Food to keep fit: Date Energy balls

It’s official, we have been bitten by the protein ball bug!

For years I have been resisting the appeal of these balls, bars, bites…whatever people call them. I think I could not go past the appearance of brown, knobby, sticky balls and the health food label! In my books, food must not only taste good but also LOOK good for one to want to eat it.

Then we started this fitness challenge, and I started to pay more attention to healthy eating talks. Not that we didn’t eat healthy before, I’ve never been a fan of junk food and always prefer to cook from scratch rather than reach for the processed items in the shops. I just found myself in a rut and decided to look at alternatives to fruits/ nuts/cheese sticks for snacks. They had to be free of added sugar, low carb but fibre rich, and provide energy. So I decided to revisit the idea of protein balls, sampled quite a few in various health food shops and cafes, poured over countless recipes to finally come up with my own version. The choice of ingredients is the product of convenience: I happened to have all of them in the pantry, since they are standard items for granola making. Also, I deliberately omitted any nuts, since our local schools have adopted a nut-free policy. Feel free to add them, if you do not have to such constraints.

I am the first to admit that these balls look anything but pretty, resembling raw meatballs I was told! I think the “nuts and bolts” appearance comes from NOT grinding the seeds first, will have to remember to do it next time! So, yes, appeal is a work in progress and I have designs in mind for a chocolate coated version as well as a toasted almonds one….BUT, let me tell you, they taste amazing. I know I am on a good thing when Terry’s 4 year-old grandson asks for some to take to kindie and Marc snatches them on his way to school (quick breakfast on the go!). I love to have them as a morning treat with coffee or simply as an afternoon pick-me-up before heading to the gym (my least favourite activity!!)

Date Energy Balls

date protein balls

Makes 36 balls

Ingredients:

2 cups seeds ( I used ¼ cup puffed amaranth, ½ cup pepitas, 1 cup sunflower seeds, ¼ cup linseed)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 cups dates, soaked in warm water

2 tbsp coconut milk

  1. In a food processor, chop the soaked dates until they form a coarse paste. Add the seeds, shredded coconut, and coconut milk.
  2. Mix until everything is combined into a smooth paste.
  3. Scoop a tablespoon in your hand and shape into a ball (this is a very messy affair!) Place on a tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all the mixture has been used.
  4. Place the tray in the fridge until balls are firm. This helps with the handling later on.
  5. When the balls are firm enough to handle, place them in a container with a lid and keep in the fridge. They will last a couple of weeks, if not devoured beforehand! They can also be kept in and eaten straight out of the freezerDSCN2005

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