Still reaching for protein bars in between workouts? – there’s nothing wrong with that if you need a blast of energy, but generally we’re not fans of the pre-packaged ones as they’re often loaded with sugar, which causes glycation.
Instead of bars, wellness gurus are suddenly going crazy for bite-sized energy balls. Deliciously Ella launched her own pre-made range with three different flavours to great acclaim this summer and top nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik’s easy-to-make, utterly heavenly Baobab Bites have a cult following all of their own.
These bite-sized balls require no baking, they’re packed with nutritious goodness and, if you’re making them yourself at home, you can add in all your favourite ingredients – which means you’re more likely to opt for them when you need a lift than calorie-laden ‘dis-comfort’ food. If you’re a goji berry fan then you can roll each ball in berries, or if you love flaked coconut, cacao nibs, raisins or chia seeds, then you can add any or all of those.
They’re easy to pack as a handy snack for the gym, but they’re equally fabulous to have on hand as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up, handy if you’re travelling, at your desk, or dealing with kids. And, they’re perfect to serve up as canapés at both children’s and adult parties, plus these nutritional nuggets of goodness also work as a healthy dessert if you’re craving something sweet after your evening meal.
Here’s my favourite energy ball recipe – perfect for taking to Pilates, I also pop them in a plastic container to nibble on long-haul flights instead of eating whatever the airline is serving up. The nuts provide protein and the dates will give you energy – so you could always serve them with your mid-afternoon or morning matcha latté.
Stress-Free Energy Balls
1 cup almonds (130 g)
1 cup pitted medjool dates (120 g / 8 dates)
1 tsp vanilla powder
2 tbs coconut oil (melted*)
Pinch of salt
1 tbs maca
1/4 cup cacao (25 g)
Add almonds, salt, cacao, ‘I am energised’ and maca to a high speed blender and pulse on a low speed until a texture crumb forms. Add the coconut oil and the medjool dates and blend again at a low speed until all the medjool dates break down and a gooey dough starts to form.
Note: You might need to stop a few times and scrape down the side of the blender and loosen the mixture from the blade otherwise the blender may burn out.
Spoon out the mixture with a teaspoon and roll into small balls between the palms of your hands. The balls need to be about 1 inch in circumference – but you can make them as small or a large as you like. Bite-sized is best. If you want to decorate them with coconut sprinkles (perfect as pretend festive snow), or goji berries, or chia seeds then go ahead – have fun!
Put in the fridge for at least an hour to set and harden.
Naomi’s TIP: The mixture may look a bit dry but once you start to roll the balls they should stick together, if they don’t add a little more coconut oil.
To melt the coconut oil, submerge the glass jar into a bowl of boiling hot water. Coconut oil is a stable oil that can go from solid to liquid quickly and safely many times.
This recipe makes 16 balls - but you can double up on the ingredients and make 32 if you’d like an entire month’s worth pre-made. You can make one large batch and freeze some so you always have something healthy to hand.
Fancy some alternatives? You could try my spirulina and apricot energy balls recipe here, matcha and coconut energy balls recipe here, or my raw raspberry and beetroot energy bites here (you can’t taste the beets, ‘promise!).
What is your favourite workout snack? Have you made energy balls and if so, what’s your favourite recipe? Let us know in the comments below.