Good morning sweet bees! I hope this first day of March is finding you happy and healthy! If it's not, know that I'm sending you good vibes and mental hugs. If you fall somewhere in the middle, I have just the thing to push you over the line into happyville!
Look at these babies!!!
Ohhhh that sweet chocolatey peanut buttery goodness is calling my name! Don't let the good looks fool ya though, they are packed with delicious body fuel!
First, let me back up a sec and tell you why this is my FGK pick today. I have a kiddo. She is 11, and tall, and skinny, and all arms and legs. This last year was rough for her. She struggles with anxiety and tummy pain. She's never been a super picky eater, never been diagnosed with any actual GI issues. But anxiety can lead to stomach pain, and eating some foods can lead to stomach pain. So she gets anxious that a food will make her stomach hurt, which leads to her stomach actually hurting, even if the food isn't/wasn't the culprit. We've tried all kinds of tricks, we see a therapist, and she finally got in with a GI specialist and we're in the middle of running tests. I do my best as a mom, but this has been a struggle for me. My food blog isn't called the Fat Girl Kitchen for nothing. Aside from a seafood allergy'ish thing, I don't get anxious about food...ever lol.
One of the ways we help control her anxiety and stomach pain is to be more mindful of what we eat, and to eat from home more often than not. We have a handful of "safe" restaurants she will eat at, but mostly I cook, bake, or prep all of her meals. We're working together to ensure that even on her worst days, she's still getting good nutritious food. One of the big ones is making sure her meals and snacks are more balanced. Pushing for them to have fiber, protein, carbs, and fats (if possible) to keep her fueled up for the day. I found this little treat on Gimme Some Oven. It packs a serious punch, and meets almost all of those requirements! Take a gander at these ingredients:
Here's why they matter:
Peanut Butter: contains oleic acid which has been shown to help maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Peanut butter is comprised of about 25% protein, making it an excellent plant-based protein source. (We are currently working through a stock pile of peanut butter so we went with JIF. But if you prefer a more natural peanut butter, or your kiddo has a food allergy, feel free to which ever nut/nut-free butter you like.)
Oats: rich in carbs and fiber, higher in protein and fat than most other grains, and very high in many vitamins and minerals. They are high in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which can help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promotes healthy gut bacteria and increases feelings of fullness. You can check out this link to learn more about their benefits.
Honey: I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that if you're reading this you probably know a thing or two about how awesome raw honey is. But just in case you're new to the family...
Phytonutrients are compounds found in plants that help protect the plant from harm.
The phytonutrients in honey are responsible for its antioxidant properties, as well as its antibacterial and antifungal power. Honey is also a potent prebiotic, meaning it nourishes the good bacteria that live in the intestines. (Please note: Unlike raw honey, most of the honey you find in grocery stores is pasteurized. The high heat kills unwanted yeast, can improve the color and texture, removes any crystallization, and extends the shelf life. But many of the beneficial nutrients are also destroyed in the process. Learn more about honey power here.)
Flax Seed: Flax seeds are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Just one tablespoon of flax seeds contains 3 grams of fiber. The seeds also contain two types of dietary fiber -- soluble (20–40%) and insoluble (60–80%) and they are a good source of plant-based protein! Check out this article to learn more.
Coconut: provides protein along with many essential minerals, such as manganese, copper, iron, and selenium. It is also low in carbs and rich in amino acids, healthy fats, and fiber, making it a great choice for blood sugar control. Learn more here.
Chocolate Chips: are loaded with happiness...the most essential ingredient of all :)
Even if all of those ingredients didn't speak for themselves, here's the best part....these suckers are NO BAKE! You heard that right. Turn off your oven, put your sheet pans away. All you need is a bowl and a big spoon (or if you're lazy like me a food processor with a mixer blade).
For your base you're gonna need:
1 Cup dry oatmeal
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut (or alternative) butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Feel free to tweak your dough as desired. I add a bit more peanut butter and honey. If the mix looks too sticky - add a bit more oats, too dry - you can do a bit more honey. Your final product should look like a standard cookie dough. Then just scoop with a spoon or scooper, roll into the desired size ( I go for somewhere between a ping-pong ball and a golf ball), then pop in the fridge. They'll get more solid as they chill.
These will last about a week in the fridge, but they can also be frozen for up to 3 months!!
You can check out Gimme Some Oven for a bunch of alternative recipes for energy bites....just make sure to stock up on Thomas Honey before you get started because you will want to make them all!!!
Happy I-get-to-eat-delicious-cookies-and-they're-actually-good-for-me day y'all!