Protein powders have tons of benefits: They’re low in calories, work with most every diet (paleo, gluten-free, vegan), have a long shelf life, and are easy to travel with. In short, there’s no more convenient way to achieve your daily protein goals.
But, if you’re like most people, you still prefer steak. That’s because protein supplements are boring. Even in smoothie form, where you can mix in fruits and vegetables to your heart’s content, you eventually hit the wall. No mas.
What’s more, studies suggest that liquid calories can decrease satiety and increase daily calorie intake. If only there was a better way to get all the benefits from protein powder with none of the downsides... We got you. Here are 10 of our favorite ways to use protein powder to fuel up and recover well after a tough workout or race.
10 Ways to Use Protein Powder (You've Never Thought Of)
Gluten-Free Protein Pizza Crust
In medium bowl, toss together ½ cup gluten-free oat flour, ¼ cup unflavored protein powder (any type), and teaspoon garlic salt. Mix in ⅓ cup egg whites from carton and stir until dough begins to pull away from the sides. Add more flour if too sticky or a splash of water if too dry.
Press dough out to form circle on lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 350˚F degrees for approximately 8 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden brown on edges. Remove from oven and add toppings of choice before baking for another 5 to 6 minutes. Serves one.
Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Spread
Mix together 4 ounces cream cheese, ½ cup strawberry or vanilla protein powder, 4 individual packets of stevia, and 1 cup diced fresh strawberries. Spread on English muffins, mix into warm oats, or serve as dip with apple slices. Serves four.
Related: 4 Healthy and Easy Paleo Desserts
Higher Protein Garlic Hummus
In food processor, add 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground black pepper, and sea salt and process until smooth. Pulse in ⅓ cup natural flavor pea protein or brown rice protein powder a bit a time until incorporated, adding a splash of water if needed for looser consistency. Use as a dip or spread on sandwiches. Serves six.
Blueberry Protein Fluff
Add 1 cup frozen blueberries, ¼ cup vanilla whey protein powder, and ⅛ cup milk to blender and blend until smooth. Dump into stand mixer bowl and use the whisk attachment to whisk for 4 to 6 minutes or until it has fluffed up and increased noticeably in volume. Serves one.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crustless Cheesecake
In blender, mix together ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese, 3 tablespoons chocolate-flavor casein protein powder, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, and 2 individual packets stevia until smooth. Scrape out into a bowl and set in fridge to firm up for 30 minutes. Serves one.
Banana Nut Protein Cookies
Mash up 2 very ripe medium bananas and stir in ⅓ cup vanilla protein powder (any type) and 1 cup of dry quick-cook oats. Stir in ⅓ cup chopped walnuts and form dough into six balls. Flatten out balls slightly on baking sheet and bake at 350˚F degrees for 16 to 18 minutes. Serves six.
Mocha Protein Nice Cream
Peel one large banana, slice thinly, and freeze until firm. Add frozen banana slices to high-powered blender or food processor and add ⅛ cup chilled coffee, 1 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (any type), and 2 to 3 individual packets stevia. Blend until creamy, adding an additional splash of coffee if needed for consistency. Set in freezer to set up for at least 30 minutes. Serves one.
Pumpkin Pie Protein Oats
Add 1 cup of milk, ⅓ cup vanilla protein powder, and ½ cup of canned pumpkin puree into sauce pan. Whisk to combine and heat until warm. Stir in ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and ½ cup quick cook oats and continue cooking over low heat, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes. Top with nuts, if desired. Serves one.
Cookies & Crème Protein Balls
Mix together ½ cup cookies and crème protein powder, 2 tablespoons coconut flour, 2 individual packets of stevia, 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, and 6 to 8 tablespoons of water. Mixture will be crumbly, but knead together, adding a bit more water if necessary. Form into four balls, roll in mini chocolate chips (optional), and refrigerate until firm. Serves four.
Protein Mashed Potatoes
Bake or microwave two large Russet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), let cool to touch. Prepare mashed potatoes via preferred method (with milk, sour cream, yogurt, or whatever). Mix in ½ cup unflavored protein powder (any type) and serve. Serves four.