A few weeks ago you may have seen my post about what supplements are recommended for weight gain and what I find works for me but some people do find having a protein shake to be boring or for the majority of people you don’t always remember to consume it. This post explores how you can add protein powder into your diet through various healthy recipes.
Protein powder is a handy substance-it can be difficult to get your macro ratios right without it, and who has time to spend hours coming up with meal plans when there’s a quick and convenient way to boost your protein intake without throwing off your other numbers? The downside is, drinking a protein shake (or three) every day can get boring quickly. When your choices are limited to chocolate or vanilla shakes, it doesn’t seem like much of a choice at all.
Here’s the cool thing: you’re not limited to mixing your protein powder with plain water and gulping it down. There’s a ton of things you can do with flavoured or unflavoured protein powder, all of which can be integrated into a healthy diet to add a little more interest to your life. Boring food is a motivation killer for eating well–but your food doesn’t have to be boring!
Let’s look at some cool ways to use protein powder in interesting, unique ways that’ll save you from yet another boring post-workout shake.
DIY protein bars and bites
Did you know you can make your own protein bars? What about bite-sized, protein-packed treats? Protein bars and bites are a great way to boost your protein intake, but the store bought ones can be not only expensive, but full of ingredients you don’t want to eat.
Enter the homemade option. The great thing about this is that a lot of make-at-home protein bar recipes don’t require you to bake them at all–just measure, mix, and refrigerate! So even if you’re not skilled in the kitchen–even if you’re prone to burning water–you can still make your own high-protein treats for post-workout and between-meals snacks.
The other thing is that if you make your own bars and bites, you can control what goes in them. Allergic to nuts? Make your own definitely-nut-free versions. Eating paleo? You can avoid the artificial sweeteners and use honey or maple syrup instead. The possibilities are endless!
Here are some recipes to get you started, but you should absolutely feel free to experiment:
No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Protein Bars – just five ingredients and 25 minutes! This is as easy as making your own food from scratch gets.
Homemade Quest Bars – this recipe also includes vegan options, which shows the real benefit of making your own protein bars–you get to choose what goes into them!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bites – this DIY protein bite recipe costs a fraction of what store-bought protein snacks do, and is twice as delicious.Add protein powder to your breakfast
Getting in that all-important pre-workout protein can be tough if you work out in the mornings, but fear not: you can add protein powder to all your favourite breakfast foods to give them a boost without making them weird at all.
Pancakes take on protein powder especially well, because they don’t strictly need wheat flour to come up as fluffy discs of deliciousness. But you can also add (unflavoured) protein powder to your scrambled eggs and omelettes, and vanilla or chocolate protein powder to your oatmeal.
You can even sprinkle protein powder on your cereal, if that’s your preferred breakfast food. Pick a flavoured one for an extra touch of luxury with breakfast!
Try these recipes as a starting point, but don’t be afraid to branch out:
Overnight Cake Batter Protein Oatmeal – this is the most convenient breakfast you’ll ever make, and the protein content is impressive!
Four-Ingredient Protein Pancakes – these are easier to make than regular pancakes, and high-protein, too!
Protein boost your meals
Plenty of main meals–other than breakfast–lend themselves to the addition of unflavoured protein powder. If you’re a fan of breaded chicken, you can replace some of the bread crumbs with protein powder. If you make your own hamburgers, the same principle applies. You can also add protein powder to sauces as a thickening agent–it has a pretty neutral flavour, so it won’t mess up your recipes.
Plus, it’s pretty inexpensive. Nutrition and supplement stores are constantly rolling out new offers and promotions to keep people returning, and websites like ProteinPromo.com are always on top of new and exclusive money off codes.
If you’re trying to get your family to eat healthier but you’ve got some picky eaters, hidden protein powder in main meals is a great way to boost their protein intake without them ever knowing. For example, protein powder dissolves completely in a homemade cheese sauce, so high-protein mac ‘n’ cheese is an ideal way to get a fussy eater to get their daily dose of protein.
You can also add it to soups and pizza bases or homemade dinner rolls–the possibilities really are endless once you start!
Need a nudge in the right direction? Try:
High Protein, Low Carb Chicken Pasta – this recipe uses pea protein to thicken the cheese sauce, and once you’ve got that technique figured out, the world is your oyster.
Protein Power Pizza – once you learn to make this pizza base, you’ll have a quick, easy and tasty meal that you can make in endless varieties on hand all the time.
Protein powder = baking magic
If you’re confident with baking, your options for getting protein powder into your diet in fun, exciting ways explode. You can replace a percentage of the flour in just about any recipe with protein powder–up to 10% for cakes, higher for cookies and bars.
Here’s a secret tip for you–because of the way whey protein absorbs moisture, you can use unflavoured or chocolate protein powder to make the chewiest, fudgiest brownies ever by replacing about 20% of the flour with protein powder. Most of the rising action in brownies comes from the eggs, so you can even replace the rest of the flour with almond meal, coconut flour, or whatever other substitute you like. People will beg you for your secret recipe, and you won’t have to feel guilty about giving yourself or your kids a treat!
There are hundreds of baking recipes available that use protein powder–just hit up Pinterest to see what I mean–but here are a few great ones to get you started:
Chocolate Protein Brownies – these brownies take advantage of the properties of protein powder, as mentioned above, to make dense, chocolatey brownies.
Glazed Protein Donuts – what more could you want than the classic glazed donut in a high-protein version?
Chocolate Banana Protein Mug Cake – this is one for even the non-bakers, as it only takes minutes and is cooked in the microwave, so you don’t even need to own an oven.
Cool down, bulk up
Frozen desserts also lend themselves to the addition of protein powder. Both ice cream and popsicles ‘hide’ protein powder really well, so this is the perfect thing for kids–or for post-workout treats during the warmer months!
You can simply add a scoop of protein powder to your favourite ice cream or popsicle recipe–just pick a flavour that matches, or choose unflavoured powder. Traditional ice cream is already high in protein thanks to the eggs and dairy, but there’s no reason you can’t make it a protein powerhouse with the addition of a secret ingredient.
Need some inspiration? Try these recipes on for size:
High-Protein Ice Cream – this one also focuses on reducing the amount of sugar, so it’s a good alternative to ‘traditional’ ice cream if you’re watching that, too.
Protein Fudgsicles – not just better for you than the store-bought version, but way better tasting, too.
Make some fancy protein shakes
If you’re sick of plain protein shakes but you still like to drink your protein where possible, then why not make yourself a fancier protein shake? You don’t have to stick to the directions on the pack to get the full benefit from your protein powder–in fact, if you choose your shake recipe wisely, you can have a delicious treat that tastes like dessert but is even better for you than a regular protein shake.
This is handy if you have trouble eating before or after a workout–it’s much easier to drink something than sit down and eat it, and it sits more easily in your stomach, too. If you’re sick of plain protein shakes, you don’t have to give them up–you just need to change them up!
The number of fancy protein shake recipes available is basically infinite, but here’s a few to get you thinking:
Cafe Mocha Protein Shake – need a coffee fix of a morning? Try this shake for your protein and caffeine needs.
Mint Cookies and Cream Shake – this recipe shows that you really don’t have to stick to the boring, traditional protein shake.
Snickerdoodle Protein Shake – if you can imagine it, you can make it into a protein shake. The choice doesn’t have to be between chocolate or vanilla anymore!
Once you start seeing all the ways you can use protein powder other than what the instructions on the side of the tub say, you’ll realise that you can put it in… well, almost everything! Whether you’re devoted to flavoured brands or you prefer to pick up unflavoured powder instead, you no longer have to be limited to straightforward shakes, and you don’t have to worry if you just can’t face another one.
Adding more protein to your diet is a great way to eat healthier and really boost the effectiveness of your workouts–whether they be in the gym or during the rush to get the kids to school! I hope you’ll try out some of these tips for quicker, easier, healthier eating with protein powder.