Feed your muscles after you exercise! Try this higher protein recipe for a flavorful post-workout fitness cookie. These cookies are lower in fat and sugar, higher in protein, and gluten-free. A printable recipe sheet and a video are included lower within this article.
What You Need to Know about Sugar, Carbs, and Fitness Snacks
A secret known for decades by elite athletes and aesthetic bodybuilders is that you can get better results from your workouts – and develop a stronger physique – by timing your carb intake so that most of your carbohydrates are consumed after strenuous physical activity, along with some quality protein.
These post-workout fitness cookies provide an ideal solution – and they’re delicious.
Sure, technically speaking, sugar is generally not great for you.
However, if there is a time when a bit of sugar might be beneficial, it’s after an intense exercise session when a bit of sugar can help to shuttle protein and nutrients into dry, thirsty muscles (this is a trick that sports competitors have known for over half a century).
Eat Your Way to a Healthier Body with This Fitness Cookie
This recipe has far less sugar (and butter) – and more protein – than a standard cookie recipe. But what’s even better is that it’s gluten-free, plus contains apple, zucchini, carrot, cherry, and pumpkin.
Almost everyone I know is eating far fewer vegetables than they think they are and far less than what they need to meet their micronutrient and health requirements. This recipe for a higher protein post-workout fitness cookie seeks to remedy that.
I came up with the idea for this fitness cookie recipe because I was tired of finding seed oils – particularly sunflower oil and safflower oil – in the ingredients list for protein bars.
As someone more concerned with overall inflammation than arterial plaque, I would rather have a bit of butter in my cookie than seed oil.
While the standard cookie recipe has two sticks of butter, this recipe has only one stick – plus a bit of pecan butter and olive oil.
Is this cookie part of an advanced-level anti-inflammatory diet?
However, as a treat on resistance-training days, it’s a delicious reward!
Be advised that I do not enjoy foods that are sickly sweet. I played with this recipe several times until I found the exact amount of sweetness that makes it a tasty treat without creating a blood sugar spike followed by an energy crash.
How to Have a Successful Bake for Your Fitness Cookie
This recipe for healthier post-workout fitness cookies is relatively easy, especially as you become accustomed to making them regularly:
- The most challenging part about the bake is defrosting – remembering to set out the dairy butter, frozen cherries, and pecan butter ahead of time so they are at room temperature.
- I typically keep my pumpkin puree in a glass food-storage container in the freezer, so – in my case – I have to remember to defrost that ahead of time, too.
TIP: use the wax paper from your stick of butter to lightly grease your cookie sheet. Typically, all you need is the butter grease left on the paper after you drop the butter into your mixing bowl. (Alternatively, use a nonstick Silpat liner inside your cookie sheet.)
When I’m at – or very near – my target body weight, I’ll make this recipe a couple of times a month and store the cookies in a glass food storage container in the refrigerator. One batch produces 30 small cookies.
Final Fitness Cookie Baking Tips:
- As with any baking recipe, the trick is to remember to set the timer for everything. When you’re heating the zucchini and carrot, use a timer so that you don’t forget about the stove. And, of course, set your timer – each time – immediately upon sliding the cookie sheet into the oven. It’s easy to forget to do this if – while in the kitchen – you’re also listening to music, a podcast, or in the middle of a conversation.
- I’ve found there is a significant difference in the quality of available brands of canned pumpkin. Some have better flavor, color, and texture than others. You might have to experiment until you find the one that works best for you.
- 1 1/2 cups Birch Benders paleo pancake mix (or their Pumpkin Spice paleo flavor)
- 1 1/2 cups Birch Benders gluten-free pancake mix
- 1 package Lakanto chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup pumpkin
- 2/3 cup peeled and grated carrot (heaping)
- 2/3 cup peeled and grated zucchini (heaping)
- 1/2 cup whey protein isolate powder
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1/3 cup peeled and grated apple
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup pecan butter
- 15 pitted frozen cherries (defrosted)
- 2 large eggs (or 3 small eggs)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons water
- 6 drops stevia
- 6 drops monk fruit extract
- 6 dashes cardamom
- 2 dashes cinnamon
- 2 dashes nutmeg
- 2 dashes allspice
- 2 dashes clove
- Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
- Grate the carrot and zucchini and saute over very low heat for 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
- Using your mixer, cream together eggs, butter, pumpkin, pecan butter, spices, and sweetener drops.
- Blend your defrosted cherries in a blender for a few seconds with the water, olive oil, and maple syrup – then add it all to the batter in your mixer.
- Begin to add in whey protein isolate and pancake mixes (flour) gradually.
- Finally, fold in carrot, zucchini, grated apple, and chocolate chips.
- Even if you're using an electric mixer, be sure to finish up by stirring the batter by hand with a spatula to make certain the ingredients are evenly distributed and that there are no dry spots of flour sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- Use an ice cream scoop to deposit dough onto greased (or non-stick) cookie sheet.
- Bake for 13 minutes.
Makes 30 small cookies.
After the ten-minute mark, turn on your oven light and keep an eye on how the baking progresses. Because of differences in ovens, altitude, egg size, pumpkin brand consistency, etc., cooking time will vary slightly each batch.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 30
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160 • Protein: 5g
Meal Prep Day
Saturday is my day for meal prep.
Each Saturday, I make a big batch of green smoothies for the week ahead, as well as this recipe for a higher protein post-workout fitness cookie.
Though this recipe has a longer-than-usual list of ingredients, once you have everything in your pantry you can execute your meal-prep day like a champ. I’ve been making a large batch of these cookies every Saturday for so long now that the process has – over time – become easy and fast.