Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ultimate Protein Balls







I started making protein balls years ago when my oldest son started running Cross Country & Track in Middle School. I was looking for healthy ways to get meals, snacks and drinks (can you say spinach smoothies?!) into his daily routine. And because running takes a lot of effort and energy, I also wanted something that had long-lasting carbs (oats) and quick sugar (dried fruit) to help keep his stamina up. I researched tons of recipes and added to them to make up one of my own. I kept adding ingredients, trying to make them as healthy and effective as possible, but as I got up to about 15 ingredients it became too time-consuming and overwhelming. And with so many people asking for the recipe, I knew I needed to make it simple. So the basic recipe is down to 5 ingredients with the option to add in or change ingredients anytime you want. 

I hope you enjoy them!


Colleen’s Ultimate Protein Balls    

Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup maple syrup

Supplies needed: 9x13 rectangular pan, 1 cup dry & 1/2 cup liquid measuring cups, kitchen scraper/spoon

Put the dry ingredients [oats, chocolate chips, and cranberries] in a 9x13 pan and stir to mix. I use a pan instead of a bowl because I feel like it’s easier to mix the ingredients, especially the wet ones, but you can use a medium mixing bowl if you prefer. Add the wet ingredients [peanut butter and maple syrup] to the pan and use kitchen scraper/spoon to mix well [this will take a few minutes]. Form into balls. The recipe will make 30+ protein balls and takes about 30 minutes. Refrigerate. They will stay good for up to a week, but let’s be honest, they never last that long!!!

Note: I used to add up to 15 ingredients to this recipe but it was time-consuming and overwhelming for myself and others to make which is why I condensed it to 5 ingredients. The great thing about this recipe is you can mix and match. If you prefer crunchy peanut butter, use it. If you prefer honey over maple syrup, use it. If you want to add more ingredients OR change the ingredients, do it. I’ve listed some ideas below that I’ve added to the recipe in the past. Experiment to find your own favorite combination!

Shredded coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened)

Dried fruit: dates, raisins, blueberries, etc

Chopped nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc

Seeds: chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, etc

Protein powder: vanilla, chocolate, chai, etc

Crunchy rice/flax cereal

Crunchy or flavored peanut butter

Local Honey

Colleen’s Tip: Make the basic recipe first (5 ingredients). Once you get the idea of what the texture is supposed to feel like you can start adding/subtracting ingredients to experiment with the perfect combo of dry/wet to form protein balls that won’t fall apart or be too soggy.

I hope you find that making homemade protein balls is fun and easy! Our family loves them!!!


Click on this link for the printable version:  Ultimate Protein Balls Print Recipe

This pic shows the consistency/texture you're trying to achieve before forming the balls. Not too dry or too wet. You can see this batch I added shredded coconut and took out the cranberries. 


This pic is just the basic 5 ingredients. Classic, simple, delicious!


Another batch with shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, honey, dark chocolate, vanilla protein powder and raisins.  So many options!

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