Protein balls are handy when you need a snack, but you’re looking to stay away from foods high in sugar. Also known as energy balls, these are a combination of nut butter, porridge oats and flaxseeds that are high in energy but low on added sugar. These are great for a post-workout snack, or on those occasions that you know you’ll have to wait a little longer for your meal as something’s come up.
Why choose a protein ball for a snack?
When looking for a snack you need to look at including some protein with whatever you choose to eat. Why? Protein slows down the breakdown of food and the release of that energy into your system. Ultimately this means that you get longer from that snack than if you hadn’t included protein. So if lunch has been delayed due to a business meeting, or dinner is later than planned as you’ve drop your child to football, these can help fill that gap.
Protein balls are also easy to make at home taking just 10 minutes and using many ingredients that you probably already have to hand. Each batch will make 15 energy balls without the need for any equipment. They also keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. So perfect to make ahead of time so you have them on hand for when you really need them.
Wholefood ingredients for longer lasting energy
Complex carbohydrates such as the porridge oats help to keep you satisfied for longer as they’re full of fiber and so release that energy for longer. I’ve kept the oats whole and not blitzed them to a powder, as studies have shown that the closer a food to it’s original state the better for our blood sugar. Hence our energy will remain stable.
The flaxseeds add healthy omega-3 fats, as well as a good amount of fiber and protein. A serving of flaxseed each day can help with constipation, heart health and stable energy.
Pumpkin seeds are a source of zinc, essential for immunity and skin health. While adding a chocolaty twist, the cocoa powder is also a source of antioxidants which promotes a healthy gut.
Tips to making your protein balls
It takes just 10 minutes to make these protein balls and you won’t need any equipment to make them. However, if you find the pumpkin seeds too large you can blitz them for a couple of seconds in Nutribullet, or similar. You can also switch out the pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeds or chopped almonds.
I used smooth 100% peanut butter, no added sugar, but you could use crunchy peanut butter. However, you may need to add some extra moisture with some almond milk as it can be drier.
First combine your dry ingredients in a bowl – porridge oats, milled flaxseed and pumpkin seeds. In another bowl combine the peanut butter with the cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla essence if using.
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and knead the ingredients all together until everything’s really well incorporated. Lastly add the raisins in and mix in. Don’t be afraid to get in there with your fingers to bring it altogether.
Using your hands take a tablespoon of the mixture and mould into a ball. Each protein ball weighs approximately 30g. You should get approximately 15 energy balls from this recipe.
Store the protein balls in an airtight container in the fridge and they’ll keep for two weeks.
- 100 g rolled oats
- 60 g flaxseeds, ground
- 40 g pumpkin seeds
- 200 g smooth peanut butter, natural
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp Maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
- 40 g raisins
- In a bowl combine the rolled oats, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseeds.
- In another bowl mix together the peanut butter, cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract if using.
- Mix in the wet ingredients to the oat mixture. Use your fingers to combine the ingredients. You may need to add some extra moisture if it's too dry. Add a tablespoon of oat milk at a time. The mixture should come together when pressed and stay together.
- Take a tablespoon of the mixture in your hands and roll together into a ball. Each ball should weigh approximately 30g.
- The protein balls can be eaten at room temperature. They can be stored in an airtight container for 2 weeks in the fridge.