I had to try about four dozen different flavors/brands of protein before I found two or three that worked for me. Imagine if I had bought big jars of protein powder for those 4 dozen samples. I'd be broke! Thankfully I used single-scoop samples of protein and could quickly eliminate the ones I didn't like.
After surgery our tastes buds change. So the flavors of protein that we liked before surgery we might not like after. That's why it isn't really a good idea to test out protein beforehand. In fact, my taste buds changed twice. During the first two weeks after surgery nothing tasted right ... I later found out it was because of the anesthesia in my system, it can give everything a metallic flavor. Then things mellowed out a bit after 2 weeks. But then at the 2 month mark things changed again .. suddenly stuff that I didn't like the taste of was much better. So be patient with your body and expect things to change along the way.
So where do you get samples? There are online and local resources ... so do some digging to find as many as you can.
ONLINE SOURCES - here's a list of the most common sources for buying variety packs or individual flavors ... getting several different brands and flavors all in one place.
Enjoy Health -- I started my experimentation with the big sampler pack
Netrition -- They also have a variety pack of samples
Bariatric Eating -- Susan Marie sells individual flavors ala carte or a protein starter kit
Vitalady -- Michelle sells individual flavors ala carte
LOCAL SOURCES -- sometimes you just want to have easier access to protein than having to order online. Here are some local sources for getting samples:
GNC -- they sell a couple different flavors of their most popular brands. They also sometimes have free samples under the counter, just have to ask.
Health Food Stores -- if you've got a large health food store in your area, they may have samples of generic whey or soy protein. Many people say they have found unflavored whey protein in bulk at their health food store.
Support Group Members -- ask each member of your support group to bring a scoop of their favorite flavor to share.
Body Fortress Protein -- this is the brand I've settled on - not because it is all that much better tasting than anything else - but because it's convenient to pick up at Walmart or Target. And it's cheap. They don't sell samples either. But a whole 2lb jar is only around $15 (about half what others usually run). So I'm listing this here because it's the one big jar of protein that you can buy and try and not be out a lot of money.
So if you are having problems finding a protein powder that tastes good to you, get some samples. And even if a flavor doesn't sound good to you, try it anyway. One of my favorite flavors right after surgery was cookies-n-cream -- which was not something I would have picked pre-op. You never know what will taste good to you after surgery, so try 'em all.