Protein is a major building block in the human body. Why? This key substance is necessary for the creation of essential enzymes, antibodies, hemoglobin and hormones. Otherwise, tissues would break down, muscle mass would diminish, and things like your bones, heart, respiratory and immune systems would weaken. Just like constructing a wall using only half of the bricks, without protein we would literally begin to fall apart.
Sources of Protein
Unfortunately, the body can’t store protein like it can with fat so the only intake source is through diet, which can mean difficulty for vegetarians, vegans and other diet-restricted groups. Red meat, poultry and fish are sources of complete protein, and lots of it, which make it easy for most adults to consume the daily average recommendation of 8 grams of protein per 20 pounds of body weight (i.e. a 150-pound woman would need 60 grams of protein per day).
Most plant sources such as green vegetables and fruits, as well as cereals and rice are known as incomplete proteins and have to be combined in order to achieve the body’s daily needs. However, veggie-lovers are in luck because protein powder is an easy way to incorporate some complete forms of pro grade protein into your diet without compromising your menu choices.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Protein shakes with every meal, no matter how tasty and nutritionally beneficial, can get extremely boring and tedious over time. Fortunately, there are countless ways to incorporate protein powder into the food itself to make even the most deficient meals fortified with protein. One of the best ways is through baking, and it’s easier than you might think.
How To Bake With Protein Powder
First off, it’s necessary to find the best protein powder that will work with your dietary needs. Protein powder comes in many forms, but those who are vegetarian or vegan might want to steer clear of any egg or milk-based varieties. For baking purposes, both flavored and unflavored whey protein can be mixed into batter for cupcakes, muffins, quick breads like pumpkin or banana nut, and cookies, while unflavored protein powder can be integrated into various savory casseroles, baked pasta dishes and egg-substitute quiches.
If you’re really into baking from scratch, unflavored soy and rice protein powders can double as a flour substitute due to their finer texture. Rice protein powder, in particular, makes an excellent herb breading for casseroles or baked vegetables dishes like herb-crusted cauliflower and eggplant parmesan.
Most recipes suggest using half of the recommended flour and using protein powder to make up the other half, but other recipes may have different ratios so it’s important to do your homework before donning your apron and oven mitts.
The versatility of using protein powder in baked goods is virtually endless, and it allows meat-free diets to capitalize on nutrition without sacrificing options or, most importantly, flavor. Search online for baking and even specialty “no-bake” recipes for granola bars, fruit scones, breakfast on-the-go and more, and discover a whole new culinary world of protein powder that ventures beyond the blender.