I’ve been trying to get rid of my afternoon sweet tooth which appears pretty much as soon as I take the last bite of my lunch… you know the one, where all you can think about is having a piece of chocolate, or just a smidgen of that cake lurking in the cake tin, or maybe even going as far as cutting off a slice of that frozen cookie dough you’ve hidden in the freezer for emergency situations and popping it straight in the oven knowing in just 15 minutes you’ll have some chewy chocolate cookie to munch on. Ok, just me then.
I’ve always been a fan of nakd bars to get me through the afternoon or as a pre-workout snack but when you look at the ingredients list, you’ll realize just how simple they are to make. They even give you the percentages of each ingredient, so making these at home really shouldn’t be a challenge. But I wanted to make something a little more daring than just replicating nak’d bars and did some research into recipes for protein energy balls.
By energy balls I mean, mainly nut-based snacks that are combined through the use of medjool dates and often with some sort of superfood powder added to them.
I went through a phase of making spirulina energy balls which were delicious, but maybe not the prettiest to show off with the dark green powder making them look like something you’ve left in the fridge for far too long. Although it could be said, when something is THAT green it can only be exceptionally good for you.
I often snack on ‘Bounce’ protein balls pre-workout in the morning and have become a little addicted to the coconut and macadamia flavor. It’s too early in the morning and not enough time to get breakfast down me, but I still need to consume something to fuel me through the next brutal WOD (workout of the day) that my sister has sent me. But to be honest, spending £2 a day on one of these bounce balls seemed a little ridiculous when I was more than capable of making them myself for a fraction of the price.
After spending sometime investigating different recipes, adding carrot to the mixture of coconut and macadamia nuts seemed to be rather popular and with a strong dislike to carrot since childhood (which I’ve still not totally got over), why not try getting the orange veg’s super vitamins in me disguised in taste by delicious coconut.
These energy balls have the added power of raw shelled hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are packed full of protein, omega-3s and minerals and add to the nutty flavor of the balls bringing nuttiness similar to pine nuts.
The coconut carrot ‘cake’ balls literally take 10 minutes to prepare, resulting in an easy to consume hit of good fats, protein and vitamins to fuel your day. The medjool dates have that smack of sweetness that triumphs over your afternoon sugar craving and the flavor hints of delicious carrot cake that’s enough to trick your taste buds into thinking you’ve had the sugar hit you need but in a way that won’t send your blood sugar sky high. Sneaky, I know.
So if you’re someone that wants to fuel your early morning workout or needs to kick that sweet tooth out the park for good, then give these a try. Plus, you’ll save some cash that you can spend on that ben & jerry’s ice cream you’ll be craving after dinner.
Coconut carrot ‘cake’ protein energy balls
Makes approx. 12 energy balls
(You can substitute the below nuts for any you choose, just keep the quantities the same. I imagine pecans would be delicious too).
100g grated carrot (about 1 ½ medium sized carrots)
50g macadamia nuts
50g raw shelled hemp
50g desiccated coconut, plus extra for rolling in at the end
7 pitted medjool dates
1tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground nutmeg
75ml agave nectar (can substitute for honey or maple syrup)
Put all of the above ingredients in your kitchen aid mixer and blend till the mixture starts to come together to form a thick paste.
If your mixture seems too wet because of the carrot, add more medjool dates.
If the mixture is not wet enough to come together, add some coconut water, just a little at a time as you don’t want to over do it. The paste will also firm up further once placed in the fridge.
Scatter a layer of desiccated coconut on a plate.
Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a golf ball and then roll in the desiccated coconut before popping on a new plate.
Once all the balls are rolled, place in the fridge to firm up before putting them in an airtight container. I keep mine in the freezer and eat them straight from there. They’ll last up to a month in the freezer and about a week in the fridge.