If you read my Instagram post yesterday, you’ll already know I’ve been going through it lately. I’d be lying if I said getting vulnerable like that is easy, but the major feedback I received from so many other people who expressed they were feeling the exact same way made it totally worth it. If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught me, it’s that there really is something seriously powerful about connecting over a joint human experience.
I think sometimes we tend to confuse and infuse the ideas of “being positive” with “putting on a brave face”…or maybe that’s just me (le sigh). While I think it’s extremely important for us to continuously acknowledge our fortunate circumstances—whatever those are for you—amidst this crazy time, it shouldn’t come at the cost of bottling up or repressing the not-so-great feelings that creep in. We’re allowed to feel both grateful we have a job and super bummed we can’t go to the gym. And while yes, even reading those things in the same sentence certainly emphasizes that they are not equal in weight on life’s grand scale, it doesn’t mean one thought is less valid than the other. Does that make sense?
So when people have asked me how I’m doing and I’ve replied, “I’m fine,” I’m starting to realize—through some tough conversations with myself—what I’m actually saying is “I don’t have a right to complain.” Which on one hand is true, but also, not, right? You would never tell your best friend or partner that their feelings are “wrong” or “invalid,” so why are we so quick to do it to ourselves?
So how does this relate to lemon vanilla protein “cookie dough” bites?
It doesn’t actually. Except that making wholesome, yummy foods that nourish my body is something that I know actively supports my mental and physical health, so I want to lean into that. Some days I’ll whistle while I work, and others, I might cry into my banana bread. But hey, such is real life, especially right now.
There are a ton of “protein bite” recipes out there, and it’s easy to see why. They’re often made with only five staple ingredients (or less!), hover around 100 calories per ball, and require zero “actual” cooking. While many incorporate nut butters and chocolate chips, I like to keep mine a little on the lighter side (case in point, one of these bites has only ~75 calories and 1 gram of fat). Personally, if I’m going to have peanut butter or chocolate, I’d prefer to really indulge in it, ya feel me? And while these are delicious, with a texture that literally makes you feel like you’re eating a ball of cookie dough, I’m not going to falsely advertise a five-minute, no-bake protein bite snack as the dessert of your dreams—that most certainly would include peanut butter and chocolate.
What I do love so much about these is that they’re the perfect serving to just hold you over. For example, say I’ve completely lost track of time, the dog needs to go out, and I’m starving?! One of these little dudes will power me through my walk until I can get home and make something more substantial. Or say dinner is going to be later than expected and I need something before Hangry Henrietta pops off on Matt because he didn’t take the ground turkey out in time to thaw (not like that’s a common occurrence or anything…). Protein bite to the (marriage) rescue! And don’t even get me started on how perfect they are for tackling those pesky, post-dinner sweet cravings. A couple “bites,” quite literally, and you’ve abated that monster with absolutely zero guilt.
Recipe is below, chickies. As always, if you give these a try and (hopefully!) find them as delightful as I do, please be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me or use the hashtag #mealpreppinginheels. Thanks for stopping by!
Lemon Vanilla Protein “Cookie Dough” Bites
Notes: Depending on how large or small you roll your “dough” balls, this yields anywhere from 8 to 10 bites. A serving is 1 to 3 bites. As is (i.e., no “topping”), one bite has around 75 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 8 grams of sugar, so however many you want to eat at one time based on your needs is up to you! These can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
- 1/2 cup of vanilla protein powder (about 2.5 scoops)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup honey
- zest and juice from 1 lemon (about 2–3 tbsps)
Step 1: In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until well combined. You should generate a fairly dense, sticky dough that will hold its shape when molded. I started with 1/4 cup of almond milk and then added in a bit more as needed until I reached the desired consistency.
Step 2. Once the dough is ready, pinch off spoonful-sized portions and roll into little balls.
Step 3: If you want to add any additional topping, say by rolling the bites around in some shredded coconut, crumbled almonds, or crushed up granola, go ahead and do that now.
Step 4: Once the bites are formed and topped as desired, place them on a plate or tray covered with with parchment paper and let stand in the fridge for at least 2 hours. After 2 hours they can be eaten or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.