Confession: I'm on a diet. I know, I know...diets are awful. My crabby attitude and moody tendencies lately would have to agree (I need carbs, people!). I hate dieting. But I really needed something to kick my butt into gear after indulging in too many not-so-healthy things all summer long. I blame Germany. And cruising. But that's neither here nor there. Point is, about 4 weeks ago I decided to revamp my entire daily diet and really amp up my workouts to prepare for our next cruise in October. Lean up and slim down before more indulgence? You read my mind. Not only that, but as a nutritionist, I know what I SHOULD be eating. Problem is, I love food too much. I don't call myself a Foodie for nothing. So, I decided to buy into a diet & fitness program to kick start my new health journey and get me back into the groove of healthy living again. I figure, if I pay for something (that's not cheap, mind you), I'm more apt to use it and stick to it. Money does drive most human wants and needs, after all.
So far, I'm LOVING how I feel. I'm seeing small changes in how I look, but I can really FEEL it. I know big changes are brewing and my outsides are gonna catch up with my insides soon enough, I've just gotta be patient. I wholeheartedly want this "diet" to become daily routine, so I haven't been following it 'to a tee', as they say. I've adapted it to fit my lifestyle, body type, and my health goals, keeping in mind that most diet programs are NOT maintainable for the long haul. Precisely why I knew it was going to be virtually impossible to cut out all desserts. I am my mother's daughter after all. After looking through my diet plan and trying to come up with a treat that incorporated some semblance to an actual dessert (not just fruit), I decided to consult the almighty Pinterest. I found lots of strange hemp seed desserts and vegan chocolate puddings made with what I can only imagine tastes like dirt (because it sure as heck wasn't chocolate), but then I stumbled across a 2-ingredient cookie recipe. Just oats and bananas all squished up together and baked in the oven for 12 minutes. I thought, hmmm. I like bananas. I like oats. But I need CHOCOLATE. Thus the Chocolate Coconut 5 Ingredient Cookie was born. It's like a tropical party in your mouth, people.
Why 5 ingredients? Well, if you like just bananas and oats, just stick with that. I added in a drop of pure vanilla extract just for sh*ts and gigs, and I liked it...so it stayed. Chocolate chips were always on my mind, so I dumped a couple of tablespoons of those bad boys in, too (you can use semi-sweet or dark, next time I'm going dark for an even healthier version!). After staring at the banana, oat, vanilla, chocolate mixture for 2 minutes, I remembered I had some leftover unsweetened coconut flakes hanging out in the freezer from my granola making experiment (side note: delish, I'll have to share that recipe another day), so I invited them to the party as well. Ta-da! 5 ingredients and 15 minutes later, I had myself the most delicious healthy cookies I've ever tasted. Wanna know what else? You can eat 4 COOKIES for only 180 CALORIES!! How many Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies can you eat for only 180 calories? One stinkin' cookie, that's how many. Not worth it. But 4 butter-free, flour-free, oil-free, egg-free cookies so totally are!
Now, you don't have to go with the combo of chocolate chips and coconut like I did. There are plenty of other add-ins you can substitute to make these 5-ingredient cookies reflect whatever flavors you're feeling that day.
Even more healthy add-in ideas?
-fresh peaches (full of Vitamins C & A)-
-pumpkin puree (perfect for fall & filled with fiber)-
-chia seeds (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids)-
-cacoa nibs (if you're brave enough to replace sweetened chocolate)-
-almonds (high in Vitamin E & lower 'bad' cholesterol)-
-goji berries (filled with antioxidants & Vitamin A)-
-unsweetened organic applesauce (lots of fiber and low in calories)-
-pistachios (lowest fat nut per ounce)-
-fresh strawberries (good source of Vitamin C & antioxidants)-
-raisins or dates (rich in iron & aid in digestion)-
Just FYI, you won't be seeing the 'before' diet pictures I took so awkwardly in my bedroom early one morning pre-makeup and hair styling. The internet doesn't need anything else to make fun of. But I am thinking about sharing more of my healthy living journey and nutrition knowledge on the blog as soon as I start seeing more defined results. Something you guys would be interested in? I hope so! Until then, give these cookies a go. They're just what you need to satisfy that dessert craving without sacrificing all your hard work. Coming from a girl who could eat spoonfuls of Nutella straight out of the jar, that's saying a lot. Would I steer you wrong? Never.
Chocolate Coconut 5 Ingredient Cookies
Yields: 16 cookies
2 ripe bananas, peeled
2 Tbsp. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash bananas and oats together with a fork in a medium sized bowl. Add in vanilla, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes (or whatever 2 add-ins you prefer) and mix together. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray (don't skip this or they'll stick!). Drop tablespoon sized dollops of the cookie mixture onto the baking sheet. No need to space them too far apart, they don't spread much during baking. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week (if they last that long!).
Serving size: 4 small cookies (although 2 is usually all I need)
Nutritional breakdown: 180 calories, 4.5g fat, 2g sat fat, 33g carbs, 12g sugars, 4g protein, 4g fiber, 240mg potassium, 8mg sodium (Keep in mind, nutrition values will change with substitution of various add-ins)
Enjoy with a tall glass of skim milk or almond milk for a healthy afternoon snack or after dinner treat!
(All nutritional info calculated via MyFitnessPal. Wanna follow along in my health & fitness journey? Find me on MyFitnessPal at username caseycote. I could use all the encouragement and accountability I can get!)