These four sweet treats are nowhere near the cheat you may think. Packed with protein from sources like egg whites, peanut flour, protein powder, and milk, these healthy desserts— whipped up by Heather Davies, creator of the Protein Chef food blog — come in handy for parties and potlucks throughout the season.
What has been off-limits is now ready for the spotlight. This cheesecake is an indulgent mix of hazelnuts, chocolate, and graham crackers without the guilt! Think of it like your grandma’s recipe—but better.
Ingredients (Makes 8 Servings)
3/4 cup graham crackers
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 cups plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
2 cups extra-light cream cheese
1/2 cup chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp chocolate-hazelnut spread (low sugar if possible)
2 tbsp roasted hazelnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 355°F.
Place crackers in a blender and blend until finely crushed. (Or you can put them in a sandwich bag and mash with a rolling pin.)
Melt oil in the microwave for 1 minute, then pour it over crushed crackers. Stir together until fully coated.
Pour mixture into an 8-inch loose-bottomed cake tin and press mixture down as tightly as possible.
In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, cream cheese,and protein powder. Beat until smooth. (There should be no lumps of powder.) Pour mix over cracker base and level it out.
Bake on middle shelf of oven for 30 minutes. The top should not color; if it does, turn oven down slightly. Note: You still want the middle of your cheesecake to ‘wobble’ when you take it out of oven. Don’t wait until it’s fully set; it will set further once it’s chilled.
Remove from oven and allow cheesecake to come to room temperature before chilling in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Finish by spreading chocolate-hazelnut spread on top; sprinkle chopped hazelnuts over cake.
Nutrition Facts (Per Slice)
Calories: 314, Fat: 15g, Carbs: 15g, Protein: 20g
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2. Fat-Free Pumpkin Spice Protein Cookies
These soft, cakelike cookies are the perfect way to hit your macros. Made with pumpkin, whole-grain oat flour, Greek yogurt, and protein powder, they use the season’s favorite spice to flavor your holiday treat, but without all the fat of a regular cookie.
Makes 12 Servings
1 1⁄4 cup raw pumpkin (or sub 1 cup canned pumpkin purée)
1⁄2 cup oat flour
1 heaping tsp pumpkin-pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp Splenda
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
3⁄4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1⁄4 cup liquid egg whites
Preheat oven to 350°F.
If you’re using raw pumpkin, chop it into small chunks, place in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 8 minutes on full power. Drain off water, mash pumpkin, and set aside.
In a bowl mix together flour, pumpkin-pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, Splenda, and protein powder. Add raisins, chocolate chips, and/or cacao nibs if you’re using them.
Add Greek yogurt and egg whites to mashed pumpkin and stir well. Add dry mix to the wet and combine.
Spoon mixture onto a well-greased baking tray, leaving plenty of room between each cookie.
Bake for 20 minutes; remove from oven and allow to cool before finishing off the cooling on a wire rack.
Top cookies with a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon.
A rich sweet with muscle-building chocolate protein powder and peanut flour, these truffles roll up quickly and are ready in an hour.
Makes 8 Servings
1⁄4 cup chocolate protein powder
1⁄4 cup peanut flour
1 tbsp no-added-sugar cocoa (plus a little extra for rolling the truffles in)
1 tbsp sweetener
2 tbsp milk
In a bowl, mix together protein powder, flour, cocoa, and sweetener. Combine fully before adding milk.
Stir everything together until it forms a crumbly mixture. Knead with hands until it forms a dough.
Divide mix into eight parts and roll into balls. Dust on some extra cocoa and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Use a storage container or cover with plastic wrap to keep truffles moist.
Nutrition Facts (Per Truffle)
Calories: 43, Fat: 1g, Carbs: 2g, Protein: 6g
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4. Gingerbread Protein Bars
Makes 5 Servings
Simple, fast, and full of flavor, these spicy ginger bars are the perfect comfort holiday treat: They skip the extra calories by using protein powder in place of regular flour and utilize a higher-protein and oat flour to boot.
1/3 cup vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup dates
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp water
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until a dough forms.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for up to 20 minutes.
Shape chilled dough into bars, then put them in fridge to chill for at least 1 hour before eating.