While meeting your protein needs at breakfast, lunch, and dinner is pretty easy, dessert is another story. Loaded with sugar, flour, and fat, you generally don’t expect your evening sweet treat to pack a protein punch. But that’s doesn’t have to be the case.
How can you add more protein to your dessert? Lauren Harris-Pincus, R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club, offers five simple ways to tweak your dessert recipes and increase your protein intake.
The easiest way to boost your dessert’s protein profile? Protein powder. And with so many varieties of protein powders available, you’ll find one that meets your dietary needs (read up on the different varieties with our protein powder guide). Most have about 20 to 25 grams of protein per one-ounce scoop. Harris-Pincus recommends sprinkling protein powder into recipes like bread pudding or mug cake recipes (stick with plant-based powers for this one) and bake.
You know that Greek yogurt is a versatile protein powerhouse with around 15 grams of protein per cup. It’s also a healthy swap in dessert recipes like cheesecake too. “Substitute up to one-third of the cream cheese in your cheesecake recipe with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt,” says Harris-Pincus.
Need another protein-packed dairy alternative? Tofu. It’s perfect for smoothies, trifles, and parfaits, says Harris-Pincus. “Blend smooth or firm tofu with vanilla extract, sweetener of choice, lemon juice, and zest, and layer with your favorite fruit. Add in crumbled cookies, granola, or other crunchy toppings to create a trifle or parfait,” she says. “Tofu also packs plant-based protein into fruit smoothies in place of yogurt or protein powder.” Plus, a half-cup of tofu has about 10 grams of protein. That’s a win!
Black beans aren’t just for savory dishes. They are a super-sneaky way to transform your brownies into a healthy dessert—and you’ll get an extra seven and a half grams of protein per half cup. “Forget the oil. Add pureed black beans to your brownie mixture for a protein and fiber boost while saving lots of calories from fat,” says Harris-Pincus. Here’s a black bean brownie recipe we liked.
(Hit the reset button—and burn fat like crazy with The Body Clock Diet!)
While nut butter may be your go-to snack, it’s also a simple way to increase the protein and flavor of your favorite sweet treat. “If you love peanut butter, add powdered peanut butter or peanut flour to cookies,” says Harris-Pincus. “You’ll save a ton of calories from fat and boost the protein. Just make sure to adjust the liquid in the recipe since the peanut powder will absorb extra.” According to Consumer Reports, a tablespoon of peanut butter powder has about three to four grams of protein.