Date & Dark Chocolate Banana Oat Muffins

Nothing like a snowy grey Sunday to make me want to bake some healthy muffins as a great grab & go snack for the week!

Note: If you're looking for a light airy fluffy muffin - this is not it. These will come out super rich but heavy with the bananas, dates, and peanut butter. However they'll also keep you fuelled up sans sugar crash compared to a normal coffee shop muffin.

Makes: 24 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups + 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 2/3 cup pitted dates, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes to soften (discard water once soft)
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or your favourite nut butter)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups milk - I used unsweetened almond but any milk variety will do
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

The How-To:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and either line muffin pan with muffin papers or spray pan with coconut baking spray.
  2. In a food processor blend 3 cups of the oats, along with the flax seed, baking powder, and cinnamon until oats become flour consistency (a little chunky is okay!).
  3. Remove dates from water, and add dates, bananas, nut butter, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Blend until well mixed, and dates are thoroughly chopped.
  4. Pulse in or mix in by hand the additional 1 cup oats, chocolate chunks, and shredded coconut.
  5. Scoop by heaping ice cream scoops into muffin pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

 

Recipe credit: Inspired by runonveg.com "Peanut Butter Banana Bread"

Burpees for Chocolate?

So, how many burpees DO you have to do to work off a chocolate bunny's ears? How about a bag of mini eggs?

The answer, is ZERO.

Here's why.

 

Exercise is not a punishment for something "bad" you did. Exercise is something you do for your body, because you actually like your body. Hopefully, because you love your body. You care enough about it to engage in activities that get your heart rate up for heart health, that challenge your muscles for strength, that engage your mind for improved cognitive function. Or get those endorphins going as you crush goals. Or to participate in a supportive community. Any of those reasons. But not for punishment.


Exercise is not to be interchangeable with sitting on a chair in the corner in time out, or being grounded, or getting your credit card cut up. It is not a punishment, it is a privilege, and a chance to better yourself from the inside out.

You work out because you know that even though it kinda sucks during the breathless sweaty part, you know it makes you feel oh-so-good afterwards. You know that by working out, you make better food choices to fuel those workouts, because you want to perform better. You work out because you want BALANCE - balance between eating for health and fuel, and eating for pleasure and socialization - and not feeling guilty or deprived when switching back and forth from one to the other. Of course, there is a limit to how much chocolate you can eat before yes, the negative effects take place. But a little chocolate is not going to kill you. Everything in moderation.

Changing your mindset will change your outcome. Replace guilt and punishment with compassion and self-love, and the impact will be greater than any diet or workout regime you've tried.


Final thoughts: This isn't jail. Working out is not punishment. So enjoy that chocolate, and then work out because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to.

Chocolate Cherry Protein Cookies

I was convinced there had to be a way to make a healthier cookie that wasn't bone dry and could satisfy both an after-dinner sweet tooth plus chocolate craving all in one. Mission accomplished! With this list of clean ingredients and the protein content, you could even use these as a pre or post workout snack.

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Chocolate Cherry Protein Cookies

Makes 10 cookies: 5 servings

Per serving (2 cookies): Protein 14 g || Carbs 30 g || Fat 6 g || Calories 216

2 bananas, mashed
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 cup oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp cocoa
1/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries, or other chopped unsweetened dried fruit
2 TB chopped pecans
1 TB chunky almond butter

Preheat oven to 325, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl, all wet ingredients in another then combine until mixed. Drop by large spoonfuls onto lined cookie sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes - time will vary based on your oven and how large/small you made your cookies. Note: because of the banana they will be a little sticky even once thoroughly cooked, so be sure to not overcook them! I kept parchment paper between the layers for storing as well to avoid cookies sticking together.

Happy hump day!