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Protein ice cream

If you’ve been to the freezer section of your grocery store lately, then you’re probably aware that multiple brands offer high-protein ice cream alternatives. But if you’re looking to save money or recreate your favourite flavour by making protein ice cream at home, TikTok has got you covered. Users have been sharing their easy protein ice cream recipes that come together in minutes. Now that the topic has attracted over 80 million views on the app, it’s clear that the tasty trend is here to stay.

Below, how to get in on the action — plus a dietitian’s take on the nutrition of protein ice cream.

How to make protein ice cream

The wonderful thing about high-protein ice cream is that you can improvise based on your preferences and what you have on hand. Most of the recipes include a cup or less of your nut milk of choice as a base, along with ice, frozen fruit, or other sweet add-ins (including Oreos, whipped cream, pudding mix, even cereal). Obviously, you’ll also add a source of protein — TikTokers love adding flavoured protein powder, flavoured Greek yoghurt, or powdered peanut butter.

Protein ice cream
Image Credit: Sebastian Coman Photography/Unsplash

To make your protein ice cream of choice, you’ll need a high-powered blender or food processor. The key ingredient that many TikTok creators rely on to give the chilled treat an ice cream-like texture is xanthan gum, a thickening and stabilising agent commonly found in traditional ice cream, as well as in salad dressings, baked goods, syrups, soups, etc. It’s also commonly found in protein powders, which is why you’ll only need to add about a teaspoon to your protein ice cream.

Need some inspiration? You’ll find plenty of variations of the dessert on TikTok, including @my.getfit’s protein ice cream recipe, which uses a scoop of whey protein powder, 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum, 1 teaspoon of sugar-free pudding mix and a zero-calorie sweetener of choice, 1/2 cup of your chosen unsweetened cashew or almond milk, and some ice.

TikTok user @haileybirch_health opted for a peanut butter banana version, blending up two to three frozen bananas, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, 2 tablespoons of powdered or regular PB, and a splash of almond milk, with the bananas serving as a replacement for ice. They also added in chocolate chips towards the end of blending for some crunch.

Nutrition benefits of high-protein ice cream

Nothing compares to regular ice cream, but if you want to sneak in some extra protein to stay satiated and support your muscles and bones, rest assured that protein ice cream is an RD-approved method. “What you are putting in your protein ice cream can make all the difference from a nutrition standpoint,” says Nicole Lindel, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and Everlywell advisor. “Using fruit, protein powder, Greek yoghurt, and cow or nut milk makes for a delicious, well-balanced snack or meal.”

Protein ice cream
Image Credit: American Heritage Chocolate/Unsplash

Eating the right amount of protein each day is essential to support your body’s functioning, notes Lindel. “It’s recommended that the average adult have 0.8 to 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight,” she notes. “However, this really depends on the individual. A variety of factors can contribute, such as age, sex, health, and level of physical activity. Protein is vital to growth and development. Our bodies need protein from the diet to build and maintain bones, muscles, and skin.”

Lindel recommends adding a bit of honey along with ample fruit for natural sweetness. Also, some TikTok commenters have noted digestive issues from xanthan gum (consuming it can lead to abdominal discomfort in some people), but you can omit it or sub in a different thickening ingredient. “Chia seeds soaked in water are a great substitute for xanthan gum,” says Lindel. “This is also a smart addition to protein ice cream because chia seeds are packed with fibre and an array of vital nutrients.” FYI, if you skip these thickening agents altogether, you might end up with a texture that’s more smoothie than fro-yo.

And there you have it — all you need is a blender, a few ingredients, and a heaping scoop of creativity, and you’re sure to find a frosty, protein-packed combination you’ll love.

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