Packaged protein cookies are popular but they're not all they're cracked up to be, nutritionally speaking. Just one cookie has a whopping 400 calories, with more than 450 milligrams of sodium and 24 grams of sugar. That's 96 calories' worth of added sugar. The recommended daily intake of added sugar is set to exceed no more than 10 percent of daily caloric needs. Someone on a 1,500-calorie diet would already be getting more than 60 percent of their daily added sugar allotment in just one cookie.
"Oftentimes fitness-minded folks get caught up in the health halo effect. Beware of the attractive display of fancy snacks at the gym juice bar," says Lindsey Pine, M.S., R.D.N., C.L.T., of Tasty Balance Nutrition. "Most often the products are overpriced, completely unnecessary and will possibly add to your waistline instead of tightening it! Pat yourself on the back for kicking butt at the gym and walk right past the tempting treats displayed to get your attention. Come prepared with your own healthy post-workout snack to give you the fuel you need."
To show you just how simple it is to make your own protein cookie, I went into the test kitchen and whipped up this simple, four-ingredient version. Peanuts, peanut powder, maple syrup, and whole-grain oats—it's really that simple! The heart-healthy fats from the peanuts deliver flavonoids, nutrients that have shown to help reduce inflammation. Anytime we put stress on our bodies we are increasing our chances of inflammation, so it's always a good idea to focus on including foods rich in flavonoids to help control your body's response to exercise. The maple syrup adds natural sweetness, while the whole-grain oats deliver a hearty dose of complex carbohydrates, protein, and filling fiber. In less than 30 minutes you'll have a delicious, nutritious alternative for your post-workout fuel.
Megan Coats, R.D.N., says, "Homemade peanut butter cookies are win-win; not only am I able to control the ingredients, but I also save a buck or two when I make them in batches. I like to amp up the fiber by adding in dried fruits and seeds. It's the perfect snack to fuel my post-workout hunger!"
Join the movement and whip up these peanut butter cookies!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
These vegan, gluten-free chocolate peanut butter cookies are your new best friend! Not only do they deliver more 9 grams of protein per cookie, they've also got 4 grams of fiber and only 7 grams of sugar per serving.
Makes 24 cookies
2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
8 ounces chocolate powdered peanut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups gluten-free whole oats
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, combine peanuts, chocolate powdered peanut butter, and maple syrup.
- Pulse until a coarse, slightly sticky consistency is achieved. Mixture should resemble a chunky nut butter.
- Add oats and continue to pulse until mixture is evenly dispersed and dough is formed.
- Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray and drop dough into rounds on cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze for up to two months.
Nutrition (per cookie): 180 calories; 8g total fat; 1g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 0mg cholesterol; 75mg sodium; 21g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 7g sugar; 9g protein
Note: If you aren't a chocolate fan, feel free to use the regular powdered peanut butter varieties.