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Let’s get real. If you’re reading this, it’s not likely you’re an Olympic athlete or hard-core lifter who simply can’t consume enough protein and calories in a 24-hour period. But if you’re like the rest of us, you’re using protein powders to fuel your busy (meeting-packed, kid-filled, errand-heavy) day. Sound like you? Try these seven great uses for everyday people.
1. Protein powders for breakfast gives you true energy.
Greens may not sound like the most appetizing breakfast. But you can change that, with sneaky fruit-and-greens protein powder blends.
Try this: Add vanilla-and-greens protein powder to pancakes or waffles; stir chocolate-and-greens protein powders into oatmeal and top with sliced bananas; and if you have kids, freeze vanilla-and-fruit protein powder into ice pops, and let kids eat “ice cream” for breakfast. (See our Red, White, and Blue Firecracker Pops recipe.)
2. Using protein powder for lunch substitute
Grab a sandwich or slice of pizza for 500 low-protein, high-sodium calories—or plan ahead and pack a protein-rich lunch you can eat at your desk or on the go.
Try this: Stir unsweetened protein powder into hummus; make an easy, savory muffin with eggs and protein powder for a power-packed, one-handed meal. (Visit amazingwellnessmag.com to get a copy of our Savory Pizza Protein Muffins recipe.)
3. Pre-workout protein powder drink
A full stomach makes it hard to twist and bend, but if you’re doing a morning yoga (or dance class or workout) you’ve gotta have a little something. This also works great for mornings when you’re in a hurry or as an afternoon snack.
Try this: Blend a small scoop of easy-to-digest protein powder, a small handful of berries, and a half cup of skim milk or almond milk, and sip 45 minutes before class to sustain you throughout.
4. Post-workout protein powder supplement
You’ve scaled that mountain, cycled those 40 miles, or run that marathon; now, replenish and rebuild muscles.
Try this: Add chocolate protein powder to healthy brownie mix; combine almond butter, oatmeal and protein powder and shape into squares.
5. Protein powder dessert
A sugar-filled dessert close to bedtime is a dieting disaster. Indulge your after-dinner sweet tooth with a protein-rich treat that balances blood sugar and makes midnight munchies less likely.
Try this: Purée strawberries, vanilla protein powder, and low-fat yogurt, and freeze for 20 minutes; microwave bittersweet chocolate until melted, stir in chocolate protein powder and a small amount of milk, and chill until it’s the consistency of mousse; beat egg whites till stiff, fold in vanilla protein powder and bake at 200, then serve with fresh raspberries.
6. Protein powder for coffee lovers.
Love iced coffee drinks? Most are off the charts when it comes to calories and sugar—for example, a Starbuck’s Grande Java Chip Frappuccino Blended Coffee made with nonfat milk and whipped cream has 440 calories and 67 grams of sugar. Protein powders pair especially well with coffee and give you that coffee shop-style flavor without the obscene amount of sugar and calories.
Try this: Blend chocolate protein powder with brewed coffee, unsweetened almond milk, ice, and 1 banana; stir protein powder and cream into a cup of hot coffee; add protein powder and instant or brewed (and cooled) coffee into gluten-free brownie mix.
7. Afternoon pick up using protein drink
Keep the snack bar and coffee shop scones at bay, with protein-fortified snacks that feature lots of fiber and natural sugars to boost energy and keep you satisfied until dinner.
Try this: Combine chocolate protein powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts, and dates in a food processor to make a paste, then roll into balls; dredge in cocoa powder or shredded coconut for more fun.
These products can be found in The Vitamin Shoppe Stores or on vitaminshoppe.com