If you’re trying to eat healthier this year and still enjoy sweets, Wallingford native Lindsay Mongillo might have the answer.
Mongillo’s “Flex Bakery” sells healthier versions of classic cookies, like chocolate chip, snickerdoodle and cranberry white chocolate. She substitutes traditional ingredients like white flour and butter with whey protein powder, buckwheat flour and flax seeds, she said. The result is a gluten-free cookie with around 100 calories, low sugar and fat content, and a 1:1 ratio of protein and carbohydrates.
Each cookie is also made with almond milk, vegetable oil, baking powder, and a blend of brown sugar and stevia as sweeteners.
“They really fill you up,” she said.
Customers order on a website and Mongillo bakes the orders in kitchen space she rents at a cookie shop in Hamden, Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies. The flavors include maple cream, toffee crunch and seasonal flavors like pumpkin and peppermint mocha.
The 2010 Sheehan High School graduate, who now lives in Cheshire, also works full time as a senior administrative assistant at Yale University. Her customer base includes local gyms and supplement stores. Each dozen costs $20.
Mongillo said her year-old business integrates her love for baking and background in business. She holds an associate degree in baking and pastry arts from Johnson & Wales University and bachelor’s degrees in marketing and entrepreneurship from Central Connecticut State University.
Her interest in protein cookies was born from her struggle with body image issues, which led to an unhealthy cycle of extreme dieting and binge eating.
“At my lowest point, I restricted myself to less than 1,000 calories per day, and didn’t allow myself to indulge in simple things like butter with bread at dinner. To me, this was having ‘control,’ and when I couldn’t stand to starve anymore I raided my secret snack stash to binge while the rest of the house slept,” Mongillo said on her website. “This was a cycle that I didn’t break out of until I became truly educated in the importance of fueling my body with the proper balance of protein, carbs and fats. I learned to see food as a gift rather than a curse.”
Mongillo also began training for and competing in powerlifting competitions two and half years ago.
“I transformed my mindset to “scale doesn’t have to dictate your mood every day,’” she said. “Now that I’ve come this far, I’m confident I can use my fitness knowledge in the kitchen to create healthy treats.”