You’re hungry, so you reach for a granola bar. Sounds good, until you flip it over and read the nutrition label — you reel at the amount of added sugar and excess calories. Making your own version of this quick-fix snack is the best way to ensure it includes quality ingredients and that the portion size is just right.
“It doesn’t get any easier than this,” says Olga Hays, an American Council on Exercise-certified wellness promotion specialist at Sharp HealthCare. “At only 115 calories per serving, these energy balls are full of fiber, protein and vitamin B, and can be enjoyed any time. The best part about this recipe is that it is adaptable. Go ahead and experiment with different dried fruits or use add-ins like cinnamon or dark chocolate chips for extra antioxidant benefits.”
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls
When choosing peanut butter, be sure to pick the all-natural version with no added sugar or additives that prevent the oil from separating.
Yields 22 balls (one ball equals one serving)
2/3 cup shredded toasted coconut, unsweetened
1 cup whole rolled oats
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or other nut butter)
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/4 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water, if needed
Combine all ingredients — except for the water — in a large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Once it has chilled, check the consistency; if the mixture seems too dry, add the water. The mixture should stick together, but not be too crumbly.
Roll mixture into 22 small, equal-sized balls measuring about 1-1/2-inch diameter. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 1 week or freeze them.
Recipe adapted from theconsciousdietitian.com.