Nary a gym exists without an ample supply of protein powder. For the seriously dedicated gym goer, protein powder is as important to their regimen as a good pair of shoes and a full water bottle. It’s necessary for post-workout recovery as much as it is pre-workout fuel. During a weight lifting workout, the muscle fibers are torn. Without proper recovery nutrition, rich in protein, the muscles aren’t able to rebuild. But, when you do consume a high-protein snack, the muscles repair properly, that’s when you start to see more defined muscle tone.
It’s not always convenient to eat a meal right after a workout, but a quick shake or other snack can be noshed on the go to ensure you get that shot of protein as soon as possible. Plenty of protein in your diet offers a sense of satiation too, meaning you feel fuller for longer after you’ve eaten.
Protein powders are one of the go-to sources for this nutrient, and shakes are the most popular use. In a vast variety of choices, from type, like whey or soy protein, to flavor, like chocolate and vanilla, the brands and options available are boundless. And outside of shakes, the uses are pretty wide open, too! Break free of the blender and try one of these protein-infused ideas.
You can healthify your baked goods with a scoop of protein powder added to the batter. For instance, in these Cinnamon Pecan Muffins use a 3/4 cup of protein powder to make them more satisfying and give you a protein boost to start you morning or on the way to the gym.
You already know that oatmeal is a powerhouse food, but a little protein can take this morning meal to the next level. “A scoop of vanilla [protein powder] with a big ol’ scoop of pumpkin puree and cinnamon is pretty awesome in oatmeal,” suggested Jenn from FitBottomedGirl.com. We’ll try not to get too excited about all the favor it offers, not to mention fiber, protein and other important nutrients.
The ultimate breakfast dish becomes a pre-workout treat when you make a protein-based flap jack. Add a scoop or two of your favorite protein powder to our Whole Grain Green Tea Pancakes for one sweet breakfast that’s completely guilt free.
Bars, cookies, brownies, and cupcakes become a better-for-you snack when you add a little protein powder to the batter. These indulgences won’t weight heavy on your mind or your middle. Some have even added the powder to a homemade ice cream or gelatin dessert. Jennifer, our in-progress True Weight Loss Story, said she loves these Bake and Take Pumpkin Protein Bars at Fitness and Spice. She uses a whole can of pumpkin; we say skip the Splenda.
5. Peanut Butter Balls
All you need is natural peanut butter, egg whites, oats and your protein powder of choice mixed in a bowl to make this healthy treat. Once the batter is at a thick and sticky consistency, all you’ll have left to do is roll it into bite size balls before they’re ready for pure enjoyment.
If you’re really trying to focus on protein, it’s easy to add a scoop of protein powder to just about anything. A plain powder, like The Organic Whey‘s “thoughtfully raw” protein powder won’t be noticed in our Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese. However, you’ll feel fuller and more satisfied after pairing the pasta with a salad at lunch. Their protein powder is free of soy, gluten, and GMO, as well it’s all natural, hormone free, and certified organic.
7. Protein Pudding
If you’re in the mood for some chocolate delight, then this recipe is calling your name. Throw a scoop of chocolate protein powder in a bowl with one tablespoon of natural peanut butter and some water. Mix until your healthy chocolate pudding is ready.
8. Protein Brownie
More chocolate please! Take the same ingredients from the protein pudding recipe and microwave them (after mixing of course) on 40% power for 30-60 seconds until the center is slightly gooey. From protein – to pudding – to brownie! You can also give these Breakfast Brownies a try from Biggest Loser’s Bill Germanakos.
Try our Pina Colada Icee for a tropical frozen treat that will bring the island to you. Adding a serving of protein powder, which is about four tablespoons, will makeover your traditional protein shake.
10. Banana Soft Serve
One of the biggest food trends of the past year was freezing and blending bananas in to an ice cream look-a-like that was actually good for you. Roni Noone at GreenLiteBites.com said she puts protein powder right in to her for a delightful homemade frozen treat. Give it a whirl with our 3 Must Try Frozen Banana Ice Cream flavors.
11. More Pancakes
If you’re on a low carb diet than our Low Carb Pancakes might be a great option for you. The egg protein powder is a great substitute for flour.
All you need to enjoy a Protein Peach Surprise is some protein powder, peaches and fat free cream cheese. Simple but delightful.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be full of fat, grease or excess carbs. These Power Scrambled Eggs LiveStrong could be your breakfast of champions.
Try making our Peanut Butter Cookies or Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with the kids this afternoon rather than the usual sugary treats filled with junk ingredients. The egg protein powder does a great job of substitution once again.
15. Rice Crispies
For your on-the-go and convenient post-workout meal, try these Recovery Rice Crispies. The cereal is high enough on the glycemic index scale that you’ll get the proper nutrients into your muscles immediately for excellent recovery.
Bodybuilding athlete Jamie Eason has whipped up a recipe for a Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread. If you’re on a craving hunt for some cinnamon rolls, try kicking that craving out the door with Jamie’s healthy version.
Our Top 10 Healthy Recipes of 2012 – at Yahoo! Shine
with Brandi Koskie