Let's Shake Up Protein Supplements
Protein shakes are the default way to consume protein supplementation. They're simple, quick to make and use, and taste good.
In practice, many people report having trouble with protein shakes. Bloating is the number one complaint, with bodybuilding and fitness forums usually running at least one thread reporting bloating and discomfort after using protein shakes, and they aren't always convenient either. That doesn't mean we should abandon protein supplementation, but maybe a wider repertoire of ways to consume protein powders would give us more options.
New Ideas for Using Protein Supplements
Ideas for using protein supplementation need to fall into four camps: pre-workout, for immediately before you begin training; peri-workout, for while you actually are training; post-workout, for consumption timed to take advantage of the post-workout anabolic window; and general, for increased protein intake thoughout the day. Obviously, certain foods in general fit into this pattern and some don't. Chicken and fries fit well into a post-workout nutrition protocol (as defined by my old Thai boxing coach: 'work - work - work - chicken and chips') but would be disastrous as a peri-workout nutrition choice. A protein shake can be consumed at any point through this four-stage cycle, hence their popularity, but for some the bloating and discomfort isn't worth it, while for others they simply get tired of the same old, same old. If that's you, maybe these recipes will help.
1: Blueberry Muffins
The blueberry muffin is a classic, but unfortunately it's usually a junk food classic, and for many of us the time comes when we simply have to choose between indulgence and athleticism; between muffins and muscles!
Not any more, though. One muffin made according to this recipe contains 9 grams of protein, making two or three an ideal post-workout snack and one or two a great pre-workout snack to get some energy available and prevent catabolysis.
Makes 12 muffins.
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup protein powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups partially frozen blueberries
Preheat your oven to 375F and mix the soy milk and vinegar, then set to one side.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Create a well in the middle of the mixing bowl and slowly add the wet ingredients, except the berries. Stir until the ingredients combine, then add the berries. The recipe calls for them to be partially frozen so they don't just turn to mush during the cooking process.
Get your muffin tray ready, and fill each well of the muffin tin 1/3 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes; if you're in doubt' insert a toothpick into a muffin. When it emerges clean, the muffins are done.
Pancakes are a classic comfort or convenience food for many of us. Like muffins, they're something we've often learned to live without, but these pancakes are ideal for pre-workout or general supplementation, and they work just fine for post-workout nutrition too if you can get to a hot plate in time!
Recipe makes 4 pancakes
2 tablespoons Protein Powder
Whisk together until you have a batter and pan-fry. Try making sandwiches with them, or eating them with berries.
How simple could it be? You can pre-make this one for post-workout nutrition right at the gym, eat before training or even use as periworkout nutrition. Simply take some yoghurt, and stir on some protein powder!
Get Your Extra Protein From Your Snack Favorites!
Yeah, I said it. Protein cookies! A portable snack that works for pre, peri and post workout nutrition, easy to make and simple - plus, cookies!
Recipe makes 24 cookies, with 5.1g protein per cookie.
2/3 cup protein powder
1/3 cup ground flax
1 cup sugarfree sweetener
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
Pinch of salt
Cream the butter, coconut oil, sweetener and salt. Add the peanut butter and mix well. Mix in the beaten eggs and vanilla, then slowly add the remaining dry ingredients. The result should have a light, fluffy consistency - we're after soft peaks here, people.
Drop by spoonfuls into a cookie sheet, and press down slightly. Bake at 375F for 8 minutes if you like your cookies soft, or 10 if you like them hard.
And while we're on the subject of cookies...
5: Dough Balls
Balls of cookie dough are even more indulgent than cookies themselves, and rank highly among the foods that add more to your waist than your chest... until now!
2 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 scoops protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
2 ripe bananas mashed
2 tbsp flax seed
If your protein powder is unflavoured, try using 1-2 teaspoonsfull of cocoa powder and an equal amount of sugar or sweetener.
In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, protein powder, bananas and flax seed. Mold the mixtures into walnut sized balls - try using a melon scoop to portion them out. Then place them into a container, using cook's parchment to separate the layers. Freeze them for at least 2 hours before serving, though they're best if frozen overnight.
Another simple, effective classic: simply add a scoop of protein powder to your oatmeal. Ideal for pre or post workout nutrition if you're not shying away from complex carbs - an especially good choice if you train somewhere cold in winter!
7: Homemade Protein Bars
These homemade protein bars don't require baking and can be carried and eaten more or less anywhere, making them another great all-rounder, good for post, peri or pre workout nutrition. They're another cold day life saver too!
Recipe makes 6 bars, each with 12 grams of protein.
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
50 grams vanilla whey powder (any whey powder will work)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/3 cup dry milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons chocolate chips
Try using cherries or dates for a fruitier tasting bar. Unflavoured protein powder works fine with this recipe.
Put 1 cup of the oatmeal in a food processor and blend until it becomes oat flour.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the oat flour, remaining oats, protein powder, peanut butter, flax seeds, dry milk, vanilla, and 1/4 cup lukewarm water until the ingredients are mixed together.
Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan. Use the parchment to press down firmly on the mixture until it assumes the shape of a loaf.
Ina small skillet, toast the almonds over low heat until they're fragrant and lightly toasted, then pour the chocolate over the almonds.
Place the bars in the freezer for 10 minutes, in a 5" by 8" loaf pan lined with parchment.
Wrap each bar in parchment and then put them in a sealed bag, and put them in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
8: Frapaccino, Extra Protein
Cookies, Dough Balls, and now this? I know, I know, but this protein frapaccino recipe might be just the thing on a hot day the way the oatmeal is on a cold one, and it doesn't take that much preparation either. It's a great pre-workout choice due to its caffeine content, but it's good during or after training too.
Recipe makes 1 serving, with 20 grams of protein.
Between 1 teaspoonful and 1 tablespoonful of instant coffee granules
3/4 cup skimmed milk
1/4 cup chocolate coffee creamer
1 scoop chocolate flavor whey protein powder
10 ice cubes
If you don't have chocolate whey powder, use your normal unflavored protein powder. Feel free to experiment with vanilla or strawberry flavored powders if you like, but we're not responsible for the consequences!
Place the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. That's it. The amount of coffee is listed as a variable because the amount you'll use is down to personal preference.
Hopefully, one of these recipes is the one you're looking for when you just can't look at another protein shake.