Recipe Day 1: Chewy Oatmeal Cookies and why you can eat cake

So, recipes. First, I have to confess a pet peeve of mine. Lately when I look up a recipe on a blog, I first have to scroll through 8 paragraphs of text and then 75 pictures showing in precious detail how to break an eggshell or boil water, or other steps that any non-amateur chef should really know how to do. And this just feels like recipe porn. AND I WON’T STAND FOR IT.

I chose this recipe today because I was up *all* night with The Littlest Beet and my plans for demonstrating a whole wheat loaf of bread went out the window at around 3am. These very happily take about 5 minutes to whip together, ten minutes to bake, and I always have the ingredients on hand. I can also shove them in the pocket of my running shorts. And my children eat them. Wins all around.

So, without any further delay, here is a recipe that I will talk about AFTER I give you the good stuff.

Runner’s Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

image2 (5)


2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch salt

Roughly 2 cups Whole Oats

About 1/2 cup of dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, or dates


For more protein, add protein powder and/or nuts

For a sweet treat, add dark chocolate chips (preferably 80% plus cacao to maximize antioxidant benefits) or cocoa powder. OR BOTH.

  1. Combine all ingredients but the oats. Add in the oats 1/2 cup at a time until you have a sticky dough (pictured below). Bananas are not a universal measure, so you will sometimes have more, sometimes less oats. Let stand 5 minutes to let the moisture soak into the oats a little bit, which will keep them sticky.
  2. Spoon out cookies (will make 9-12) onto a baking sheet. Use parchment or silicon to prevent sticking.
  3. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until tops of cookies are slightly crunchy.
image1 (7)

Nutrition Discussion

These are a personal staple for pre-runs. I will go over this in a later post, but having a small snack before a workout boosts performance. A better workout not only makes that 30-90 mins of your day more enjoyable, it makes the time better spent. Here is a recent and oft-cited research study about this: Effects of timing of pre-exercise ingestion of carbohydrate on subsequent metabolism and cycling performance.

Back to the cookies. Not only are they easy to make and easy to carry, they have lots of carbohydrates, including simpler sugars in the fruit to give you immediate energy and then whole grains combined with healthy fats to provide for more long term energy needs. The fruit and whole grains also means you are getting lots of good micronutrients and fiber.

Nutrition Tip

I hear a lot of runners, SUCH AS SOMETIMES MYSELF, say things like, “It’s ok for me to eat this cake, I am going for a six mile run later.” I would like to do my part to banish this mindset. beetlibrariancheerleaderexpecto(1) The first thing to understand is that the cake does not *help* you run (or at least not very much). Your runs, from easy 3 milers to race pace half marathons and everything in between and beyond, is about performance. Empty calories do not help you on that run, so peel apart the cake from the running. Go ahead. Seeepppaaarratttte. Have you done that? Ok. Cake and running have not one thing to do with each other. If you are going to go for a run (or bike, yoga, hike, dance…), feel free to choose a snack with lot of whole grains, some fat, some protein, and lots of micronutrients. Choose what will help you succeed at your workout.(More on all of that in future posts, but if you want a good kickstart, check out Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight.)

(2) You are allowed to eat cake! Yes. I said it. Cake is ok. You can have it. Go, have a bite. Delicious. Good. Eating is not an action for which you should be punished, and running is not the punishment through which to exorcise your guilt for eating something you have every right to eat.

beetbruncakeIn my experience, cake is a problem when you lock yourself in the bathroom and polish off a bundt while sobbing and looking at pictures of cats or ex boyfriends. (I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS.) Or, it is a problem when you eat a cake every day for breakfast in place of something that actually supports your body by giving it the micro and macro nutrients that you need.

image4 (1)There. Ok. So go have cake, but leave the guilt and shame at home. And add in a delicious Runner Cookie to get to through your next run. The Littlest Beet recommends it. I don’t know from where she got the measuring spoon. Toddlers are magical.

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