March 12, 2022 10 min read
There are a lot of health benefits to getting enough protein.
From more muscle mass to more efficient fat loss, a high protein diet provides an answer to a lot of our wellness needs. It makes sense that protein powder is such a popular supplement for a variety of people, not just lifters.
But as with all good things, too much over a long period of time is going to start tasting and feeling not so great.
Although there are plenty of flavors out there for you to try, there’s only so much that will hold the attention of your taste buds for a longer period of time.
While by itself protein fatigue isn’t going to mean much, it could be a demotivating factor over the long term. That’s why it’s important to spice things up every once in a while and get your daily protein powder in something other than water.
To better understand what you should be mixing your protein powder with, first, you need to understand your goals.
Whether you’re supplementing for weight loss, muscle gain, or for general wellness goals, you’re going to want to be mixing with different things.
If your goal is to lose some body fat, you’re going to want to limit the amount of sugar and overall calories you take in. Mixing with low-calorie liquids or healthy fruits and vegetables (if used as a meal replacement) will be the way to go.
Water is the conventional choice, but you can also try mixing with coconut water, coconut milk, black coffee, or skim and non-dairy milk.
Fibrous additions such as flaxseeds and chia seeds can also be a great addition to keep you feeling full for longer. Using protein powder for muscle gain is going to require a different strategy. Instead of limiting calories and sugars, you’re going to have more leeway in what you mix your powder with.
Milk is a great choice because by itself it adds plenty of calories into your diet (along with calcium).
Chocolate milk is another good option that can be useful for hard gainers that want to use protein powder in their milkshakes. But you’re also going to want to get enough carbohydrates into you so your muscles have enough energy to train hard and recover.
Including things like bananas or oats with your protein powder before a workout is going to go a long way when it comes to your performance in the gym.
There’s a lot to say about protein powders, but for our needs, we’ll only talk about the factors that’ll relate to creating good mixes.
Taste is going to be the biggest aspect that’ll either make or break a recipe.
The flavor of the powder is either going to enhance the mix or make it worse. For example, a berry-flavored protein powder will go great in a blueberry smoothie, but it might not jive well in a savory recipe.
The texture is also going to be important.
Some protein powders can be chalky, so this is something to watch out for if you want a smoother taste. You should also experiment between plant-based protein powders and whey protein powder.
When it comes down to it, there’s practically no meaningful difference in protein levels, but the taste and texture can differ a lot.
When it comes to baking, for example, pea protein is often the best choice because it has the most neutral taste and the best texture for baking.
Now that we know the basics, it’ll be easier for you to make your own decisions on what a good protein mix might be. Before we dive into some specific examples, let’s take a look at the general methods of mixing with protein.
The most popular method is mixing protein with some sort of liquid.
This can either be as simple as water or milk, or an entire smoothie with different ingredients. There’s also the option of mixing protein powder into your baking or cooking, which opens an entirely new world of protein powder utilization. We’ll be looking at both methods down below.
Oatmeal is one of the healthiest options you can have for breakfast or lunch. It’s full of fiber, antioxidants, and can lower your blood sugar levels. Oatmeal is also a great option if you’re trying to manage your weight. Simply cook your oatmeal as you normally would and add a small cup of protein powder at the end, for some extra protein in your meal.
You can’t go wrong with pancakes, and that goes double for protein pancakes.
Although basic pancakes don’t have too much of a nutritional profile going on, there are ways to up the ante by introducing some ingredients that you might not always find. For example, including whole oats and Greek yogurt along with the protein powder is a good way to pack a larger nutritional punch.
With pancakes and other baked goods we’ll be looking at, protein powder should be thought of as a more absorbent flour. That means you can swap it at a 1:1 ratio to flour, but don’t substitute over 1/3 of the flour for protein powder.
Many peoples’ guilty pleasure, brownies are seldom thought of as a healthy snack. While adding protein powder may not change the unhealthy parts too much, it will add some extra protein to this dessert. You can follow the same substitution trick as with the pancakes.
Muffins of all types and varieties are great, but protein muffins are even better. Banana and cocoa are already a classic combo, but adding some protein powder is another great way to go.
This recipe is a great place to start. You can also substitute in chocolate-flavored protein powder, but make sure that you decrease the amount of cocoa you end up using.
Waffles are another breakfast staple that can be revamped with just a little protein powder substitution. Add some berries on top for a bit more nutrition and you’ve got a protein-packed meal for breakfast, lunch, or maybe even supper.
Protein balls are an excellent option if you want something sweet and tasty when you’re on the go. Adding protein powder into the mix only elevates an already nutrient-packed snack. It’s pretty simple to make these and you can add whatever ingredients you want.
The most important ingredient, used for binding, are dates.
Put in a food processor after being soaked, dates provide the perfect binding agent to bring together protein powder, chia seeds, nuts, and peanut butter.
If you’re looking for a bulkier snack to take along with you when you go out, protein bars are another good option. Dates can also be used to bind together protein bars. Include some nuts, seeds, and chocolate chips for added variety and taste.
Cookies are another great to-go snack that can keep your cravings at bay between meals. With the added benefit of being chock full of protein, these oatmeal cookies are sure to be a welcome addition to any lunch.
Chia seeds can be combined with any liquid and left for a few minutes to turn it into a pudding-like consistency. This makes it a healthy snack since you’re not going to be consuming any additives, that is, unless you choose to include a scoop of protein powder. This simplicity allows you to play around with flavors to see what works for your taste buds.
When making burgers or meatballs, you’re already going to be getting a ton of protein in your meal. However, sometimes you can never get enough of it. Protein powder can work as a good binder when making patties or meatballs (just opt for an unflavored powder).
Potatoes are both delicious and full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. While the fried options are tasty, they’re decidedly less healthy because of all the extra oil. Mashed potatoes are a healthier option that can taste just as good. But if you’re looking to increase your protein intake during supper even further, adding some protein powder into your mashed potatoes is a unique and delicious option.
Yogurt by itself is already a healthy and tasty snack, but you can make it even better by adding some protein powder to it. Other delicious additions might include berries, nuts, and spices such as cinnamon.
Ice cream isn’t the healthiest option if you’re looking to stay fit, but thankfully, there’s protein ice cream. This “ice cream” only has three ingredients: almond milk almond butter, and protein powder. But once whisked together and put in the freezer, this dessert is going to be a great way to take care of a sweet tooth without overindulging in sugar.
Butter on popcorn is a classic combo, but not necessarily healthy if you’re counting calories. Another option is to toss your popcorn in protein powder for an added protein boost. Toss it in both protein powder and some other spices (such as chipotle powder) for a sweet and salty flavor that’s sure to keep you coming back.
If you’re maybe looking for a healthier snack than just popcorn, a bowl of fruits can go a long way. Not only is there a ton of variety with the fruits you can choose, but they all taste great. Not to mention all of the nutrients that come packed in all manner of fruits—you really can’t go wrong.
Consider sprinkling some vanilla protein powder over your next bowl of chopped fruits for some protein to round out your nutrient-rich snack.
We know it’s possible to mix protein powder with coffee, but why stop there? This is where the latte protein shake comes in. Take in the morning along with your breakfast and you’ve got a recipe for a turbocharged day.
Although honey is mostly made up of sugar, it contains several different types of vitamins and minerals.
For example, it’s rich in antioxidants and may in fact improve heart health.
An excellent bulking recipe for your protein powder, this smoothie is going to be as filling as it is decadent.
Chocolate with peanut butter is a classic, tasty combination, but more than just being tasty, it’s also very healthy.
Peanut butter is not only a source of healthy fat, but also protein, vitamin E, and manganese. Just try to use a nut butter that uses as little added sugar as possible.
Bananas are a tasty and nutrient-rich fruit that pairs well with protein powder. They’re a good source of vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and they can help with digestion.
If you’re looking for a protein powder shake to power you through till lunch, this option will work great as a breakfast meal replacement. You’re going to get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients from these ingredients.
Adding cashew nuts is especially helpful to provide you enough energy to power through the morning. The added fruits are also full of antioxidants.
Grapes help our immune system, help to lower blood pressure, and can reduce high cholesterol. Paired with the omega-3 fatty acids that flaxseed oil provides, this makes an extremely healthy shake.
Another great breakfast option, this smoothie comes jam-packed with both protein and veggies. As we all know, vegetables are an essential part of our diets, being filled with vitamins and minerals. This smoothie features some of the healthiest veggies of the bunch.
If you’re like most people, protein powder plays an important role in your workout routine. Whether you take it before or after, a simple protein shake gives you the protein your muscles need to work hard, repair and grow. This shake adds another level of energy into the mix.
After your workouts, your body needs protein as well. However, there’s also a ton of vitamins and minerals that are necessary to replenish your body’s stores. Your immune system may also be weakened after a difficult training session, which this shake addresses.
Not only are berries delicious, but they’re also filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also high in fiber, help lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation, and might even be good for your skin. The added banana and flaxseed serve to bring this protein smoothie to the next level in terms of nutrition.
Protein is important and necessary for anyone who wants to take their health and wellbeing seriously. Supplementing with protein powder, whether whey or plant-based, is one great option to ensure that you’re getting enough protein throughout the day.
But even though there are hundreds of different flavors out there for you to choose, protein powder mixed with water or milk is going to get old after a while.That’s why it’s important to experiment and try out different methods of taking protein powder—you never know what you might like.
That being said, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality powder for your supplementing needs. No amount of variety or extras is going to make up for a poor powder that’s filled with pointless additives that will just lead to fat gain.
Understand and know what you put in your body, and you’ll be well on your way to sculpting the physique and the lifestyle of your dreams.