Can You Bring Protein Powder On a Plane?

Got a big trip coming up? Shirts, pants, underwear, socks, and toiletries are all specific things to figure out. They’re also all allowed on carry-on luggage. 

Supplements are allowed, but they can cause issues. The airport security may wonder why you have all pills. Bringing creatine or protein powder on a plane likewise poses an issue. 

Those tubs have lots of air space and are big. Bringing a protein powder on your travel can raise eyebrows with airport security. However, if you’re determined to maintain your healthy lifestyle when traveling and are wondering whether you can bring them on a plane, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve checked the TSA carry-on regulations to answer the question and make packing for your next flight a breeze. Here’s what we found out:

So, Can You Bring Protein Powder On a Plane?

Yes, you can bring them on a plane. It is also allowed both for carry-on luggage and checked-in baggage. 

But for carry-on bags, the amount should not be more than 12 ounces and should be kept in a separate protein powder container or bin. A 12-ounce container can hold approximately 340 grams or about five servings of protein powder.

If you have a more extended trip and need more protein based on your workout, you can permanently remove it from your carry-on bag and store it in your checked luggage.

Another option is to bring multiple containers, which should contain no more than 12 ounces.

Some travel companies or airlines recommend you to bring an amount of protein powder in a specific volume or put them in your checked-in luggage to avoid any difficulties or further inspections passing through airport security.

Why are there restrictions on how much protein powder you can take?

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) emphasized that you must place powder-like substances greater than 350 mL or 12 oz. in a separate bin for x-ray screening. Moreover, the airport personnel may also require additional screening or opening of the containers.

The extra scrutiny is essential as drugs and explosives also come in powdered form. If you carry non-white protein powder, such as strawberry or chocolate flavors, it may also help a bit more than the white-powdered one.

Some passengers feel more comfortable packing dark-colored protein powder because it looks less like drugs.

Related: Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder Review

Protein powders on international flights

If you are flying to a different country, it is best to do a little bit of research on the country you’re visiting. Some supplements may also have ingredients that are not allowed in some countries. 

UAE, for instance, have banned some dietary supplements that contain stimulants for men and those they believe could affect blood pressure. While it is rare for you to encounter such issues with your protein powder, it’s worth looking into when going abroad. Some protein products are hemp-based powders, which may be problematic in some nations.

Alternatives to bringing protein powders on a plane

Shipping your protein powder ahead

If you drink thick protein shakes daily to get the essential macronutrients but don’t want the hassle of TSA restrictions during your travel day, you can ship it ahead of the travel. Then, just bring the empty container back on your return flight. 

This option may be costly, but it’s worth it for convenience.

Protein bars

Packing protein in a bar is an excellent alternative to bringing powdered protein on a plane. However, remember that solid protein bars with uniform consistency may raise red flags in airport security. It can happen in the US, Mexico, Canada, or overseas. 

The x-ray scanners may flag those that appear to be explosives. So, testing and physical inspection by the agent may be necessary.

Opt for protein bars with less density or different textures to avoid such. These are the ones that don’t trigger the airport security software. 

Related: Built Bar Review

Protein gels

The TSA allows different foods on a plane as long as they’re solid. If you don’t prefer to bring them, another option is to get a protein gel. Such a protein supplement will be considered a liquid protein shake and must weigh less than 3.4 ounces.

If you make your protein shake in a shaker bottle, the airport personnel will also subject it to the liquids rule.


How to Pack Protein Powder for Air Travel (Without Breaking TSA Rules)

Since they are allowed on a plane, you should not fear their confiscation. However, just to minimize the chance of extra screenings at the airport, here are some options for packing your protein powder:

Choose an airtight container

Packing protein powder for air travel is pretty straightforward. You just have to choose an airtight container (not more than 12 oz. if it’s for hand-carry luggage) and fill it with protein powder. 

To reduce the chances of additional screening, use the original packaging of your favorite protein powder. Meanwhile, if you want to carry it in smaller quantities, put them in separate little protein packets.

Another option is to pack it in a shaker bottle. Doing so will lessen the screening time and will prevent spillage as well.

Add a desiccant or two

To keep the protein powder fresh for the entire duration of your adventure, consider adding a desiccant inside your protein powder bag. A desiccant is a small paper package with a silica gel that removes moisture from the air. It will surely go a long way to ensure it stays edible for several days.

FAQs About Bringing Protein Powder On a Plane

Can you bring meal replacement shakes and protein shakes on a plane?

Yes, you can bring meal replacement or protein shakes. But powder-like substances should not be greater than 350 mL or 12 oz.

Can I bring my protein powder in a Ziploc bag?

You can bring them in a Ziploc bag through airport security. It would be best to label it with the words “protein powder” so there’s less chance for additional airport screening.

Can I put my protein powder in a shaker bottle?

Yes, you can put your protein powder in a shaker. It’s ideal to place the protein powder in a bag first and then into the shaker to avoid spillage.

Wrap Up

Maintaining your nutrition and diet while you travel is challenging, but it’s possible as long as you’re better prepared. And one way to do that is by bringing your protein powder as you travel. 

Don’t worry. Bringing protein powder on a plane is legal. Plus, you can pack protein powders correctly to avoid extra stress at the airport.  

Have a safe and happy journey!

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Nathan Lloyd, MSc

I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.

If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.