, organic and gluten free.

The packaging is wholly pressed paper to make it greaseproof; it’s free from plastics and chemical coatings, and is even compostable. All of this makes it a healthy snack for you, your ethics and the environment.

#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 of protein.

#8 - Salted Protein Popcorn

cheap protein popcorn

Price: £4.80

You can’t go wrong with a classic, so why not try some salted protein popcorn as a pre or post workout snack? Not only is it tasty, the salt can help regulate your sodium levels that have been affected by exercise.

Supporting small businesses is a great way to spend your money because you know you’re making someone happy with every purchase. But that’s only part of the reason why we love this salted protein popcorn from Etsy.

Another reason is that this protein popcorn is high quality; it’s made in smaller batches with simple and organic ingredients that concentrate on taste.

Each set only contains 3 ingredients, with no preservatives or additives to affect the taste or quality. The himalayan salted popcorn even uses 100% pure avocado oil to subtly enhance the flavour, whilst also being heart-healthy and rich in vitamin E.

#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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