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Boosting Your Nutritional Intake: Creative Ways to Use Protein Powder

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Different protein powders in wooden spatulas

During cancer treatment, ensuring you take in sufficient nutrition can feel like an uphill battle at times. If you are aiming to boost your protein intake, the strategy of 'fortifying' your meals and snacks with extra nourishment can be a valuable tool - one that can help increase nutritional intake without necessarily increasing the volume of food.

When it comes to fortifying meals and snacks, my primary suggestion is to adopt a "food first" approach wherever feasible. For instance, when seeking to boost protein intake, consider incorporating nuts and seeds into your porridge, blending yoghurt into your smoothies, or adding a beaten egg to a comforting bowl of soup. These small but impactful actions can make a world of difference in boosting your nutritional intake.

If you find that additional protein is still needed, introducing protein powder is an option worth exploring. Unflavoured protein powder is versatile and can be easily mixed into various dishes without altering the flavour significantly. If you enjoy flavoured options, those can work well too!

Here are 12 contemporary ideas that may inspire you to explore the potential of protein powder in your diet, while keeping in mind your unique nutritional requirements.

12 Innovative Ways to Incorporate Protein Powder:

  • Smoothies: Blend together a mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, and a scoop of unflavoured or flavoured protein powder for a delicious and nutrient-packed smoothie.

  • Hummus: Pimp up the protein content of hummus by stirring in a small amount of unflavoured protein powder.

  • Yoghurt: Gently fold protein powder into yoghurt. Tailor your toppings to your preference - try a mix of fruits, nuts, and seeds. For people dealing with swallowing difficulties, try topping with stewed fruit combined with smooth nut butter or seed butter.

  • Porridge: Stir unflavoured or flavoured protein powder into your porridge, enhancing its nutritional value while providing a creamy texture. Remember, porridge isn’t confined to breakfast; it can be a wholesome snack or meal, offering comfort and nourishment throughout the day.

  • Soups: Mix unflavoured protein powder into soups or broths, effectively increasing the protein content without increasing the volume.

  • Pancakes: Add protein powder to your pancake batter for a fluffy, protein-rich pancake. For a wholesome sweet topping you could try a scattering of fresh berries or sliced banana with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon. For a nutritious savoury twist, consider topping them with sautéed spinach and mushrooms, followed by a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of chives.

Pancakes with sliced orange and yoghurt

  • Baking: Incorporate flavoured or unflavoured protein powder into baking recipes such as muffins, granola bars, and bread.

  • Custard: Infuse custard with unflavoured protein powder to create a silky-smooth texture and boosting the nutritional value.

  • Fortify Sauces: Add protein powder into savoury sauces and dressings to enhance their protein content without compromising taste.

  • Milkshakes: Craft a delicious milkshake by blending your chosen milk, ½ banana, a spoonful of nut butter, and a dash of either flavoured or unflavoured protein powder.

  • Frozen Yoghurt Bark: Mix protein powder with yoghurt. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Spread the yoghurt mixture evenly onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle your favourite berries, chopped fruits, nuts and seeds over the yoghurt. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the mixture solidifies. Once frozen, break the bark into yummy, protein-rich shards.

  • Chia Pudding: Combine chia seeds, your preferred milk, and protein powder to create a protein-rich base. Let it set in the fridge until a pudding-like consistency is achieved. Top with any combination of fresh berries, sliced banana, juicy peach, nuts, seeds (or a drizzle of nut/seed butter), shredded coconut, and a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.

These strategies offer creative ways to include protein powder in your diet, empowering you to align your nutritional intake with your preferences. Individual protein needs can vary based on factors like age, activity level, and health status. If you are uncertain about your specific requirements, consult your Treatment Team, a registered dietitian, or nutritionist for personalised guidance.

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