We are our habits. I like to create habits that are sustainable and if it a habit is being created around food – make it delicious! Making healthier choices doesn’t mean deprivation or eating things that you don’t like. Let’s face it: Nobody has time for that.
I love Reese’s peanut butter cups. I could eat my bodyweight in them and that’s a lot of peanut butter cups. Unless I want to weigh 300 lbs., I cannot make a habit of eating candy bars. In fact, I’ve not had a bonafide candy bar for many years. Have you read the labels on those things? Always read the nutrition labels on anything you pick up and are considering eating. It can be eye opening (& sometimes scary).
Protein is satiating and so is healthy fat. If I have a snack, I always aim to have protein. If you are satisfied, if you are not hungry, then you put yourself in a better position to not overeat throughout the day. Protein bars that you can purchase can be problematic. Often they have more sugar than protein; they may have sugar alcohols which can cause intestinal distress; they have ingredients that make you go “huh?”; they can have enough calories for a meal, not a snack; and they can be expensive. I make my own. I’ve had many kitchen experiments over the years in my quest for protein snacks. Two of my “go tos” are these peanut butter protein balls (or you can make them into bars) and Protein Chip Cookies.
Grab a bowl, a big spoon and whip up a batch. No baking required! You can use peanut butter or any nut or seed butter that you like. Drizzle with your favorite dark chocolate.
1 cup peanut butter
2 scoops vanilla or peanut butter protein powder
2 tablespoons applesauce
Dark chocolate squares or chips
Mix ingredients in a large bowl, by hand, until well blended. Batter will be the consistency of very thick cookie dough. Form balls with a cookie scoop or roll by hand. Place on a large plate and put in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. Melt your dark chocolate. Remove your protein balls from the freezer and drizzle the top of each with chocolate (or you can dip them!) The chocolate will harden pretty quickly. Refrigerate in any container you’d like to use. ENJOY!
Chocolate chip cookies. Who doesn’t love them? I certainly do, but let’s face it – they are delicious, but don’t provide us with much nutrition. How about a low sugar, protein chocolate chip cookie? Now we are talking!
Grab a bowl, a sturdy spoon and let’s make some cookies! I don’t add sugar when I’m baking these cookies because I’ve become accustomed to less sweet. For me, the Jif peanut butter and the dark chocolate chips add enough sweetness). If you prefer to have the cookies a bit sweeter, add the optional 1/4 cup brown sugar. If you are using natural peanut butter without any added sugar, you may need to add the sugar to this recipe. I use oat flour and I grind my own in my mini blender or food processer. I use Ghirardelli or Toll House dark chocolate morsels. Dark chocolate has less sugar and a deeper chocolate taste because they have more cacao. I like to use a digital scale to weigh out higher calorie ingredients such as peanut butter. The digital scale I use is a basic EatSmart scale.
1/2 cup oat or almond flour (grind your own using 1/2 cup old fashioned oats or almonds)
1/2 cup protein powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 egg whites (or 1 whole egg)
1 TB vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed (optional) *
1/3 -1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375. On a parchment lined cookie pan or a silicone mat, scoop out 12 cookie balls. I use a Pampered Chef cookie dough scoop. This recipe will make exactly 12 “normal size” cookies. Gently press down the dough ball with your fingers. Bake 8 – 12 minutes. Ovens vary. Don’t overbake. Your choices of ingredients/brands will change the macros, but each cookie will generally have 195 calories, 8.9 grams of protein, 2.3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of carbohydrate and 13 grams of fat. [Based on using Jif peanut butter, oat flour, no sugar, egg whites, Protizyme protein powder]. The macros of these cookies are a nice balance – I typically will eat one with some of my “homemade” chocolate milk before my morning walk or strength training session.
Pro tip: You can calculate the macros of any recipe by using a recipe builder in Apps such as LoseIt! or MyFitnessPal.