Healthy Eating

How to Make Post-Workout Protein Cookies

That taste so good, you’ll never know they’re healthy!

By: Lexy Parsons

If you spend your entire workout envisioning your delicious (and well deserved) post-workout snack or meal, you’re not alone! After a tough workout, it’s important to refuel with the proper nutrients to maximize the benefits of your hard work and speed recovery.

But are you eating the right foods? And no, we’re not talking about chicken and rice, or a protein shake and banana. While these are great options, we have something much more delicious in mind. Enter: the post-workout protein cookie. You may have seen a rise in store-bought protein cookies and other tasty treats. And while we agree they’re a yummy way to fuel up, most store-bought protein treats are filled with artificial ingredients and processed foods. 

So, skip the store-bought protein cookies and make your own! They’re simple to make, more nutritious, and even more delicious. Keep reading to find out what a protein cookie is, why it serves as a good post-workout snack, and how to make a homemade version (that’s healthier and even more delicious).

What Are Protein Cookies?

A post-workout protein cookie is as simple as it sounds — it’s a healthy, protein-rich cookie! And, these yummy baked goods only require a few simple ingredients: protein powder, healthy carbs (such as oats or banana), and a binder to hold it all together (such as eggs or chia eggs for a vegan option). 

The best part? They can be easily customized for any flavor preference or dietary restriction. Want to keep it dairy-free? Choose a plant-based protein! Craving something more indulgent? Make a chocolate peanut butter blend. The options are endless!

Why a Protein Cookie is a Good Post-Workout Snack

You may not associate the word “cookie” with a healthy post-workout snack, but we’re here to change your mind! A proper post-workout protein cookie contains all of the necessary nutrients to speed recovery and repair your muscles, most notably — carbs and protein. Carbs prevent muscle breakdown and increase protein synthesis, while protein provides your muscles with essential amino acids to assist the repairing and rebuilding phase. And, let’s face it. A cookie is a tasty, portable, and convenient way to repair your muscles with fast fuel once your workout is over! 

But, this doesn’t mean all cookies serve as a good post-workout recovery snack! It’s all about what ingredients you use and how you make your cookies. So, we’re breaking down all you need to know.

Ingredients to Avoid 

Processed Ingredients 

Read your labels! If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it’s likely your body won’t know what it is either. Avoid ingredients like fractionated palm kernel oil, canola oil, and any dyes or additives.

Artificial Sugars

Did you know there are over 50 different names for sugar!? Watch out for sneaky artificial sugars, which can harm digestion and even cause weight gain. Some common culprits to avoid? Sugar alcohols, high fructose corn syrup, and maltodextrin.

High Sugar Content

Speaking of sugar, being mindful of how much sugar is in your post-workout protein cookie is just as important as the type of sugar. While a little sugar post-workout can help provide your muscles with the fuel it needs, too much can negatively impact the gains you worked so hard for. Always opt for natural sugar sources, such as bananas or honey, when possible! 

If you’re reaching for a store-bought protein bar or cookie with more than 15 grams of sugar, you’re really just eating a protein-packed candy bar or dessert!

Ingredients to Add

Protein Powder

Protein promotes satiety, helps to repair and rebuild muscles, and speeds the recovery time post-workout! Choose your favorite protein powder based on your dietary needs and eating preferences! Pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, collagen, and whey protein powders tend to work well.

Banana 

Skip the artificial sweeteners and opt for a natural sugar straight from nature. Bananas are a clean carb source that helps to replenish muscle glycogen post-workout, thanks to their energy-rich nutrient profile.

Oats 

Another clean carb source that provides essential energy to your muscles to maximize recovery and repair. Plus, oats are rich in fiber and will keep you feeling fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to make hangry post-workout meal decisions! 

Eggs (or a chia or flax egg alternative)

Regardless of whether you’re going plant-based or not, eggs (and their vegan alternative) are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, speed recovery, and even increase protein synthesis.

How to Make a Homemade Protein Cookie + 4 Mouthwatering Recipes

Now for the best part, the cookie recipes! Here are three post-workout protein cookie recipes to try. 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Protein Cookies

Love banana bread as much as you love chocolate chip cookies? Why not fuse them together with a protein-rich boost! These protein cookies are easy to make, full of flavor, and totally guilt-free. 

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder of choice
  • 1 cup quick or old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp almond butter, unsweetened and unsalted
  • 1-3 tbsp cacao nibs or chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract 

Instructions:

Step #1: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step #2: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor, mixing until a smooth texture is achieved.

Step #3: Spoon dollop-sized balls of cookie batter onto the lined baking tray, evenly spreading to ensure the cookies don’t run together.

Step #4: Bake for 12-15 minutes, and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

Who doesn’t love a Peanut Butter cookie? Try this JS Health Peanut Butter Protein Cookie recipe after your next workout. High in fiber and protein, this yummy treat is sure to keep you feeling fuller for longer while speeding your post-workout recovery! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops of vanilla or chocolate protein powder of choice
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly (or vegan alternative)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Directions:

Step #1: Preheat the oven to 320°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step #2: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor, mixing until a smooth texture is achieved. 

Step #3: Spoon dollop-sized balls of cookie batter onto the lined baking tray, and flatten slightly using a fork. Repeat this process with the remaining cookie batter. Add an extra teaspoon of nut butter or a small chunk of dark chocolate to the top of each cookie. 

Step #4: Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden around the edges and cooked through.

Step #5: Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Double Chocolate Protein Cookies

Chocolate overload? No such thing. Get your sweet tooth fix with this double chocolate protein cookie. Rich in protein and clean carbs, this treat is the ultimate way to refuel. 

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder of choice
  • 1 cup quick or old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • ¼ – ½ cup cacao powder, unsweetened
  • ¼  -½  cup chocolate chips
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract 

Instructions:

Step #1: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step #2: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor, mixing until a smooth texture is achieved.

Step #3: Spoon dollop-sized balls of cookie batter onto the lined baking tray, evenly spreading to ensure the cookies don’t run together.

Step #4: Bake for 12-15 minutes, and enjoy!

Vanilla Cinnamon Protein Cookies

Craving a soft cinnamon cookie? Satisfy your sweet tooth with this protein-rich recipe that’s full of fiber and satiating nutrients to keep you fueled and energized! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder of choice
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly (or vegan alternative)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½  tbsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Directions:

Step #1: Preheat the oven to 320°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step #2: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor, mixing until a smooth texture is achieved. 

Step #3: Spoon dollop-sized balls of cookie batter onto the lined baking tray, and flatten slightly using a fork. Repeat this process with the remaining cookie batter. Add an extra teaspoon of nut butter or a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top of each cookie. 

Step #4: Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden around the edges and cooked through.

Step #5: Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Treat Yourself, Without the Guilt 

With these yummy protein cookie recipes, treat yourself to a post-workout cookie — no guilt attached. These healthy, filling, and sweet-tooth-approved cookies will help you refuel after a tough workout, supplying your body with the proper nutrients it needs. Who knew post-workout recovery could taste so good!  

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