Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tasty Snack Tuesday - Vanilla Protein Pudding

After Sunday's very decadent dessert, I believe it's time for another healthy snack!

I'm always looking for high-protein snacks that don't involve using protein powder.  I am not against a protein supplement by any means - sometimes its hard to make sure you're getting enough, and its especially important if you're working out.  Those muscles aren't going to repair themselves!  I just find that protein powder can get quite expensive, and for me, I like to feel like I am getting to put the most amount of food into my mouth for the calories.

This is a very easy recipe to throw together, and it provides a good base if you want to try adding or trading out ingredients.  So really hear me when I say that if you don't like one of the ingredients, replace it with one of my suggestions or something similar.  But here's my version:

Vanilla Protein Pudding

1/2 medium banana, peeled, sliced, and frozen
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese (I like 1%, I find fat-free to be gross)
1/3 cup milk, your choice (I use almond, but anything will work)
splash vanilla extract

**optional add-ins that I love
cinnamon to taste (I like a lot)
1-2 teaspoons of fat-free sugar-free instant vanilla or cheesecake pudding mix, just the dry mix
1/4-1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon xantham gum (this helps with thickening and you can find it in the gluten-free section of the grocery store)

Using a blender (either stand-alone or immersion), or a food processor, blend everything together until you have a nice smooth pudding texture.  If you don't have or don't want to use the xantham gum, this will be more of a smoothie consistency, so you could add a little ice if you want to thicken this up.  Or, before I picked up xantham gum (an 8-ounce package is a bit expensive, but will last FOREVER), I would make this about one to two hours before I wanted to eat it and let it sit in the freezer.  Any way you go, it's delicious.

If you find yourself unsure of using cottage cheese, you can replace this with yogurt, but if you want to keep it really high-protein, I would opt for Greek yogurt.  One cup of fat-free Greek yogurt has 120 calories and 23 grams of protein!  I used to roll my eyes at what I deemed a "food fad", but then the generic versions started coming out - as in the more affordable versions.  Also, you could use a different fruit if bananas aren't your thing.  You could also try adding a tablespoon of dark cocoa powder, which I have done, and it tastes awesome!  Combine that with a nice dose of cinnamon, or even a pinch of chili powder and you have Mexican chocolate - uh, YUM!  Experiment!  That's the beauty.  When I made the batch in the picture, I made it with everything listed in the recipe above, and that sets me back less than 200 calories.  And its delicious!

all desserts belong in martini glasses. fact.

 I hope you find yourself at least one deliciously healthy snack today, and if you decide to try this one, I would love to hear what you think!

Recipe adapted from Kiss My Broccoli Blog