A healthy cooking lesson helps to motivate Sam

Recently Sam, one of our ROP youth, mentioned to me that he really wanted to start going back to the gym, but he was struggling with motivation and mental preparation. He also said that he wanted to change his diet in order to improve his workouts. We discussed healthier food options and protein intake for before and after the gym. I proposed that we do some cooking that would involve healthy high protein foods. He was excited to create a positive change so we scheduled an appointment to do a cooking exercise.

The appointment came and went. Sam struggled to get out of bed. I tried to wake him up, but efforts proved futile.

Later during the day he approached me and apologized for missing his appointment. He told me he wasn’t doing well and was having difficulty getting out of bed. We re-scheduled his appointment and this time he assured me he would be there. He asked that I wake him up on the morning of our appointment day and that I was not to leave his room until he was standing on his own two feet.

The day of the second appointment came around, and once again he did not get up. I stayed in his room until he was on his feet, but the moment I left, he would jump right back into bed.

At 1:00pm I went back to his room and made it clear that this was his last chance to have me help him with this healthy cooking exercise. Twenty minutes later, a staff member called me and said that Sam was looking for me. I was very surprised, but at the same time, exhilarated and thrilled!

We met in the kitchen and made peanut butter and protein powder energy bars. We had to leave them to set in the freezer overnight, but the following day he came to my office and was so excited to tell me how delicious they were. Now, Sam and I are working on establishing a physical activity routine and he is scheduled to attend yoga with me next Wednesday.

I am so proud of Sam and I am looking forward to continuing to help him with his healthy living goals.

Protein Powder Peanut Butter Balls


2 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 scoops protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
2 ripe bananas mashed
2 tbsp flax seed (I used ground flaxseed)


In a large bowl, mix to together peanut butter, protein powder, bananas, and flax seed. Mold the mixture into walnut-sized balls (melon scoop works well) and place them in a container lined with parchment to separate the layers. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving, best if frozen overnight.

The recipe that was used was from Spark People.

protein peanut butter balls