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Scoop of protein powder.

“I need how much protein?! How am I going to hit that number?”

One of the most critical things you can do to optimize your health and wellness is consume adequate protein. A nutrition plan high in protein supplies your metabolism with important essential amino acids, stabilizes energy, and helps you feel more satisfied from meals and snacks.

It’s easy, however, to fall short of your target protein intake without a purposeful plan. While the focus is always real food first, sometimes life happens and you may need to prioritize convenience or variety. Whether your goal is weight loss, vitality, or muscle building, this is where protein supplements come into play.

Utilizing a well-sourced protein powder — free of artificial sweeteners and unnecessary ingredients — can be a lifesaver. While protein shakes are the most common ways to use protein powder, there are a lot of other options for incorporating it into your routine.

If you need some inspiration to find other ways to put that tub of high-quality protein to good use beyond your trusty post-workout shake, try some of these protein recipes.

1. Protein Pudding Bowl

Recommended Protein: Life Time Vegan Protein

Sometimes you just want a bowl of creamy goodness that delivers your favorite crunch and toppings. The Life Time Vegan Protein (plant-based and without soy protein) is ideal for creating a thicker consistency. If you use whey protein, you may have to blend the mixture with a few ice cubes to thicken it up before adding your toppings.

Ingredients

  • 2 scoops chocolate or vanilla Life Time Vegan Protein powder
  • 1/2 cup milk or nondairy milk of choice — more if a thinner texture is desired
  • 1/2 tsp. extract of choice, such as vanilla, lemon, maple, or almond
  • Optional: 5–10 drops liquid stevia for added sweetness, or to taste
  • Choice of toppings: berries, sliced banana, nut butter, unsweetened coconut flakes, slivered almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, pistachios, cocoa powder

Method

  1. Mix the protein powder, milk, extract, and optional stevia until there are no lumps and the texture is similar to pudding. Arrange desired toppings to garnish the bowl.

Two combinations to get you started:

  • Mint Chocolate Bowl: Chocolate Life Time Vegan Protein + almond milk + peppermint extract topped with raspberries and flaked coconut
  • Blueberry Muffin Bowl: Vanilla Life Time Vegan Protein + coconut milk + lemon extract topped with blueberries and walnuts

2. Better-for-You Cookies

Recommended Protein: Life Time Vegan Protein

Dress up a favorite treat by sneaking in a few extra grams of hunger-busting protein.

Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tsp. coconut oil
  • 2 scoops vanilla Life Time Vegan Protein powder
  • 3 tbs. unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/8 cup organic dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Place shredded coconut and coconut oil in food processor on high speed.
  2. Scrape the sides intermittently until mixture is a butter consistency.
  3. Add the protein powder, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and salt, and process on high speed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  4. Form mixture into 1-inch balls, and place in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer for one hour.
  5. Once the balls have firmed up, melt the dark chocolate in a small saucepan, and dip the balls. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and enjoy!

Servings: 10 | Calories: 120 | Fat: 10 g | Carbs: 5 g | Protein: 4 g

Nut Butter Buckeyes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened nut butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  • 2 scoops vanilla Life Time Vegan Protein powder
  • 1/8 cup dark chocolate (90 percent cacao)
  • 2 tbs. coconut oil

Method

  1. Combine almond butter and extract(s) in a small bowl. Add in protein powder and mix well together. Place mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove mixture from the freezer and form into tablespoon-sized balls. Place the nut butter balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place back into the freezer for about one hour or until hardened.
  3. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a saucepan over the stove. Using a double boiler or microwaving in increments works fine as well.
  4. Remove the nut butter balls from the freezer. With a toothpick, dip the balls into the chocolate mixture. Use only one coat, and cover about 3/4 of each ball. Repeat with each ball and place each one back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Place the baking sheet back into the freezer for about an hour to allow the chocolate shell to harden completely.
  6. Store in refrigerator or freezer. Serve chilled.

Servings: 15 | Calories: 205 | Fat: 19 g | Carbs: 9 g | Protein: 2 g

3. Customized Yogurt Flavoring

Recommended Proteins:

Have you walked down the yogurt aisle lately? There are endless choices, yet most of them are loaded with added sugars.

Instead, try mixing one scoop of your favorite naturally flavored and sweetened protein into 6 to 8 ounces of plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened nondairy yogurt, if you prefer).

Pro tip: Need a fast and easy fruit dip? Mix one cup of plain Greek yogurt with one scoop of vanilla Life Time Collagen Peptides. Serve with strawberries or melon chunks.

4. At-Home Coffee Shop

Recommended Proteins:

It’s easier than you think — and can be just as delicious — to make your favorite coffee drink at home. Save money and time by bypassing the drive-through coffee pickup and whipping up one of these options instead.

Vanilla Latte

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces hot coffee
  • 1 scoop vanilla Life Time Collagen Peptides
  • Optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk of choice

Method

  1. Use hand-held frother or blender to blend Life Time collagen peptides into hot coffee.
  2. Top with cream or milk (if desired) and enjoy

With heavy cream: Servings: 2| Calories: 140 | Fat: 10 g | Carbs: 1 g | Protein: 10 g

Without cream or milk: Servings: 2| Calories: 40 | Fat: 0 g | Carbs: 0.5 g | Protein: 10 g

Frozen Mocha Frappe

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces brewed coffee, chilled
  • 4 ounces unsweetened coconut milk or milk of choice
  • 1 scoop chocolate Life Time Grass-Fed Whey Protein powder or 2 scoops chocolate Life Time Isolate Protein powder
  • 1 tbs. nut butter
  • 5–6 ice cubes or enough to thicken mixture
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • Optional: 5–8 drops choice of flavored liquid stevia, such as caramel or toffee

Method

  1. Use a high-powered blender to blend all ingredients into frappe consistency.

Servings: 1 | Calories: 232 | Fat: 12 g | Carbs: 10 g | Protein: 25 g

5. Homemade Protein Bars

Recommended Protein: Life Time Grass-Fed Whey Protein

The convenience of protein bars is unmatched, but most store-bought versions have miles-long ingredient lists. Prep a batch of these to have on hand for the times you’re running out the door or need a quick snack.

Cookie Dough Protein Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla Life Time Grass-Fed Whey Protein
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • 1-plus tbs. nut milk, as needed

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except the chocolate chips and nut milk and mix until it forms a dough-like consistency. If your mixture is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of nut milk at a time until a dough is formed.
  2. Let the mix cool (the butter may still be warm). Once completely cool, fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread cookie dough on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Servings: 6 | Calories: 170 | Fat: 6 g | Carbs: 22 g | Protein: 16 g

6. Hidden in Sauces, Soups, and Savory Dishes

Recommended Protein: Unflavored Life Time Collagen Peptides

Unflavored collagen peptides are one of Life Time’s best-kept secrets. They’re known for their mixability, and they pack 19 grams of protein per scoop.

Use an immersion blender to blend into pasta sauce, tomato soup, or cream-based soups, or mix thoroughly into mashed sweet potatoes. Cooking from scratch? Give this recipe a try.

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 4–6 cups cubed butternut squash
  • Avocado oil cooking spray or coconut oil cooking spray
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce bag riced cauliflower
  • 1 tbs. cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp. dried ginger
  • 1 tsp .dried garlic
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 16-ounce carton chicken bone broth
  • 4 scoops unflavored Life Time Collagen Peptides
  • Optional: Unsweetened coconut milk, pumpkin seeds, and freeze-dried apples to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spray squash with oil spray and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until pierced easily with a fork.
  3. While squash is in the oven, sauté onion in a large soup pot.
  4. Once onion is tender, add riced cauliflower and spices. Sauté until tender.
  5. Add in bone broth and bring to a low simmer.
  6. When done, add roasted squash to broth and vegetable mixture. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth or blend carefully in batches in a large blender and return to soup pot once consistency is even.
  7. Remove 2 to 3 cups of the soup and use a blender to combine with the unflavored Life Time Collagen Peptides until completely smooth. Return mixture to the rest of the soup and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Optional: Swirl in a drizzle of coconut milk for a creamier soup and top with pumpkin seeds or freeze-dried apple chips before serving.

Servings: 10 | Calories: 130 | Fat: 3 g | Carbs: 16 g | Protein: 13 g

7. Kid-Approved Milkshakes

Recommended Proteins:

With warm weather on the way, whip up a cold, creamy, tasty dessert — you won’t even miss the ice cream shop.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tsp. each pure vanilla extract and pure almond extract
  • 1 tbs. nut butter
  • 1 serving vanilla or chocolate Life Time Collagen Peptides, Life Time Isolate Protein, or Life Time Grass-Fed Whey Protein (strawberry crème option works well too if using the grass-fed whey)
  • 3­–4 ice cubes
  • Optional: 5–8 drops liquid stevia or 2-3 tbs. powdered erythritol or monk fruit sweetener for added sweetness
  • Sprinkles to garnish

Method

  1. Place all ingredients except the sprinkles in a blender and blend on high.
  2. Dip the top of a glass into a dish with water or milk, then dip into sprinkles.
  3. Pour contents of blender into the sprinkle-rimmed glass and enjoy.

Servings: 1 | Calories: 365 | Fat: 15 g | Carbs: 25 g | Protein: 28 g

8. Protein-Packed Oatmeal

Recommended Proteins:

While oatmeal is a great real-food option, it’s best to pair it with a source of protein to keep blood sugar (and therefore energy levels) more even. Plus, while most flavored oatmeal packets are convenient, they are usually packed with sneaky added sugars.

Stick with plain oatmeal and let the natural sweetness and flavor of your protein powder do the work.

Keep it simple by cooking plain oats with water or milk of choice. Then stir in a scoop or two of protein powder. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with berries, chopped nuts, or some nut butter if desired.

If you want an oatmeal option that’s ready to grab in the morning, prep this favorite the night before: Overnight Protein Oats recipe.

9. Dessert Truffles

Recommended Protein: Life Time Vegan Protein

These might not come directly from a chocolatier, but these truffles are a great indulgence for any chocolate lover.

Chocolate Protein Truffles recipe

10. Protein Pancakes

Recommended Proteins:

This is one healthy, protein-packed breakfast the whole family will love. If you’re looking for an idea to break out of an egg rut, give this recipe a try.

Protein Pancakes recipe

Bonus Idea: The “Plan C” Shake

Recommended Proteins:

Have you ever been stuck at the office into the late afternoon and found your lunch wasn’t filling enough to tide you over? Or been frustrated with a lack of healthy options at the airport? Or maybe you frequently find yourself in rush-hour traffic and tempted by the drive-through.

We’ve all been there.

As a backup option, throw two scoops of Life Time Protein + All in One Shake Mix (choice of whey or vegan) in a dry shaker cup. Keep it on-hand in your office drawer or stashed in your carry-on luggage or car. Anytime you’re stuck, simply hit it with water and shake for a quick snack or meal replacement that packs in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a whopping 30 grams of protein per serving.

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Training Facebook group.

samantha-mckinney-life-time-training-registered-dietician
Samantha McKinney, RD, CPT

Samantha McKinney has been a dietitian, trainer and coach for over 10 years. At first, her interests and experience were in a highly clinical setting in the medical field, which ended up laying a strong foundation for understanding metabolism as her true passion evolved: wellness and prevention. She hasn’t looked back since and has had the honor of supporting Life Time’s members and nutrition programs in various roles since 2011.

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