After a few too many weekend food binges and really late nights working on the blog, I decided it was definitely time for a season of healthier eating and taking care of ME. Nothing too crazy except for the fact that Steve and I are really trying to stick to a plant-based diet that includes the occasional cheat of fish or chicken. That’s sounds totally contradictory but hey, we are not professed vegans and most definitely not into radical diets. Just sticking to small tweaks to the routine that will hopefully turn into long term lifestyle changes.
So here were our goals…..
- Eating more vegetables, less refined sugar and less animal products.
- More home cooked meals and less takeout. Believe it or not I LOVE NOT COOKING. Another confession from a food blogger who is constantly in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong here. I do find pleasure in cooking and baking but frankly, we all need a break right?
- Last but not least, portion control. It’s so easy to reach for seconds isn’t it? Now our seconds become lunch or the next nights dinner. Much better idea than walking away stuffed and having to unzip your pants after a meal.
For the most part, we have done really well. We feel like we have more energy and our digestive systems are running like a swiss clock. Being organized is key here and planning your shopping list is super important. It’s really simple – having a fridge full of nutritious food, means that you are more than likely going to eat healthy!
As for this recipe – I keep making these balls! The only difference between these and the others is that I come up with different ingredients to add in so that it doesn’t get boring. I like to switch up my snack lineup with these easy no-bake recipes. They’re perfect for those on the go and are refined sugar free, gluten free and can be made nut-free too!
So, what exactly is a protein ball? Simple. They are portable bite-sized snacks that you roll into balls. Even better? You don’t have to turn on your oven to bake anything. They are super easy to make with basic pantry ingredients. That’s the key to making these so versatile. Just grab what you have, throw it into a food processor, scoop, roll and chill. DONE.
Some basic ingredients and options for a protein ball:
- Old fashioned oats (you can 100% use gluten-free oats)
- A sticky sweetener such as maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup or agave – no need to even add a sweetener if you are using sticky naturally sweetened ingredients such as dates & raisins
- A natural nut butter or seed butter – here’s a few options – almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, sunflower butter or pumpkin seed butter
- A good QUALITY protein powder – I like using this one Plant Fusion
- Other ingredients as desired:
- pure vanilla extract (highly recommended for adding flavor)
- ground cinnamon
- ground ginger
- Pink Himalayan or sea salt
- almond flour or oat flour
- avocado oil or melted coconut oil
- shredded unsweetened coconut – my fave
- organic powders – a really great antioxidant that adds a punch of flavour and colour – I used Pink Pitaya Powder for this recipe
- ground flax or chia seeds ( I happen to be allergic to chia seeds, weird fact but true)
- chopped nuts – walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans etc.
- pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds
- dried fruit – cranberries, raisins, blueberries, cherries, apricots
- cacao nibs, finely chopped semi- sweet or dark chocolate
- Medjool dates – I absolutely love adding this ingredient into the recipe – just make sure they are not dry and you must also remove the pit. To plump the dates, let them soak in boiling water for at least ten minutes.
Can you make these protein balls without a food processor? Yes, but you will not be able to finely grind dates, nuts and dried fruit without a processor. Are these protein balls healthy? They are definitely healthier than a sugary store bought treat. You can enjoy them in moderation on a balanced diet. These are made with wholesome ingredients and packed with fiber and protein but fit the bill perfectly to satisfy any cravings or sweet tooth.
No more chocolate bars, or store-bought ‘healthy’ granola bars that are actually packed full of sugar and weird ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Let’s get this ball rollin’.
- 1 cup (200g) dried apricots, diced
- ¼ cup (34g) golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- ½ cup (125ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 10 medjool dates, pitted - make sure they are plump and not dry
- ¾ cup (75g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (70g) grated carrot
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut + ⅓ cup more for rolling
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon pink pitaya powder
- ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder - optional but good for you!
- Combine the diced apricots, flax seeds and orange juice in a shallow dish. Set aside, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes to soak.
- Transfer apricot mixture to a food processor. Add the balance of ingredients and process until finely chopped and evenly combined. You should have a nice sticky dough that you can scoop and roll into small balls.
- Place the extra ⅓ cup of coconut on a plate and sprinkle some pink pitaya powder onto it. Mix it up so that the powder incorporates into the coconut. Using a one tablespoon cookie scoop or a tablespoon roll the mixture into balls then roll in the coconut mixture. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or you can freeze the balls for up to 1 month.