While both versatile and delicious, protein powder is also an effortless way to increase our daily protein intake to help reach the daily recommended dose of 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. Reaping some major health benefits, protein does it all— it cuts cravings, replenishes muscles, increases energy, and aids in weight loss. To add to the greatness, protein powders are also low in calories and super simple to toss into the food you're already eating. So, it's about time you skip those plain old protein shakes and simply start adding it in to every area of your diet. That's where we come in!
Since protein powder flavors range from PB and chocolate to orange creamsicle—with an assortment of blends to fit numerous dietary lifestyles—you do need to be a little mindful of what you're mixing in where. And since one of the most important parts of getting protein into your body is the quality of the protein, don't forget to research which are the best and worst protein powders to choose, as well. Now let's get started!
Add It to Your Joe
Start your day off right with the caffeine you need to get your energy flowing and the protein you need to keep it going. Add a single scoop of protein powder and almond or coconut milk to a freshly brewed cup'a Joe, stir and enjoy. Coffee is already chock full of natural antioxidants and metabolism-boosting properties, so why not add in some extra benefits with the assistance of a protein powder?
MAKE A FANCY PARFAIT
Yogurt is a delicious snack loaded with health benefits like bone-building calcium and probiotics. A study done by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that there is a direct link between the lactic acid-producing bacteria in yogurt and strong gut health. Combine a small scoop of vanilla protein powder, plain Greek yogurt, mixed berries, cinnamon and a handful of shaved almonds and get a flavorful treat any time of the day!
UP YOUR OATMEAL GAME
Are you resorting to the icky prepackaged oatmeal because you think plain oatmeal is a boring breakfast with no taste? It doesn't have to be that way! Toss those pre-flavored oatmeal packets that are filled with artificial ingredients, additives, and sugar, and indulge yourself in a hearty breakfast with the help of some protein powder. Mix ¼ cup of steel cut oats with 1 cup of water (or your fav nut milk), 1 small scoop of protein powder, 1/2 tablespoon of flaxseed, a diced green apple, and nutmeg. Bring the water to a boil, add oats, reduce to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add in all your fixin's at the end to get a perfectly warm bowl of healthy oats or chilled overnight oats.
COMBINE IT WITH CHIA
When it comes to getting a tasty treat that isn't gut-wrenching, you can easily combine chia with any liquid in order to find the consistency of a pudding with no unnecessary additives. To make your chia treat even more exciting, toss in a scoop of chocolate protein powder to give it that extra sweet kick you're looking for and even more protein. This is a childhood throwback that won't leave you with any guilt!
ADD PROTEIN TO YOUR PROTEIN
Sound redundant? Maybe so, but by adding a little bit of unflavored protein powder to your meatballs, veggie burgers or lasagnas can really amp up those belly-shrinking benefits. It's a great binder and keeps your classic meals tasting and feeling just like they're supposed to! There aren't any crazy steps, either; just add ¼ a cup of protein powder to your signature recipe.
SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH
Brownies, cakes, cookies and more—there is no shortage of healthy desserts you can add protein powder to! Choose a protein powder with the flavor that your dessert is looking for and mix it right into the batter. We love this doughnut recipe from Protein Cakery that allows you to have three mini doughnuts for only 203 calories!
SPRINKLE YOUR FRUITS
A bowl of refreshing fruit is like nothing else— juicy, invigorating, and so satisfying. But fruit is one of the food groups slacking off when it comes to the calorie to protein ratio. By giving your fruit a sprinkle of protein powder, you can change that! This becomes a perfect midday snack that gets you all your vital nutrients.
CREATE A DIP
Make a dip by combining protein powder to one of your healthy faves to get some extra waist-whittling benefits. You can combine a scoop of chocolate protein powder, a tablespoon of nut butter and a tablespoon of water at a time until it reaches your desired consistency to dip your apples and celery in. Or go for a savory Greek yogurt Tzatziki dip, hummus, or guacamole with the addition of a scoop of unflavored protein powder. Be sure not to add so much that it changes the texture of the dip; incorporate it slowly and add a liquid like water or lemon juice if necessary.
HAVE IT HOT
Mix unflavored protein powder into a butternut squash soup or chili to get an added dose of nutrients. Don't overdo it, though; adding too much protein powder can lead to a grainy texture or even curdling. Mix it slowly into your soups, stews and sauces before they're boiling to make sure you don't go overboard and turn your dinner into a weird mess. Remember: You can always add more, but you can't take it out!
HAVE IT COLD
Ice creams that are made with just two ingredients and are bursting with nutrients are ice creams that we're big fans of! Give this freezer treat a go by combining protein powder and either frozen bananas or Greek yogurt. Freeze and stir until it reaches your preferred consistency and voila! You now have a healthy ice cream to feel good about!
MAKE A DRESSING
Protein is just what a dull salad needs, especially when you're not in the mood for meat, tofu, or chicken. Choose an unflavored protein powder and combine with garlic, vinegar, mustard, extra-virgin olive oil and your choice of spices to make a thickened dressing that will kick up the flavors of a plain protein-lacking salad.
AMP YOUR SMOOTHIE
Make your fruit smoothie a protein smoothie by adding a scoop of your favorite blend of protein powder. To make it even more nutrient-dense, add chia seeds and flax meal. You can even imitate some of your favorite desserts like carrot cake or coconut cream pie in smoothie form with the help of those flavored protein powders. They give a smoothie a great consistency and some often-needed sweet flavor.
HEALTHIFY YOUR PIZZA
Protein-packed pizza? Yes, please! It's hard to resist a good slice of pizza, so stop resisting and instead indulge in a healthy version of the old favorite. Make a pizza dough using 1 cup of rolled oats, ¼ cup of unflavored protein powder, 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, and seasonings of your choice.
ADD TO MASHED POTATOES
Or really to any vegetable that can be mashed. A small scoop of flavorless protein powder can be added to mashed veggies like squash, cauliflower or potatoes and it might just be the answer to getting that consistency perfectly right. If it seems too firm, add a splash of almond milk or water.
SNACK, SNACK, SNACK
There are endless snacks to make or top with protein powder to get a boost of hunger-squashing protein into your body. Toss popcorn or baked chickpeas in chocolate protein powder and chipotle powder to get a perfect balance of sweet and salty. You can also add it into your homemade granola mix or one of these energy bites.