We're in full swing with the holiday craziness. This makes it so easy to let go the littlest bit and end up putting on that extra holiday weight. Regardless of how health- and diet-concsious we are, it is almost inevitable. (And if you can prove me wrong, I salute you!) I unfortunately do not possess the self-control to bypass all the sweets but my hope is that this year, by snacking more conciously I can make it a little less painful come January 1st when we all re-examine our yearly gym resolution.
And so, I bring you "cookie dough" bites. While these taste like and have the texture of chocolate chip cookie dough, there is no butter or raw egg. In fact, these are actually pretty good for you! Between chia seeds, flax, almond butter, and raw honey this recipe boasts tons of health benefits! Not to mention, after a long day of Saturday parent-teacher conferences when I find myself craving something sweet, I don't have to feel so guilty about eating one of these! These CAN also be gluten free as long as you make sure to use gluten free rolled oats.
The chia seeds in these tasty little guys are shown to support a healthy complexion as well as provide energy. They are also a fabulous source of those Omega-3 fatty acids I keep talking about. Omega-3 fatty acids are the good fats for your body; they can help to decrease inflamation in your body, they aid in brain development, and diets high in these fats have shown to help lower your chances of alzheimer's among other neurological disorders.
The ground flax in this recipe is high in fiber (hello, bowel regularity!), can help to protect against cancer, can help to lower cholesterol, AND there is strong evidence to suggest it can help to lower or maintain blood sugar levels. I call for ground flax in this recipe because it is thought that when they are in their whole seed form, these little seeds can pass straight through your system (no health benefits at all there!).
The honey in this recipe is raw honey, meaning honey in it's unpasteurized form. It boasts many more benefits than much of the honey you might find on the shelves at your local grocer. The pasteurization process involves heating the honey which removes or destroys many of the beneficial bacteria and antioxidants found in it's raw form. Look for raw honey at your local farmers market or health food store (Whole Foods may carry it as well).
Having grown up a peanut butter fiend, I had a hard time making the switch over to almond butter. While it is much more "allergy friendly", almond butter has one more leg up on peanut butter. It is higher in Vitamin E, dietary fiber, magnesium, and iron. You absolutely can use peanut butter in this recipe but it is often much more sugary, and you're definitely not getting all that "bang for your nutritional buck"! Please note that the nutrition information following this recipe is based on the use of almond butter with no sugar/sweeteners added.
Cookie Dough Bites
Recipe yields 18 cookie dough bites.
1 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup raw honey
1/2 cup almond butter
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well (I use my hands to mix!)
2. When all the ingredients are well incorporated, roll into balls roughly 1 inch in diameter
3. Pop them in the fridge in an air tight container to set, this is where they can be stored for up to 2 weeks
Nutritional Facts Per 1 Cookie Dough Bite: Calories: 156; Total Fat: 9.5 grams; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 20 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 16 grams; Protein: 3 grams