Simple Protein-Powder Desserts: Dietitian's Tips for Beginners

High protein desserts are a delightful solution for those aiming to increase their protein intake while enjoying a satisfying treat. Whether crafted from whey protein or plant-based sources, these desserts provide a delicious blend of flavors while also contributing to satiety and muscle repair. Let's explore the advantages of protein-powder desserts and delve into some mouthwatering recipes for you to savor.

Benefits of protein-powder desserts

Fueling your body with adequate protein is essential for various aspects of health and wellness. Incorporating protein into desserts can provide a guilt-free indulgence while still meeting your nutritional goals. Below, we examine some of the most important advantages of savoring protein-powder treats occasionally.

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Help manage cravings and body weight

Consuming high-protein meals and enhancing your desserts with protein supplements may help you feel fuller for longer. Satiety can be particularly beneficial for individuals aiming to lose weight, as it may lead to consuming fewer meals and snacking less frequently, thus aiding in weight management and maintaining body weight in a healthy range.

A review on whey protein supplementation found that such supplements improved body composition in overweight individuals and those with obesity. They may also help with some added advantages, such as reductions in total cholesterol and blood pressure, which are both key factors for heart health.

Support muscle recovery and growth

Protein is a major constituent not only for weight management but also for the recovery of muscles and tissues. This is the reason most athletes take a protein shake after workouts; it aids in quicker recovery of muscle and may show anti-fatigue effects.

Issues such as the daily protein needs or protein consumption for muscle development, timing, and amino acid content of protein supplements are still debated issues in the field of sports nutrition. However, according to the cumulative evaluation of the literature, it is clear that protein intake has positive effects on muscle recovery and development by reducing muscle deterioration and improving protein synthesis.

Protein-powder snacks are highly suitable for this need. A comprehensive analysis combing through 49 studies backs this practice, indicating that protein supplements notably enhance muscle size and strength in healthy adults engaged in resistance training, such as weightlifting. Interestingly, the benefits of protein supplementation appear consistent across genders, although its efficacy might diminish with age due to higher protein needs in older adults compared to younger individuals.

Assist in supplying protein needs

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For some individuals, meeting their protein requirements can be challenging. This includes vegetarians and vegans who may have limited protein sources in their diet, as well as weightlifters, athletes, elderly individuals, and those with chronic conditions who may have increased protein needs.

Athletes doing high-intensity training are required to eat almost twice the recommended daily intake of protein, which measures 1.4–2 grams for every kilogram (approx. 0.6–0.9 g per pound) of body weight. For them, protein powder might be a practical answer.

Which protein powder is good for making desserts?

There are numerous types of protein powders in terms of their sources or structure. However, the protein powder choice depends on individual needs and dietary preferences.

Whey protein powder

Whey protein is produced during the cheesemaking process and is a high-quality protein source rich in essential amino acids. In contrast to other protein powders, whey protein has a higher rate of body absorption and is easier to digest. The best reason to use it in your baking recipes is that it easily combines with eggs, flour, milk, or butter to get a cohesive consistency of dough. It is also used as a gelling, emulsifying, and foaming agent in the food industry.

Casein protein powder

Casein protein, one of the primary components of dairy protein alongside whey protein, is commonly recognized as the slowly digested element of milk protein. This slow digestion of casein makes it a valuable component of a balanced protein intake strategy, particularly for individuals looking to optimize muscle repair and growth over longer durations. Again like the whey protein, it contains all the essential amino acids. When you use casein powder in baking, it adds a creamy texture. This means you can play around with it in recipes that involve liquid ingredients like milk or yogurt. It gives the dough a nice creaminess and helps it stick together without getting too dry.

Plant-based protein powder

If you're someone who prefers to avoid animal products in your diet, vegan protein powders are a great alternative to traditional options. Vegan protein offers a healthy and equally protein-rich alternative to whey and casein, making it versatile for various culinary uses. These powders can be derived from a range of plant-based sources, including soy, peas, or lupine, ensuring plenty of options to suit different preferences and dietary needs. When you bake with plant-based protein powder, it gives a similar creamy texture to casein. Plus, soy products work great as binders, so you can swap them in for eggs.

Now that we've explored various types of protein powders, let's select one and whip up a delightful and nutritious snack perfect for your relaxing moments.

1. Protein brownies

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Protein brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup of chocolate protein powder
  • ⅓ cup of almond butter
  • 2 tbsp of cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp of date sugar
  • ⅛ tsp of sea salt

How to prepare:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325ºF (163ºC) beforehand.
  2. Mix applesauce and almond butter in a bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and blend well.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 16–18 minutes until firm.
  4. Let the brownies cool before cutting into 9 pieces.

Each serving contains approx. 127 kcal, 7 g of carbohydrates, 10 g of protein, 6 g of fat, 2 g of fiber, and 5 g of sugar.

2. Chocolate protein chia pudding

Chocolate protein chia pudding

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup of chia seeds
  • 1.5 cups of almond milk (360 ml); can be unsweetened
  • ½ tsp of alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup of chocolate protein powder
  • A pinch of sea salt
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How to prepare:

  1. Start by placing chia seeds in a bowl.
  2. Blend almond milk, vanilla extract, chocolate protein powder, and sea salt until smooth.
  3. Pour over chia seeds and stir well.
  4. Let the pudding sit for 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.
  5. Refrigerate until chilled, and enjoy.

This recipe makes 2 servings of pudding. Each serving has approx. 289 kcal, 17 g of carbohydrates, 18 g of protein, 17 g of fat, 14 g of fiber, and 1 g of sugar.

3. No-bake pecan protein energy bites

No-bake pecan protein energy bites

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp of coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp of coconut flour
  • ¼ cup of chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of filtered water
  • 6 pieces of pecan halves

How to prepare:

  1. Mix protein powder, coconut sugar, coconut flour, and chopped pecans in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Combine vanilla extract with water, then add to the dry mixture.
  3. Blend thoroughly and shape into a rectangle on parchment paper.
  4. Cut into squares, top with pecan halves, and enjoy.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator. This recipe makes 6 servings of protein bites. Each serving has approx. 98 kcal, 7 g of carbohydrates, 6 g of protein, 5 g of fat, 2 g of fiber, and 5 g of sugar.

4. Chocolate protein truffles

Chocolate protein truffles

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of protein powder
  • ⅔ cup of nut butter of choice, or substitute
  • 3 oz of chocolate chips; can melt them with 4 tsp of oil for smoother consistency

How to prepare:

  1. Gently heat the nut butter if it's too firm.
  2. Mix the protein powder and nut butter to form a dough; adjust the consistency with more powder or a bit of oil if needed.
  3. Shape into balls, dip in melted chocolate, and place on a parchment-lined tray.
  4. Chill until ready.

This recipe makes 16 servings. Each serving contains approx. 74 kcal, 2.2 g of carbohydrates, 5.4 g of protein, 5.4 g of fat, 0.9 g of fiber, and 0.8 g of sugar.

In conclusion, by integrating protein powders derived from various sources such as whey, casein, or plant-based alternatives, you can indulge guilt-free in desserts that not only tantalize the taste buds but also support muscle recovery, satiety, and overall health goals. From protein brownies to chocolate chia pudding, there are plenty of options to enjoy guilt-free without sacrificing flavor.

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