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, when you’re sick of plain old protein shakes and you’re curious about cooking with protein powder, it’s time to simply start adding it into every area of your diet. That’s where we come in!
Because protein powder flavors range from peanut butter 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 because 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 with cooking with protein powder!
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 of 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?
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!
Get this yogurt parfait recipe over on How Sweet Eats.
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! You can start cooking with protein powder by tossing those pre-flavored oatmeal packets (that are filled with artificial ingredients, additives, and sugar) and indulge 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 favorite 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 fixings at the end to get a perfectly warm bowl of healthy oats or chilled overnight oats.
Get this oatmeal recipe over on Kim’s Cravings.
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 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.
Get this chia pudding recipe on My Darling Vegan.
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.
Get this veggie burger recipe on A Beautiful Mess.
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 protein brownies recipe from Ambitious Kitchen that allows you to have a brownie for just 100 calories! It’s one of the easiest ways to start cooking with protein powder.
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.
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 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.
Get this brownie batter protein dip recipe from A Big Man’s World.
Why buy a protein bar when you can make your own? Get your protein powder fix by mixing it into your very own protein bar recipe, like this one from Minimalist Baker.
Don’t want to have a whole bar? Make some no-bake protein energy balls instead! Prep a bunch of them and have them for easy snacking during the week. Try making one of these protein ball recipes from Eating Bird Food.
Craving a milkshake? Boost your milkshake with the amazing benefits of protein powder by adding some protein to your shake! This low-carb coconut chocolate shake by Cotter Crunch is calling your name.
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. You can even mix it in with your smoothie bowl, like this Mexican Chocolate Smoothie Bowl recipe.
RELATED: We found the best smoothie recipes for weight loss.
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 basic 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. Or, get this protein pizza dough recipe on A Beautiful Mess.
Yes, mashed potatoes is one of the many ways you can start cooking with protein powder! 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.
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 try one of these Chocolate Protein Cookies by Fit Foodie Finds.