Protein-Rich Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

Protein-Rich Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

I love eggs for breakfast. With just the right amount of protein and fat, they are satisfying and delicious until… the burnout. Have you ever grown tired of eggs? What about your family? Maybe you make a not-so-great batch of eggs one morning and your 4-year-old then declares that she no longer likes eggs. Sigh. Only later in the week to request that I make eggs like Denny’s does. Haha. Denny’s eggs coming right up! Okay, so maybe that only happens to me…

Anyhow, burnout happens. I hear from the tribe that you need more ideas. Great news! I’ve got the perfect alternative. These protein-rich pumpkin cookies have 8g of protein, 4g of fiber and only 2g of added sugar. They are made from real food ingredients and do not contain gluten, artificial sweeteners or protein powder. You can’t beat that. See complete NUTRITION FACTS here.

  • Great for little kids. Just one cookie will meet nearly the entire day’s worth of protein needs for your little one (based on myplate servings). It is also extremely rich in iron, an important nutrient for this age group.  Not to mention you’re squeezing in a tiny serving of vegetables without them noticing. Blending the pumpkin seeds and the oats really helps make these a kid-friendly texture.
  • Great for big kids. This can be an on-the-go breakfast or after school snack. Would also be great for replenishing after a sports game or practice.
  • Great for adults. Use it as an afternoon pick-me up, a breakfast paired with fruit, or a post-workout snack when you have a really strenuous session.

They are light, fluffy and will resemble more of a muffin top than a cookie. I’ve been enjoying them with my morning coffee and they hold me over very well.  How will you enjoy them? As a breakfast or a snack? Both?

Protein-Rich Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies pack in protein, iron, vitamin A and fiber – all from real, natural foods! Enjoy for breakfast or snack.

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (natural)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (processed into a powder)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (to make throw old fashioned oats into the food processor)
  • 1/4 cup Raisins
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  1. In a small bowl, beat the pumpkin and almond butter using a hand-held mixer until smooth. Add eggs and mix well. Mix in the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, and chia seeds. Add baking soda, oat flour and pumpkin seed powder mix until combine. Fold in raisins.
  2. Scoop onto lined cookie sheet making 12 large cookies.
  3. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

You can leave pumpkin seeds whole or blend them in a blender or food processor to form a flour.
To make oat flour: blend old fashioned oats in a blender or food processor until a flour consistency is reached.

This recipe was modified from a recipe by The Lean Green Bean.

3 steps to flip upside down eating

3 steps to flip upside down eating

Monday, March 20, 2017

It’s Monday morning, you’ve decided this is the week, “I’m going to be healthy and lose weight!”

You start with a fruit and vegetable smoothie, a handful of 7 almonds for a mid-morning, a tossed salad with grilled chicken and light dressing at lunch, and a piece of fruit in the afternoon.

Then you arrive home, it’s 5:30 PM, what’s your first stop? Straight to the pantry… because you’re starving!! 

  • Handful of pretzels, check
  • A bag of snack size Doritos (bought for the kid’s lunches), check
  • Leftover cookie from the weekend, check

Now it’s time to cook dinner. Still trying to eat right, you prepare broiled salmon with asparagus and brown rice. Feeling hungry and unsatisfied at the end of the night you find yourself back in the pantry for couple more handfuls of this and that and you’re finally done. 

You ask yourself, “What happened?? Today was supposed to be different!” This is what I call upside down eating as shown in the inverted pyramid.

When we start the day trying so hard to be good we typically deny our body calories.

What is a calorie? More specifically, what does a calorie give you?


When we deny our bodies the energy they require to do life we end up getting hungry signals from our body to make up for the calorie deficit at the end of the day. 

Flip your pyramid upside down

  1. Eat more energy in the morning. Yes, that means breakfast. Some find benefit by eating breakfast like a king but for people that are not hungry I recommend breakfast 1 and breakfast 2 – these include light options such as yogurt, a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, whole-grain crackers with peanut butter, or oatmeal.
  2. Eat when you’re hungry. The first step, identify what hunger feels like in your body. If you just ate, it might just be thirst. I recommend having 16 oz of water and reevaluating after 15 minutes. For the mid-afternoon crash, have high protein non-trigger foods such as unsalted nuts, cheese stick, or low-sodium deli meat. Drinking coffee or tea to postpone eating will likely lead to overeating later.
  3. Become more mindful. If you’re standing at the desk, answering emails, taking phone calls, or rushing to a meeting you are likely not in tune with the calories you are consuming. Can you take 30-60 seconds to pause before inhaling the food to thank your body and the creator for providing this nourishment? 

Food for thought: 

As a non-breakfast eater for 3 years I know this can be a challenging concept. For me, it was all about starting small – that’s where breakfast 1 and 2 helped! 

When are you eating the most energy (calories)?

When do you need more energy?

Tell us in the comments below what you’ll do to flip your pyramid this week!

Chi-chi-chia! Are chia seeds a fad or a true health food?

Chi-chi-chia! Are chia seeds a fad or a true health food?

How in the world did we go from using chia seeds to grow green “fur” on Chia Pets to eating the seeds as a health food? Is this hype or are chia seeds really a health food?

In history, Mayan and Aztec cultures consumed chia seeds for their supernatural powers. I don’t know about supernatural powers, but I can speak for their nutritional power. They are small and mighty! Just one tablespoon of chia seeds pack in 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat (much of which is Omega-3)… all for only 80 calories.  WOW!

Why are fiber, protein, and omega 3 fat good for us?

The right kind of fiber – found in foods like Chia Seeds, supports our body’s waste removal systems. Dietary fiber can increase the size and weight of our poop! It can even soften stool. Chia Seeds are a healthy and natural fiber that can help you have healthy bowl movements regularly.

Protein is an essential part of a balanced diet because it provides the body with the building block, or amino acids, that are necessary for muscle and bone health and development. Having a tablespoon of Chia Seeds is a great way to get a dose of protein in a salad or a sandwich that may be lacking in protein. The average American should eat between 25 and 45 grams of protein at each meal- depending on activity level.

Lastly, Omega – 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for heart health! We need to protect our cardiovascular system and Chia Seeds provide a great source for Omega 3s that don’t taste like fish. Anyone else over the fish oil burps? Get the Omega 3s you need and check the fish oil at the door. Omega 3s reduce blood pressure and triglycerides that can cause heart disease or strokes. I’ll take the tablespoon of chia seeds with that please!

Let’s shine the light a little brighter on these nutrition qualities:

  • Chia contains both soluble and insoluble fiber- making them a great aid for maintaining a healthy cholesterol level and digestive tract.
  • Chia seeds contain 3 grams of complete protein – meaning they contain all the essential amino acids. Three grams of protein may seem like a small amount but pair it with the 4g of protein in a tablespoon of almond butter or 1/2 cup of milk and you now have more protein than a large egg.
  • Chia seeds have an impressive amount of calcium as well!

Wait, there’s more! The dry seeds deliver more antioxidants than blueberries.

First of all, what are antioxidants? We hear antioxidants a lot in today’s diet news but what do they really do?

Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation – which is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals in the body. Free radicals have been associated with Cancer because they cause damage to cells in our body over time. Antioxidants like those found in Chia Seeds can work to reduce free radical reactions allowing our body to live in proper homeostasis.

When it comes to Chia Seeds, the ORAC value (antioxidant level) almost doubles when the seeds are soaked overnight. How? Because when you soak them, it initiates the early stages of sprouting, and that creates more bioavailable nutrients. (So cool!) Ideally, you would soak your seeds in water or a plant-based milk.

You’ll notice white and black chia seeds are available. White seeds have fewer antioxidants than black seeds but still contain more than most foods. Some people prefer white seeds because they aren’t as noticeable in baked goods and smoothies. Given that some variety of Chia Seeds are black, it is easy to spot them in yogurt, or on a salad, but in a smoothie or baked good they tend to blend in with other seeds or the color of the baked good making them less obvious and adding great nutritional value to your snacks.

Chia seeds have a very mild nutty flavor that won’t be noticed in smoothies or baked goods too, making it easier for some to eat. They can be crunchy if they are dry, so baking or soaking allows the seeds to become soft. These components add to the ease of enjoyment when adding them into your daily meals. That mild flavor goes well in smoothies, yogurt, cereal and even makes a great pudding-like treat.

So it turns out these trendy seeds are truly a health food! They are versatile, user-friendly, exceptional and a unique low-calorie source of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, complete protein, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

How do you enjoy chia seeds?

Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Hey, everyone! I hope your week went well! I recently read in Parents magazine that 31 % of women say prep time remains the number one challenge to cooking weekday dinner. Are you among those women? I know I am! The next greatest hurdle is clean up. Weeknights can be so challenging! So, what can we do? Throw in the towel? Nope. Today I share some resources to help us get over these hurdles.

Favorite blog for meal prep ideas: Sweet Peas and Saffron

I am really digging how each month, she picks a type of meal prep recipe and shares seven different varieties with you. Like this one below, marinated chicken 7 ways.

7 Chicken Marinade Recipes You Can Freeze. Get a head start on dinner prep by getting your chicken into a marinade! Seven flavors so you'll never get bored.

Favorite way to save on clean up time: Sheet Pan Dinners like these shared by Cooking Light.


Sheet Pan Honey Soy Salmon Dinner

That’s it! Short and sweet this week.

What do you do to save time on food prep and clean up! Share your secrets in the comment below.

Create your own yummy healthy treasure box

Create your own yummy healthy treasure box

I love TED talks! Have you discovered these amazing short videos that will inspire, educate, and entertain you for minutes (or hours if you go on a video binge!)? I just got done watching “How to get stuff done when you are depressed” by Jessica Gimeno, which has nothing to do with today’s topic EXCEPT that she has a very good point… We must be proactive, not reactive, in order to be our happiest and healthiest selves.

We know making healthy food choices is a heck of a lot easier when you have the right foods available. This was best demonstrated to me by Dyana, in Chapel Hill, who excitedly showed me her treasure box of snacks last summer. Many people have a drawer, locker, or secret stash of snacks at the office, but what I discovered at Dyana’s desk was unlike any treasure box I have ever seen. 

Treasure boxDyana keeps a collection of usual suspects, such as peanut butter to curb a sweet tooth moment and hot sauce for flavoring her meals at work. However, what Dyana keeps for her afternoon snacks includes smoked oysters, sardines in olive oil, and barbecued octopus! These may not sound like delicious options to you, but I offer the thought that these protein rich shelf-stable choices help keep her appetite under control, provide energy, and reduce the 4 PM sugar crash. Also, they are not the typical granola bar, fun sized candy, or other simple carbs that offer minimal nutritional value and typically leave us hungry within an hour.

Here are a few other Well-Balanced (and more widely preferred) ideas to create you own yummy healthy treasure box:

  • Single serving tuna pack
  • Trail mix (almonds + Craisins = my favorite) 
  • Bean dip, yes, it’s salty but offers some protein and fiber to fill the void
  • Fruit cups, in its own juice
  • Beef jerky
  • Sunflower seeds

Food for thought:

There are SO many options for the mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. Before you reach for the same old crackers or bar, first decide “Am I really hungry?” Then, see if there’s a more balanced option in your treasure box!