Happy Friday lovely Here Comes The Sun readers. My name is Nicola and I'm excited to be a guest contributor here. I'm a Registered Nutritionist and run the website Eat Well NZ. I'm passionate about helping people become the best version of themselves and nourishing their bodies with healthy, delicious food.
Today I want to share with you a delicious, healthy snack recipe of what I like to call "energy balls". These are my favourite go to snack that's packed full of good nutrition. When you think of snacks, it's often easy to automatically think of pre-packaged, off the shelf products. While there are some good options to buy, many off the shelf products are high in refined carbohydrates and lack nutrients. I prefer to choose natural foods or make my own snacks. These energy balls make a yummy, healthy and filling snack option that's high in protein, fibre and a source of vitamins and minerals - and you know exactly whats gone into them.
Here's what's in them and what nutrients they provide:
If you don't like dates, don't be put off this recipe - I promise they don't at all taste like dates. Dates provide a natural source of sweetness and are also an excellent source of fibre - good for digestion and keeping you feeling full. Dates also contain B vitamins, vitamin C and the minerals selenium, potassium and magnesium.
A wholegrain carbohydrates, oats are a great source of slow release energy. They are also high in fibre and a source of selenium, magnesium, and zinc.
Almonds provide healthy fats and protein as well as vitamin E, calcium, riboflavin and niacin.
A good source of zinc which we need for a healthy immune system. They also provide magnesium and iron and are a source of good fats and protein
The main reason for coconut in this recipe is it adds a nice flavour but it is also a source of some of the B vitamins.
Chocolate lovers listen up - chocolate is a source of beneficial antioxidants and is associated with some health benefits. Yup, it's true - read more here.
The honey, vanilla and coconut oil add taste and help keep them stuck together.
So enough about what's in them and here's how to make them:
Chocolate Oat and Nut Energy Balls
Makes 22 balls
1/2 cup of dates + boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup almonds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup coconut
6 pieces of dark chocolate
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Soak the dates in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
Blend the almonds in a blender until they are cut up into small pieces. Add the remaining ingredients, including the dates. Pulse the ingredients until combined. You may need to stop the blender and push the ingredients down from the sides with a spatula.
Squeeze a spoonful of ingredients together in your hand and push firmly into a ball shape. You can either roll these in coconut or leave as is.
Store in the fridge and enjoy for a delicious, tasty snack.
I've also made a similar recipe with cashews which you can find here - it's equally as delicious.
Eat Well NZ
Here Comes the Sun Contributor