When you think of sweet and yummy desserts, sugar and carbohydrates come to mind. Then Google ‘high protein recipes’ and desserts don’t normally feature. So here is how to combine sweet taste with high protein dessert friendly foods, using sugar alternatives and some surprising ingredients.
Protein contributes to weight loss by helping build more metabolically active muscle, helping decrease appetite through increased satiety, reduced sugar cravings and increased calorie usage through thermogenic metabolism.
Protein cannot be stored so needs to be eaten daily. Most people require, on average, between 0.8 – 1.0g of protein per kilogram of weight per day. Therefore, for someone weighting 60kg, this would equate to between 48-60g of protein required daily.
To put in perspective, a salmon fillet (125g) and chicken breast (150g) contain approximately 28g and 31g of protein respectively. In general, meat, poultry and fish contain the highest protein content. The following list contains ‘dessert-friendly’ protein foods to help increase your daily protein intake and most of which have been used in the recipes:
|Plain Yogurt (cows)||227g/8oz/half large pot||13g|
|Goats milk||250ml (244g / 1 cup)||9g|
|Black beans (cooked)||100g||9g|
|Cow’s milk||250ml (244g / 1 cup)||8g|
|Pumpkin seeds, walnuts||28g / 1 oz. / handful||7g|
|Almonds / pistachio||28g / 1 oz. / handful||6g|
|Peanut butter||2 tbsp (32g)||8g|
|Cashews||28g / 1 oz. / handful||5g|
|Brown Rice||1 cup (195g)||5g|
|Raw cacao||28g / 1 oz. / handful||5g|
|Walnuts||28g / 1 oz. / handful||4g|
|Hemp /chia seeds||1 tbsp (approx 10g)||3 -3.5g|
|Cashew nut butter/tahini||1 tbsp (approx 18g)||3g|
|Dried figs / Banana||28g / 1 large||1g|
Here are 7 high protein dessert recipes to inspire and tempt your taste buds.
1. Pistachio, fig and goats cheese trifle
– handful of pistachios
– hazelnuts or sesame seeds or mix of each
– 120g soft goats cheese
– 150g full fat probiotic natural yogurt or thick coconut yogurt
– 8 fresh or dried figs
– pomegranate molasses (available in Sainsbury’s & Waitrose)
– runny raw honey or date syrup
– 1tbsp calvados (optional).
– Toast the nuts and seeds in the oven (170°C fan oven) for around 8 minutes. Crush and set aside.
– Blend the goats cheese, yogurt and calvados (if using) in a bowl with a spoon or if slightly hard, use a blender.
– Build the dessert: slice or halve the figs, arrange a couple at the bottom of a dessert or cocktail glass, spoon over heaped teaspoons of goats cheese/yogurt mix and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Repeat building layers.
Estimated protein content per serving: 9.3g
2. Peanut butter chocolate pudding
– 1 ½ avocados
– 1 large ripe banana
– ½ cup/64g/1.5oz Unsweetened cacao powder or cocoa powder
– ½ cup/170g/6oz salted smooth or crunchy peanut butter
– ½ cup/170g/6oz of sweetener: choose from maple syrup, agave, date paste* or honey
– ¼ cup/60ml/2 fl.oz almond milk or dairy milk (if you wish to increase the protein content further)
*Date paste is easy to make with fresh dates and soaking in water.
– Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
– Personalise the pudding according to taste: add further milk to thin the consistency, more cocoa for a more chocolate flavour or more sweetener as required.
– Divide into 6 small pots, cover with cling film and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
– Serving: add some chopped nuts on top to add further protein to the pudding.
Estimated protein content per serving: 9g
3. Avocado chocolate dessert (without peanut butter)
– 2 ripe avocado flesh
– 125ml chilled coconut cream
– 25-50g raw cacao powder (cocoa powder could be substituted)
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 tsp rice malt syrup or 1-2 tsp stevia
– pinch of Himalayan sea salt.
Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Split across 4-6 serving dishes depending on dessert size required. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.
Estimated protein content per serving: 5g
4. Blueberry & apple quinoa crumble
– 1 cup/150g mixed nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, walnuts, almonds, pecan, brazil)
– 1 cup/130g cooked quinoa
– ¼ cup/25g shredded coconut
– 80ml rice malt syrup
– 3tbsp butter or coconut oil melted
– 4 drops vanilla extract
– 3-4 cups/400g fresh or frozen blueberries
– pinch of sea salt
– yogurt to serve
– Pre-heat oven to 180°C/gas 4.
– Roughly chop nuts and seeds in a food processor. Add quinoa, coconut, vanilla essence, salt and pulse to combine.
– Place syrup and butter into a bowl and stir in quinoa mixture.
– Place berries in bottom of pie dish (approx 23oz dish), and scatter quinoa mix over berries.
– Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with yogurt for extra protein or vanilla ice cream for an extra treat.
Estimated protein content per serving: 6-8g
5. Beanie brownies
Serves: makes 16 small squares
– 125g butter
– 180g dark chocolate roughly chopped
– 250g cooked or canned beans: black beans & chickpeas mixed
– 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
– 3 tbsp coconut flakes
– 1 cup/115g walnuts roughly chopped
– pinch of sea salt
– 3 eggs
– 2/3 cup/150ml agave syrup or honey.
– Preheat oven to 170°C and line an 11inch square baking tray with greaseproof paper.
– Melt butter, add the chocolate and stir until all melted.
– Place beans, cacao powder, coconut flakes and half the walnuts into a blender or food processor. Blend for about 2 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture & blend for 1 minute.
– Whisk eggs in a separate bowl (3 mins). Add the agave syrup and whisk for 1 minute.
– Save four spoonfuls of the eggs mix, and mix the rest with the chocolate and bean mixture. Add the remaining walnuts and stir gently with a spatula so mixture is all the same colour. Pour onto the baking tray.
– Drip remaining egg mixture on top of the brownie mix and use a toothpick or knife to create a marble effect.
– Bake for 30-40 minutes. The centre might be a little loose so wait until they have cooled before eating.
Estimated protein content per serving: 9g (per 2 squares)
6. Rice pudding with pistachio crumble
– 1 cup/190g brown rice, rinsed
– 2 cups/470ml water
– ¼ tsp salt
– 2 cups/ 470ml skimmed milk
– 10 packets/20g stevia
– 1 large egg plus large egg yolk lightly beaten
– ¼ tsp vanilla essence
– ¼ tsp ground cardamon.
– tbsp raisins
– ¼ cup pistachios
– ½ tsp raw honey
– 1 pinch sea salt.
– Bring to boil rice, water and salt over high heat in saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender (40 mins).
– Combine all the crumble ingredients into a small blender and whiz together. Set aside.
– When the rice is cooked, pour 11/2 cups of milk into pan, add stevia and stir consistently over medium heat until rice has absorbed the milk and is thick and creamy, about 15-20mins. Lower heat and stir in remaining ½ cup milk and egg. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla essence and cardamon.
– Serve warm with pistachio topping.
Estimated protein content per serving: 8g
7. Cappuccino cheesecake
– 11/2 cups of crumbled ‘free from’ digestive biscuits
– 3 tbsp butter or coconut oil.
– ½ cup/120g strongly brewed coffee
– 11/2 tsp vanilla essence
– ¼ cup/55g maple syrup
– 2 packets of tofu (340g per packet)
– 1/8tsp pure stevia
– 1/3 cup of coconut butter melted
– ½ tsp salt
– ½ cup raw cacao nibs or chocolate chips (optional)
– Preheat oven to 350°C. Combine the digestive biscuits and melted butter or coconut oil and press into a 8.5-in spring form cake tin to form the crust. Or simply grease the pan for a crust less pie.
– Combine the ingredients (except the cacao nibs) and blend until smooth. Don’t over-blend, as this introduces to much air which can cause cracking later on.
– Mix in by hand 1/4 cup chocolate chips if desired, pour mixture into the prepared crust or greased tin.
– Sprinkle remaining chips on top, and bake 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Fridge AT LEAST 6 hours (uncovered), as – the texture and taste will change completely during this time. (Don’t skip this waiting step!).
– Go around the sides with a knife and remove from the spring form tin.
Estimated protein content per serving: 7g
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(2) USDA’s Natural Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
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(5) Sarah Wilson (2014) I Quit Sugar. Macmillan.
(6) Hemsley & Hemsley (2014) The Art of Eating Well. Ebury Press.