For the Love of Food!
By Sue Solymosi, Zumba instructor at Soul Studio.
FOOD!! I love food. I love eating food. When I’m working, when I’m thinking, when I’m doing laundry… I love to have something to snack on. My biggest downfall is that quite often I don’t give myself enough time to prepare healthy snacks that I can reach for throughout the day, so that leaves me grabbing some not so healthy choices to fill the void – comfort food. Because of this, like most of us, I play a yo-yo game with my weight. Some months my pants don’t fit quite so well (and leggings become my best friend!), and fitness classes are a touch harder to get through. Here’s my secret weapon for those tougher times: planning my meals!
I do love to cook, and bake, and preparing food in general, so I strap down and make a plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I’ll make a large batch of soup and freeze lunch time portions to grab and go through the work week. I make sure I have fresh fruit and veggies in the fridge, ready to eat.
For post workout snacks, I like to make protein cookies to fill that post workout void and help rebuild my muscles. My favorite go-to recipe for protein cookies that work for any and all occasion is one that was shared with me a couple of years ago. I now have a container full of these tasty gluten free, egg free morsels for every Zumba® or fitness training I attend, and they are always a hit. Check out the original recipe here:
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Protein Cookies
- 2 whole Ripe Bananas, Mashed Until Creamy
- ⅓ cups Peanut Butter, Creamy Or Chunky
- ⅔ cups Unsweetened Applesauce
- ¼ cups Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Butter Extract (optional)
- 1-½ cup Quick Oatmeal, Uncooked
- ¼ cups Chopped Peanuts
- ¼ cups Carob Chips Or Chocolate Chips (optional)
Preheat heat oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, mix mashed banana and peanut butter until completely combined. Then add in the applesauce, vanilla protein powder and vanilla and butter extracts. Mix again until completely combined.
Add in the oatmeal and nuts to the banana mixture and combine. (Add the optional carob/chocolate chips at this time if you want them mixed throughout.)
Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
Drop cookie dough, by spoonfuls, onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and flatten cookies into circles, about a 1/3″ thick. (If you want the optional carob/chocolate chips on the top of the cookies, push them into the cookies now.)
Bake cookies approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown and done. Remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack. (If you want the traditional fork tine marks on the cookies, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to score the tops of the cookies while they’re still warm.)
A few tips that work for me:
* I like chocolate protein powder instead of vanilla.
* Butter and flour the pan, or use parchment paper. These cookies will stick to your cookie sheet otherwise.
* I normally get 10-12 cookies total. You can make them smaller for more cookies if you’d like, but I enjoy the consistency of this size.
* You can also double the recipe and make bars instead of cookies.
* They freeze well. If you decide not to freeze them, they will last about a week in the fridge.
This is a very quick and easy recipe. Enjoy!