Being a lean, mean, muscle machine needn’t involve forgoing the odd sweet treat. Just use one or more of these tricks to keep your sugar and calorie intake low.


1. Recovery blend

Strawberries, blended, with just a few tablespoons of protein powder and put in the freezer will give you a refreshing and sweet dessert that’s loaded with the vitamin C and inflammation-fighting properties to accelerate your recovery from exercise.

Gain: 7g of protein.


2. Smarter toppings

For luxuries like ice cream, reduce the fat content by adding bananas. Switch out half the cream if you’re making it yourself or simply use 100g of ice cream with 100g of banana to halve the fat.

Save: 99 calories.


3. Beetroot boost

Beetroot is a nitrate rich addition that’s proven to improve your sports specific endurance. Add blended beets to brownies or cakes (as a substitute for egg or even oil) for a sweet, moist finish.

Save: 78 calories.


4. Buck the trend

Use buckwheat instead of white flour. It makes killer tasting pancakes but with substantially more protein – fielding 14g of this muscle builder per 100g compared to 10 or 11g for white flour.

Gain: 8g of protein.


5. Nutrient dense carbs

Pumpkin is ideal for bulking up with fiber and a little protein as it doesn’t have a strong flavor. Use it grated in biscuits, muffins and even in pancakes for a healthier more filling breakfast option.

Gain: 4-6g of fiber.


6. Smarter snacking

You deserve a movie snack and popcorn is a low-fat and low-calorie if plain, but you can add a sprinkling of chocolate protein powder to turn them into a satisfying sweet treat. The bonus? Each 100g contains 11g of protein, without the protein you’re adding.

Gain: 22g of protein.


7. Slow digesting smoothness

Cottage cheese is a casein protein rich option that adds creaminess to your desserts. Or just sprinkle it with a light dusting of sugar or honey for a dessert in itself.

Gain: 22g protein.


8. Focus on portion size

As desserts are usually high-calorie course option, even cutting your portion by half each day could make a dramatic difference to your leanness over time.

Save: 182 calories.


9. Switch to fruit sorbets

Ice cream with no fat. That’s a saving of 22g of fat per 200g. Just keep your eye on the sugar content. Or make your own – just puree fruit, add water, lemon juice and freeze!

Save: 198 calories.


10. Natural sweetness

Apple sauce, or cooked, blended apples, can be added to muffins, cakes and other sweet treats to replace  cup of oil in cakes, as it adds moisture without the calorie bump.

Save: 75 calories.


11. Nuttier upgrade

Add peanut butter and coconut oil. For chocolate infused desserts you can bulk up the goodness – protein and healthy fats – by switching out vegetable oil or butter. It tastes great!

Save: 30 calories.


12. Embrace milk

Dilute your ice cream with some milk or simply stir in some chocolate powder to a glass of milk and your sweet tooth will be satisfied while you can enjoy a hit of protein and calcium.

Gain: 8g of protein.


13. Rethink eggs

Rejuvenate bread by soaking it in an egg/ milk mixture and then bake. Sprinkle with cinnamon or honey and you’ve got a square meal with protein, fibre and a little sweetness.

Gain: 10g of protein.


14. Dust off the flour

Swap the flour for 200g of blended oats or almond flour in your favorite cookie recipes and you’ll bulk up the fiber and protein content, too.

Gain: 30g of protein.


15. Grab your nuts

Got a chocolate hankering? Throw a few nuts into to your mouth at the same time you’re eating chocolate. You’ll take longer to eat and it will also become more satisfying while the good fats and fiber in the nuts will help make you feel fuller.

Gain: 3g of protein.


Find nutritional advice and more in every issue of TRAIN magazine.