Confession: I eat and love packaged protein bars way too much. The nuttier, chunkier, chocolate-ier, the better. Mint Chocolate Quest Bars are my crack.
My favorite aisle in the Sprout’s store is the ‘nutrition bar aisle’ because SO MANY new brands and flavors of protein bars have popped up in the last couple of years. Anytime I see a new brand or flavor, I just have to try it. Luna, Clif, Quest, Kind, Larabar, Pure Protein, Raw Revolution, Nugo, Balance, Kashi – you get the picture.
Anywayyyys, my dependency on packaged bars to supply my protein and energy (or just satisfy my sweet tooth) sort of contradicts my goal to create a more ‘natural’ diet. I’ve been experimenting with lots of colorful and nutrient-packed Clean-Eating recipes over the past couple of years, and these power balls are my new clean alternative to the delicious-but-processed bar aisle!
On Thursday, I left you with a little throwback post of my mom’s Power Balls recipe. As promised, I recreated the recipe this weekend with some modifications to lighten the calories and fat content. Even clean recipes can be unbelievably high in calories, because nutrient-dense ingredients tend to be calorie packed. For example, chia seeds pack 60 calories per tablespoon, medjool dates 120 calories for 6 dates, and nut butters around 200 calories for 2 tablespoons. Though quality trumps quantity when it comes to fueling our body, I use bars and protein bites as snacks or pre-workout fuel so I would like to cut out some calories and fat where possible.
Substitute 1 Cup Powdered Peanut Butter (2/3 cup powder + 1/3 cup water) for 1 cup regular nut butter
*The process of dehydrating the nuts removes 75% of the fat content, leaving a 2 Tablespoon serving with 55 calories.
Substitute 1/2 cup of food-processed medjool dates + 1/4 cup agave for the honey as a sweetener.
Add 2 Tablespoons Chia seeds.
Remove 1/2 cup ground flax seeds (I don’t care for the stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth texture).
Optional: Add 1/2 cup protein powder of choice
Find your favorite mix-ins.
I used some clean, some not-so-clean mix-ins. This batch was broken up into 3 flavors: Chocolate Cherry Chunk, Pecan Chocolate Chip, and Coconut Pineapple. The chocolate chips aren’t considered clean and could be removed or replaced with cacao nibs if you want to be really strict about it. The possibilities for mix-ins are endless! Cocoa powder…goji berries…get creative!
Homemade Energy Bites:
- 2/3 powdered peanut butter (I used PBFit) mixed with 1/3 cup water
- 10 medjool dates, ground in a food processor to make date paste
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups rolled outs
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
- 2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
- Mix-ins of choice: mini chocolate chips, pecan pieces, dried cherries, coconut flakes, protein powder, etc.
1.) There really aren’t any “directions”…..mix all above ingredients, roll into 1-inch balls, and store in the fridge or freezer! :)
Ready for the week: