Quick Ways to Boost Your Meals with Protein Powder
Protein supplements have come a long way since the early days of bland tasting powder.
These days you can get a different flavour for every day of the month.
But let’s face it – gulping down a couple of protein shakes every day can get boring no matter how diverse the flavours.
If you want the benefits of protein powder, but you don’t like drinking shakes every day then this guide is for you.
We’re going to start with a quick breakdown of the benefits and types of protein supplements. Then we’ll give you some great tips on how to easily add protein powder to your daily diet. The final section contains a sample of delicious recipes for each meal time.
Why Use Protein Powder?
Protein supplements have been around for ages, but it’s only in the past couple of decades that their popularity has really soared. What’s behind their popularity?
Protein is an important part of your daily diet that increases energy levels, helps to maintain a healthy weight and can reduce cravings for sugary foods.
There are a variety of reasons to use protein supplements:
Reach your daily recommended intake of protein
The recommended intake of protein is approximately 56g per day for men and 45g per day for women (or 0.75g of protein per kg of body weight)
Help with weight loss
Protein helps to boost your metabolism and lower your appetite, as well as helping you to burn fat rather than muscle when exercising.
Sustain energy levels throughout the day
Protein helps to keep your insulin levels constant, which means that glucose is removed from your blood more slowly, keeping energy levels stable and reducing sugar and carb cravings.
Which Protein Powder to Choose?
So, there’s no doubt that protein supplements are good for you. But you do have to be careful, as not all protein powders are made equal. There are some quite big differences in the quality of protein powder products. Also, different products will give you varying results.
Here’s a quick guide to the best types of protein powder to buy depending on your goals or diet:
For Muscle Gain | Whey protein and whey isolates are generally considered the best type of protein powder for gaining muscle as the body absorbs and uses the protein efficiently.
For Weight Loss | Choose protein powders that contain NO added sugar, dextrose, maltodextrins and BCAAs, as all of these will encourage weight gain.
For a Vegan Diet | Avoid whey and milk proteins, and instead choose 100% plant-based protein powder, such as pea protein.
For Diabetics | Avoid powders that contain sugar within the first 3 listed ingredients and also choose a powder that contains a low amount of carbs (preferably 4g or less per serving).
Simple Ways to Add to Your Diet
Ok, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to integrate protein supplements into your daily diet without too much effort.
Quick and Easy
Most people think that protein powder can only be drunk in either a milk or water shake. This is far from the truth. Some of the flavours go really well in a cup of tea or coffee. If you like a good caffeine hit first thing in the morning, why not combine this with a protein boost?
Vanilla, chocolate or hazelnut flavoured protein powders are perfect in a hot cup of coffee. If you find the flavours too overpowering, dilute a serving of powder in a flask of coffee rather than a mug and sip it throughout the morning.
The great thing about this method is that it’s really easy to make it a part of your daily routine. If you don’t drink tea or coffee, you could try mixing a fruit-flavoured powder with a glass of orange juice, a fresh smoothie, or even sprinkling it onto your bowl of breakfast cereal or porridge oats.
Cooking with Protein Powder
We have plenty of recipes that are built around protein powders for you later on in this article. But you don’t need to learn a whole new repertoire of recipes. There are some really simple ways to include protein powder in existing recipes.
How about adding a couple of scoops of protein powder to a pancake mix for instance? It takes no effort and can add some great flavours to your pancakes. Also, you can simply mix protein powder into food such as mashed potato or meatballs.
A little-known fact about protein powder is that it can be very effective as a binding agent in baking. The best way is to combine whey protein powder with flour and use it to make healthy versions of treats such as muffins, cupcakes, cookies or savoury dishes such as burgers, lasagne or cottage pie.
Protein Snack Bars
One of our favourite ways to use protein powder is to make snack bars. The great thing about snack bars is the huge variety of ingredients you can include such as fruit, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, oats, cocoa - you never need to eat boring snacks again.
Protein Powder Recipes
Ok, it’s time to check out some protein powder-packed recipes. We’ve gone for a sample menu of easy to prepare and cook meals that are protein-packed and tasty. Enjoy!
Perfectly Protein-Packed Porridge
Who says porridge makes for a boring breakfast? You can add your protein kick, plus other nutrients using this simple recipe.
Makes 1 Serving
- 300-400g rolled oats
- 150-250ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
- 250g blueberries (or another type of berry if preferred)
- 30g flax seeds
- 1 scoop vanilla flavour whey protein powder
- Mix the rolled oats and milk in a bowl and microwave on a high setting for 3 minutes
- Stir the porridge and mix in the scoop of protein powder thoroughly
- If required add more milk and microwave for another one minute, until the porridge is a creamy consistency
- Sprinkle the blueberries and flaxseed on top for a delicious finish
Flavour-packed Plant-based Protein Burgers
This recipe is great for both those on a plant-based diet or if you’re just trying to eat a more healthy, balanced diet. Packed full of natural and added protein and delicious flavours, they are great served with some sweet potato wedges and a salad.
Makes 6 to 8 Burgers (can be frozen and defrosted)
- 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic - chopped
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tin of drained chickpeas
- 100g pumpkin puree (or blended pumpkin or squash flesh)
- 1 tbsp English mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 120g natural flavoured whey protein powder
- Salt and pepper to season
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees (gas mark 6) and place foil over a baking tray, lightly greased with a splash of oil
- Moderately heat the virgin olive oil in a saucepan until simmering, then add the garlic and onions and fry until golden brown
- Add the balsamic vinegar, remove from the hob and let it cool for 10 minutes
- Mash the chickpeas roughly in a bowl with a fork. Keep the texture rough, so avoid using a blender.
- Add the pumpkin puree, oregano, mustard and mix together thoroughly
- Add the cooled onion and garlic and stir again, while adding the protein powder
- Mix everything thoroughly into a soft, moist lump. If it is too dry, add a splash of water until you get a soft, mouldable texture
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Moisten your hands slightly and mould about 6 to 8 burger patties. If the mixture is too sloppy, add a sprinkle of plain flour to thicken up slightly
- Space the patties out on the foil-lined baking tray and place in the oven on a high shelf
- Bake for 20 minutes, flip them all over, then bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown
- Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the foil
- Serve immediately or let them cool down completely and freeze for a maximum of 6 months
No-Hassle Vanilla Protein Cake
We said these would be easy-to-make recipes, and this is probably the easiest cake ever as it involves no baking - just some ingredients, a bit of mixing and a microwave.
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp applesauce
- 2 tbsp vanilla syrup
- 3 tbsp milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp white flour
- 3 tbsp dry pancake mix
- 1 scoop vanilla flavoured whey protein powder
- Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together in an electric blender or mixer (except for the flour, pancake mix and protein powder)
- Once well mixed, add the pancake mix, flour and protein powder and mix again
- Scoop the mixture into a microwaveable bowl and microwave on full power for 2 to 3 minutes. If the mixture is still moist on top give it another 10 seconds and repeat until dry
- That’s it! Sit back and enjoy your delicious cake - it really is that simple!