You may have heard bro-scientists muttering that cooking protein powder ruins it by ‘denaturing’ or damaging the cells.
While that’s true, nutritionally it doesn’t matter: the amino acids you get from eating it are unaffected.
So here’s the next question: how do you pack food with protein powder and still make it taste good?
Fortunately, Anna Sward, author of Protein Pow, has literally written the book on this subject. Her advice? “Always remember to use some kind of moisturising ingredient in the mix.
So, for example, when making protein pancakes or protein cakes, add apple sauce, bananas, cooked sweet potato or pumpkin purée. Any of these ingredients will reduce your chances of ending up with dry or rubbery food.”
Pancakes and muffins are, of course, the entry-level stuff. For everything else, the secret is to pick the right protein.
“I tend to stick to pea protein powder for savoury foods such as pizzas or protein quiche,” says Sward.
“Whey and casein are great for protein bars, and hemp and rice protein powder are perfect for cakes and brownies, especially chocolate ones. That said, as long as you know how to use them, you can use any and all powders to make pretty much anything.”
And, of course, it’ll help you put on muscle, lose fat and stay sated for longer. Here’s your crash course in cooking with protein powder…
Oat and protein pizza
Easy, quick and healthy (at least, it is until you smother it in pepperoni). Bin the takeaway menus and tuck in
Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 90g gluten-free oats
- 45g unflavoured pea protein powder
- 1 egg
- 4-6 liquid egg whites
- Salt, rosemary and thyme to taste
- Toppings of your choice
- Mix the crust ingredients together by hand or in a food processor until they form a thick pancake-like texture.
- Grease a hot non-stick pan with coconut oil and spread around with a spatula to thin it out (or use a low-calorie spray) to prevent sticking.
- Turn the heat down to medium to ensure the bottom cooks through. When it has, flip it to cook the other side.
- Remove from the pan and add your pizza toppings, beginning with tomato and then adding your choice of toppings and ending with the cheese.
- Place under the grill for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the pizza looks done. That’s it.
Kcals: 269, Protein: 28g, Carbs: 26g, Fat: 6g
Here’s a Sunday treat that won’t undo your hard work in the gym, and it’s easy to make. Fire up the hob and flip one
Prep time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 10 mins
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 1 medium-ripe banana
- 45g protein powder
- 1tbsp coconut flour
- 4 egg whites
- 1tbsp peanut butter
- ½tsp baking powder
- Blend all the ingredients together and turn up the heat under your non-stick pan. Add some coconut oil, or low-calorie spray to the pan to ensure your pancakes don’t stick.
- Once your pan is sizzling hot, pour your pancake mix on it. The batter makes six small or two large pancakes, but small ones are easier to flip – think espresso-saucer sized.
- As soon as your batter hits the sizzling pan, turn it down to medium and, when little bubbles appear on the surface, flip them. Serve immediately.
Kcals: 369, Protein: 37g, Carbs: 25g, Fat: 12g
Dark chocolate and almond protein cheesecake
Bulk up rather than out with this protein-packed pudding
Prep time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 30-45 mins
Ingredients (serves 3):
For the base
- 2tbsp light tahini (or almond butter)
- 85g ground almonds
- 1tbsp agave syrup
For the filling
- 240ml Greek yogurt
- 200g quark or low-fat ricotta cheese
- 45g vanilla whey protein powder
- 60ml liquid egg whites
For the topping
- 60g of 85–95% dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 160˚C.
- Mix the base ingredients together in a bowl. (You can replace the agave syrup with honey or calorie-free syrup if you want the whole thing to be lower in carbs.)
- When you have a crumbly mixture, press it into a small springform pan. If you want to use a medium or large pan, just double the amounts.
- Next, blend all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl.
- Pour the cheesecake filling over the base.
- Bake for 30–45 minutes. It’s important that you don’t overbake your cheesecake. You need to remove it from the oven while it’s still wobbly in the middle and feels undercooked. It will set as it cools and remain creamy in the centre.
- Let it cool, and, when you’re ready to serve it, melt the chocolate and drizzle some on top of your individual slices.
Kcals: 242, Protein: 30g, Carbs: 10g, Fat: 9g
Apricot and pistachio protein truffles
Indulge your sweet tooth with these muscle-building truffles
Prep time: 20 mins
Ingredients (makes 10):
- 45g vanilla rice protein powder
- 1tbsp apple sauce
- 2tbsp psyllium husks
- 1tbsp vanilla stevia
- 180ml almond milk
- 2tbsp coconut flour (or ground almonds)
- 3tbsp ground pistachio nuts
- 3tbsp low-sugar apricot jam
- Mix all the ingredients except the jam and half the pistachio nuts in a bowl until they form a dough that you can roll with your hands.
- Divide the mixture into ten truffle shapes, flatten each one in the palm of your hand, add some apricot jam in the centre and roll it up. If this step is too difficult, just roll the truffles without jam and add it on top afterwards.
- Roll the finished truffles in the remaining pistachio nuts. You could also roll them in grated coconut or chopped almonds.
Kcals: 55, Protein: 4g, Carbs: 4g, Fat: 2g
Simple, effective, moreish – and an easy way to top up your daily intake of protein and antioxidants. A flawless late-night snack
Prep time: 10 mins
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 21g frozen blackberries
- 45g whey protein powder (vanilla or berry)
- 25ml milk (any kind will do)
- 1tsp vanilla stevia
- Throw all the ingredients in a bowl and, using a hand blender, mix it together.
- Once it looks smooth – like ice cream – take an electric whisk and beat it for four or five minutes. This is where the magic happens as your mixture starts to gain volume and fluff up.
- Get a spoon out and dig in.
Kcals: 205, Protein: 29g, Carbs: 20g, Fat: 2g