New Ways to Use Whey Protein Powder

imagesAfter writing about the benefits of distributing your protein intake more evenly throughout the day, I heard from many of you that you were struggling to figure out how to get the recommended 25 – 30 grams of protein at breakfast and lunch–without eating meat at every meal!

So, when National Dairy Council challenged me to come up with some novel ways to incorporate whey protein powder into familiar meals and recipes, I jumped at the chance.

Why Whey?

Although there are lots of options, each with pros and cons, my protein powder of choice has always been unflavored whey protein. It’s a high-quality protein, neutral in flavor, versatile, relatively inexpensive and–unlike some of the legume based protein powders I’ve tried–doesn’t cause digestive issues (read: gas!).  I keep a big container of it in the pantry but until recently I only used it in smoothies.

As I’ve discovered, there are so many other ways to use whey protein powder to increase protein intake throughout the day. Getting the recommended amount of protein should be a snap.

Boost Your Breakfast

  • Add 1/2 cup of unflavored whey protein powder to 1 quart of fresh milk, blend with a whisk or immersion blender until smooth, and use however you would use cold milk (on cereal, etc.).
    The Protein Plus: 10 additional grams of protein per one cup serving.
  • Stir 2 tablespoons unflavored whey protein to 1 cup of cooked oatmeal or other hot cereal. For best results, stir in after you’ve removed the cereal from heat.
    The Protein Plus: 10 additional grams of protein per one cup serving.
  • 2016-08-28-11-05-15Stir 2 tablespoons of unflavored whey protein to 1 cup of regular yogurt and you’ll get the protein of Greek yogurt but the texture of Swiss yogurt.
    The Protein Plus: 10 additional grams of protein per one cup serving.
  • Replace 1/4 of the flour in your favorite pancake or muffin recipe with unflavored whey protein powder or try my Whey Better Pancakes
    The Protein Plus: 5 additional grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving.

Take Lunch Up a Level

  • Add 1/4 cup unflavored whey protein powder per 1 cup peanut or other nut butter and blend well. Use in  sandwiches, bars (such as my Best Fruit and Nut Bars) or these Sesame Peanut “Zoodles”For best results when blending large quantities (such as the entire jar), use the paddle beater on your stand mixer.
    The Protein Plus: 3 additional grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving.
  • Add 1/4 cup unflavored whey protein powder to 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise. Use however you would use mayonnaise: in BLTs or other sandwiches; tuna, egg, or chicken salad; or my Tofu Salad with Nutritional Yeast.
    The Protein Plus3 additional grams of protein per 1 tablespoon serving
  • Add 2 tablespoons of unflavored whey protein powder per cup of pureed butternut, cream of tomato or any other pureed soup, including my Carrot Avocado Soup. For best results, add after removing soup from heat and use a whisk or immersion blender to blend.
    The Protein Plus: 10 additional grams of protein per 1 cup serving.

Power Up Your Pasta and Salads2016-08-27-12-25-13

  • Add 1/4 cup of unflavored whey protein powder to 1 cup of homemade or store bought pesto. Serve as a sandwich spread, pasta topping, or on grilled chicken breasts.  For best results, stir into hot pasta or brush on grilled meat after removing from heat.
  • Stir 1/4 cup unflavored protein powder into 1 cup store-bought Ranch dressing or whip up a batch of  my  Hale Caesar Dressing or Green Goddess dressing.The Protein Plus: 3-4 additional grams pf protein per 2 tablespoon serving

Spiff Up Your Snacks

  • Stir 1/4 cup of unflavored whey protein powder to 1 cup of homemade or store-bought guacamole. Serve with raw veggies and/or baked tortilla chips.
  • Stir 1/4 cup unflavored whey protein powder to 1 cup of Creamy Pumpkin Spread (from Running With Spoons). Serve with apple slices or whole grain toast.
  • Stir 1/2 cup unflavored whey protein powder to this  White Bean and Garlic Spread (from Meal Makeover Moms). Serve with raw vegetables and/or whole grain crackers.The Protein Plus: 10 additional grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving.

Desserts with Benefits

  • Add 2 tablespoons of unflavored whey protein powder per serving of my Cocoa-Chia Pudding or your favorite chia pudding recipe. Tip: If after an hour or two your pudding isn’t set up enough, add another tablespoon of chia and wait one more hour.
    The Protein Plus: 20 additional grams of protein per 3/4 cup serving
  • Combine 2 tablespoons unflavored whey protein powder and 2-3 frozen bananas in a food processor. Blend, stopping frequently to scrape down bowl, until it’s the consistency of frozen yogurt. not-ellaEat immediately or freeze for an hour for a stiffer consistency.
    The Protein Plus: 10 additional grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving
  • I’ve saved the best for last. Add 1/2 cup unflavored whey protein powder plus 1 additional tablespoon water to my Cashew Cocoa Creme (aka Not-ella) recipe. Use as a dip for apples or bananas or blend with frozen bananas for an insanely delicious (and nutritious) dessert. You’re welcome.
    The Protein Plus: 4 additional grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving

Once you’ve experimented with a few of these, I’m sure you’ll think of more ways to incorporate whey protein into the foods and recipes you’re already eating. Feel free to share your ideas below.

9 thoughts on “New Ways to Use Whey Protein Powder

  1. I am interested in adding more whey protein to my diet. Can you recommend a Non- Flavored, non-sweetened good quality whey? I’m not lactose intolerant.
    Thank you so much, I’ve enjoyed your podcasts!

    1. I hesitate to single out a specific brand because I’m not sure there’s that much difference between them. I often buy Jarrow unflavored whey protein because it is a reputable brand and usually a good value.

    2. NOW is another brand I’ve been impressed with. If you’re committed, the most economical way to buy it is by the 5 pound jug. Like Monica mentioned, unflavored whey protein isolate is (or should be) basically a single ingredient product, so probably not much difference between brands. It’s the flavored and sweetened mixes that start getting scary, both in taste and ingredients!

  2. Hi Monica! I’m a big fan of yours! Thank-you for helping us become more knowledgeable in eating foods that are good for us!!
    My question is this … is it ok for my 13-year old son to add Protein bars (know we have to watch sugar content) and protein powders (shakes mostly but trying it other things as recently recommended!) regularly? My husband wants our son to “bulk up” as he is very active and extremely athletic – but very slender! My husband complains that the more natural/ fresh diet I’m pushing/preparing (lots fruit & veggies, beans, nuts/nut butter, yogurt, cheese, meats) is keeping him from “bulking up”. Please advise.

    1. Protein can help your son build muscle but the body can only use about 20-30 grams of protein at one time for muscle building. More than that doesn’t actually speed up muscle synthesis.

      If your son is trying to gain weight, adding high-quality calories is just as important as getting enough protein. And the healthy fats (nuts, nut butter, avocado, full-fat dairy) are more calorie dense than protein powders!

  3. Are there lactose free whey powders or does lactose come with the territory? My husband is intolerant so I’ve used unflavored egg white protein when I can as you’ve suggested but sometimes I get egg white curdles (yuck!).

    thanks in advance.

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