easy snacks

Protein Balls.

I’ve come a long way. The array of vegetables I ate as of five years ago, pretty much consisted of mashed potatoes and raw carrots with ranch dressing. Tomatoes were slimy, cooked broccoli made me want to gag, and I didn’t even know what spinach looked like unless it was frozen out of a bag. I think the day my family finally saw a difference was the day I went to Subway and ordered a veggie sub rather than my usual “Turkey breast on Italian, provolone cheese and mayo…not toasted…yes, that’s it…I’m sure…Thank you.” …Mom still never lets me live that down.

Honestly, studying abroad was a big part of my pallet change. I wanted to eat everything and wasn’t going to let that scary tomato keep me from eating Rome’s best pasta sauce. So I sucked it up and tried any and everything…turns out those veggies aren’t so bad. In fact it was in Africa that I even started to LIKE them…what?! My roommate was vegetarian which was a great influence on me. Plus with our lack of kitchen space and appliances, “one pan” dishes became our specialty and we often cooked together.

So the point is, while many would consider me a “health nut” now…I haven’t always been this way. It was a slow but steady transition. I’m not here to convince you to take the journey I did, but food and eating healthy is such a large part of my life, it’s a part I have had yet to share with you. So while I will not convert this blog to a health and fitness focused blog (it’s been done…and done again), a few of those posts might slide in.

The one thing that’s really holding me back from considering myself to be a health nut is my sweet tooth. Let’s not even pretend I have just one, I should say “sweet TEETH.” I love spinach, and tofu, and qunioa. I meal plan and meal prep for the week, I’ve even started to go to the gym before work but put a pint of ice cream in front of me…game over. Self control? Non-existent. So I’ve had to come up with “healthy” sweet alternatives, because not eating desert is simply not an option. Welcome protein balls…these are so good my roommate even loves them and shes the savory one! They taste like cookie dough. Honest.

It took me a couples week to convince my sister to make them but after the first batch she was hooked! She even shared the recipe with her coworkers, so I figured I’d share mine with you!

Peanut Butter Protein Balls
2 tbsp coconut oil
.5 cup peanut butter (if I have pb2* I do half that and half real pb)
4 tbsp honey
.25 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 scoops protein powder (I use vanilla Whey Factors)
1.5 cups oats
1-2 tbsp almond milk
.25 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Melt the coconut oil then mix in peanut butter, honey, applesauce.
2. Next add your dry ingredients one at a time, protein powder and oats.
3. If your batter turns out dry that’s when you can add a tablespoon of almond milk at a time until it can hold together.
4. So the great thing about this recipe is at this point you can throw in any additions you want: chocolate chips, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, cranberries, raisins, clear out your pantry and throw it in!
5. Now take your batter and roll them into quarter sized balls and store them in the fridge. As delicious as the plain batter is, it gets better chilled!

These little guys are perfect for breakfasts on the go or afternoon snacks. I primarily use them as a little pick-me-up before a workout. They give you a boost of energy with the sugar and protein for you to have a more effective workout. Let me know what you guys think! Enjoy!