Isn’t afternoon tea more fun with a biscuit? Of course a cup of Self-Care blend tea is perfectly fine on it’s own but a cookie would be a lovely treat. You’ve noticed a new item, the protein cookie, next to your favorite protein bars. You can’t help but wonder…is a protein cookie really healthy or are they just hype?
Protein cookies seem to be the “next big thing” when it comes to the functional food game. You’re right to question the claims and be a little skeptical. To find the answer, you’ll have to do a little detective work. If you want to know if a protein cookie really healthy here are three things to consider before you put them in your cart. (Please note: None of this content was sponsored and all cookies were purchased and consumed by me.)
Are protein cookies really healthy?
The first thing to remember about protein cookies is that they are NOT lower in calories when compared to regular cookies. For example, let’s compare your basic Oreo to Buff Bake protein cookies.
A serving of six Oreo cookies has 270 calories while a serving of four Buff Bake Protein Sandwich Cookies has 220 calories. That only a difference of 10 calories per cookie. But we know calories don’t tell the whole story.
The real difference is in where those calories come from. The serving of Oreos has 49 grams of carbs and 3 grams of protein while the Buff Bake Protein Sandwich Cookies have only 16 grams of carbs and 12 grams of protein. A big rush of carbs with very little protein to go along with it will cause a blood sugar spike and crash, beginning the dreaded craving cycle. The lower carbs and higher protein in the Buff Bake cookies will eliminate the crash and will likely leave you feeling more satisfied.
Surprised that a serving of Oreos is only six? You’ll want to pay attention to serving size on protein cookies too. The Buff Bake Protein Sandwich Cookies come in a simple one serving package but one of the more popular protein cookies doesn’t.
Lenny & Larry’s have been making very tasty protein cookies for a long time. The problem is the one cookie was TWO servings. Who is going to eat half a cookie? Thankfully, they have solved the problem with smaller versions of their original cookies, making it easier for you to eat a proper portion. But these smaller versions are harder to find. It’s up to you to be aware and double check the serving size before you eat a cookie has enough calories to replace a meal.
There is one more thing you need to check on labels to see if protein cookies are really healthy. Look at the Nutrition Facts for added sugars and the ingredients for artificial sweeteners.
I’ll use Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites as an example. They only have 3 grams of added sugar, which you can now determine via the updated requirement for Nutrition Facts. However, if you read the ingredient list, you’ll see they also contain artificial sweetener sucralose (better known as Splenda).
This is where you have to know your body. If you have a sensitivity to artificial sweeteners you might be better off with something with a few more grams of sugar but from natural sources. If low sugar is more important to you, and you have no issues with non-nutritive sweeteners, the Cake Bites might make sense as an afternoon snack. 20g of protein and low sugar will again keep insulin spikes and crashes at bay.
Is a protein cookie really healthy? That depends on your own needs. Nothing is 100% good or bad. My Middle Ground Manifesto says there is a time and a place for everything. You need to do your research, understand what makes sense in your journey and choose accordingly. Are these protein cookies better than your average cookie? In most cases, yes. Yet like any cookie make it a treat with your afternoon tea and not a habit.