Even if you’re following the strictest of diet plans, there’s no point having dessert if it’s not going to be a treat. Ersatz versions of brownies and cakes that strip out all the good stuff aren’t going to satisfy a sweet tooth – if anything they’ll just make you crave the real thing.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to completely discard your healthy-eating intentions come pudding time. With a little tweak to the recipe of your favourite desserts, you can at least ensure they’re full of muscle-fuelling protein.
These recipes from Heather Davies, aka The Protein Chef, are easy to make, and they’ll satisfy your sweet tooth while building lean muscle. No lie – they’re flipping great.
Banana Split Protein Pancakes
“These banana split protein pancakes were inspired by one of my favourite puddings,” says Davies. “I wanted to recreate all the deliciousness of a banana split in protein-packed pancake form. The protein content makes it an ideal snack that will support your training, while the topping offers all the fun elements of a banana split but with a small fraction of the fat, sugar and calories. Happy eating!”
Ingredients (makes 1-2 servings)
For the pancakes
- 30g banana-flavoured whey protein
- 70g oats
- 1 egg
- 1tsp baking powder
- 200ml milk
- Coconut oil (or your preferred oil)
For the topping
- 1 chopped banana
- 1tbsp Greek yogurt
- Sugar-free chocolate sauce
- Handful of nuts
- Add all the pancake ingredients to a blender and blend for 45 seconds
- Heat your preferred oil in a non-stick frying pan on a moderate heat
- Add the batter to the pan in small amounts and cook for a minute or so on each side.
- Continue this process with all the batter, then add your toppings and enjoy.
Nutrition (per serving): 584 calories, 48.4g protein, 75.3g carbs, 10.8g fat
Chocolate & Nut Butter Protein Cheesecake
“Quite simply, you get to eat cheesecake while shrinking your waistline – and that’s probably something you didn’t think you could do while you’re on a fitness drive,” says Davies. Even better, eating a slice or two of this version won’t leave you feeling a bit sick and because it contains much less sugar than a conventional cheesecake recipe it won’t give you a sugar rush and crash, which is associated with overeating and energy slumps.
- 80g (about five) light digestive biscuits
- 130g (about 12) oatcakes
- 50g coconut oil or nut butter
- 15g sugar-free caramel or chocolate sauce
- 100g protein mousse
- 500g fat-free cream cheese
- 500g quark
- White chocolate peanut butter
- Dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.
- Place the biscuits and oatcakes in a blender and blend until finely crushed.
- Melt the nut butter or coconut oil in a microwave for a few seconds. Add to the biscuits and stir until fully coated.
- Pour the mixture into an 8in (20cm) loose-bottomed cake tin and press the mixture down as tightly as you can.
- In a separate bowl, mix the protein mousse, quark and cream cheese. Beat it to ensure there are no lumps of powder. Tip the mixture on top of the biscuit base and level out.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of four hours, then remove from the tin.
- Spread the white chocolate nut butter over the top and decorate with melted dark chocolate.
Nutrition (per slice): 314 calories, 27.8g protein. 31.2g carbs, 8.9g fat
Berry And Honey Protein Smoothie
“After you work out, your muscles require amino acids [the building blocks of protein] to aid with muscle repair and you need to refill the glycogen [stored energy] you’ve lost through exercising,” says Davies. “I’ve chosen a fast-acting whey protein because this smoothie is designed to be consumed post-workout.
“For the carb source I have chosen honey, a simple carb which will be digested quickly. I prefer to use Steens Raw 15+ manuka honey, which I like because it is cold pressed. This means the natural amino acids and enzymes in the honey are not damaged by heating. It also preserves the honey’s phenolic compounds, which have an antioxidant effect – another great benefit to the recovery process.
“The berries I’ve chosen are all high in antioxidants, which are thought to help to fight the harmful effects caused by exercise-induced free radicals.”
- 30g whey protein isolate
- 30g (2 heaped tsp) of raw manuka honey
- 25g frozen blackberries
- 25g frozen cherries
- 25g frozen blueberries
- 200ml water