BLOG NUTRITION, FOOD
October 2, 2013
An Easy Way to Boost Protein, Without Meat
High-protein tofu, tempeh, soy crumbles and faux-meat products can be great protein alternatives. But what can you do for a protein boost if you don't eat, or are tired of eating, these options? Here's a quick, easy and versatile way to tackle this challenge: cooking with unflavored protein powder.
Don't be scared by the sentence you just read! I know, it sounds weird, but it can really work. There are a few key points to keep in mind when using this approach:
1. The protein powder you use
Go for unflavored, whey protein isolate (or egg white, soy or vegan protein depending on your dietary needs). Unflavored, vs. chocolate or vanilla, will not take away from the flavors in the recipe you are making
2. The consistency of the recipe
Make sure your recipe has a semi-liquid end result, so the protein powder mix has something to blend into. Skillet dishes, stir-fries or one-pot-meals can be great options.
3. The portions yielded by your recipe
If the unflavored protein powder mixed into your meal is your only protein source, ensure you are using enough powder to meet your total protein needs. This may take a little math. Example: recipe makes 4 servings of stir-fry, ensure you have 4 servings protein powder being mixed in.
An Example, using Madhu Gadia, MS, RD's Recipe for Black-Eyed Peas from her New Indian Home Cooking cookbook:
- 16 oz. can black-eyed peas
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- Pinch of asafetida
- 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/4 tsp. Garam Masala
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
Directions: Drain and rinse black-eyed peas in a strainer, set aside. In a heavy nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add asafetida and cumin. Cook until cumin golden brown, and add the black-eyed peas then stir. Add turmeric, cayenne, coriander, salt and water, and mix.
Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmer ~10-12 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed. Add garam masala and lemon juice, then stir to combine.
Protein powder adjustment: While black-eyed peas are simmering, in a small bowl combine 4 serving's protein powder (serving size avg. for women for a meal ~25g protein, for men ~30g protein to start) and ~1/3 c. water. Stir until combined, and a paste consistency. When black-eyed peas are finished cooking, set aside in a medium bowl. Let cool for 3-5 minutes. When near room temperature, mix protein powder paste mix into black-eyed pea dish until well combined and enjoy.
The protein mix 'paste' should blend into the dish you are serving with ease. If you are hesitant, start with a small portion of protein and work up to the goal above (1 meal-portion of protein per serving recipe yield).
You can always combine proteins, or drink some of a 20/20 LifeStyles Ready to Drink protein shake alongside your meal to balance the total protein quantity while you experiment with this technique.
The great thing about this idea is you can have shelf-stable, whey protein isolate unflavored powder in your pantry all the time. And if you're short on protein for a meal? Grab it and add some in. Keep playing around with the recipes that this works well for, for future use!
A client of mine makes Spinach & Yellow Lentil Dal using the above technique. What recipe can you use? Enjoy! :)