Creative suggestions for getting enough protein
Q: I know it’s important to eat enough protein in order to build muscle and burn fat, but I sometimes find it difficult to get my daily requirements from food alone. I also use a protein powder supplement that works pretty well, but I sometimes get tired of drinking shakes. Do you have any helpful recipes or suggestions on how to get enough protein in a more creative way?
A: If you want to gain muscle, lose fat and stay healthy, you’ll have to learn to include plenty of protein in your diet, but this can sometimes be a daunting task. That’s why it’s a good idea to collect tasty protein recipes that can help you get your required daily dose while staying away from other indulgences that will quickly get you out of shape. Here are four of my favorites that can be made using your favorite protein powder and a few other key ingredients.
The average protein bar found in the grocery store is nothing more than a glorified candy bar infused with loads of sugar and hydrogenated oils. That’s why it’s essential to learn to be creative and make your own healthier version without the frills. Here is an example of a recipe I have used over the years that is very healthy and has worked wonders for me. You can modify it to your own liking but stay with the basics, and I think you will be surprised at how good it tastes.
2 cups of protein powder
1 cup of egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 and stir together the protein powder, egg whites, and vanilla extract. Add the nuts and cranberries and pour into a 9-by-9-inch nonstick baking pan coated with nonfat cooking spray. Spread evenly and bake for 10 minutes or until a slight crust forms on top but you can still feel some give when you press on them with your fingertip. Be sure not to overbake or the bars will dry out, and they taste much better when they are soft and gooey. When they are cool, you can cut and refrigerate with plastic wrap.
Protein cookie dough
This recipe is a favorite of mine because it’s very healthy and gives me my sweet tooth fix, keeping me from eating things that I don’t need in my diet, like candy and cookies. The recipe makes one serving, and the portion size is a little different for men and women.
2 scoops for men and 1 scoop for women of your favorite protein powder
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
Pour your favorite protein into a medium-sized bowl. Add in 1 tablespoon of regular or crunchy peanut butter and slowly pour a small amount of water into the bowl. Mix thoroughly until you get a dough-like consistency and then eat and enjoy! I have found that some people like this recipe with a little more water, while others prefer it to be more firm, but it’s important to experiment to find what’s right for you.
One of my favorite breakfast recipes is protein porridge because it makes breakfast quick and easy and allows me to get a quality protein and carbohydrate in one shot without a lot of preparation. Just like the cookie dough above, the recipe is meant for one serving and will differ for men and women.
3-4 oz. of old fashioned oatmeal for women or 6-8 oz. for men
3-4 oz. of water for women and 6-8 oz. for men
1 scoop of protein powder for women and 2 scoops for men
Pour oatmeal in a bowl and add the same amount of water. Microwave for 1 minute and then add 1-2 scoops of protein and stir it together until it becomes like porridge. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and enjoy. Remember the men’s version of the recipe is basically double the ingredients of the women’s version.
Protein banana ice cream
1/2 cup of skim milk
1 scoop (about 20-25 grams of protein) vanilla protein powder
2 cups of frozen banana slices (about 2 medium bananas)
4 tablespoons of fat-free whipped cream
2 tablespoons of sugar-free chocolate syrup
Pour skim milk into blender, add protein powder and blend on high speed for 15 seconds. Add frozen banana slices and blend again for 45 seconds or until smooth. Pour into 2 small bowls and add 2 tablespoons of whipped cream and chocolate syrup to each.
Add these recipes to your tool box and you’ll be sure to get enough protein to repair and build lean muscle for optimum health.