Back-to-School Power Balls

Truthfully, these are anytime super food snacks, but I made them specifically to send Nolan off to summer camp at his new school, so alas, the title of this post.  If you’ve already tried making them, you know that my power balls are filling enough that two or three make for a solid snack, and sweet enough (but not too sweet) that they could practically pass for healthy truffles.  They are the ultimate school snack and one that I’m sure Nolan’s friends will have their eyes on.

There’s nothing unusual or new to report with this version, as these power balls include all ingredients you’ve seen in my previous posts.  The star today is sunflower butter—which made its first appearance in my dark chocolate sea salt power bars—since it is nut-allergy friendly.  Many schools have strict rules about peanuts on campus, making sunflower seeds an excellent alternative.

Using a melon baller, I made these power balls extra small so that they are bite-size for Nolan and easy to snack on between activities.  I’ll admit, whipping these up takes a lot more time than picking up a box of fruit snacks at the grocery store, but it’s well worth providing my kids the best nutrition possible to get through their busy days.

Looking for a different shape and slightly different formula?  Check out my power bars!

FORMULA BASE:  POWER BALLS

Makes 12-14 small balls (or 20-ish mini-balls)

For the dough:

  • 1 cup nut or seed butter (nuts/seeds only) –>  I’m using sunflower.
  • 1 cup uncooked whole grains –>  I’m using rolled oats.
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried fruit (without added oil) –>  I’m using 6 small pitted medjool dates.
  • 2 tbsps natural liquid sweetener –>  I’m using 1 tbsp agave syrup.*
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Garnish ideas (approximately 4 tbsps):

  • Raw seeds -> I’m using 2 tbsps of ground flaxseed.
  • Raw finely chopped nuts
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes -> I’m using 2 tbsps of unsweetened, desiccated coconut.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped unsweetened dried fruit bits (without added oil)
  • Melted dark chocolate (which will re-solidify after dipping)

*I cut 1 tbsp of sweetener because the sun butter I happen to be using was pre-sweetened.  I never buy nut or seed butters that contain added salt, oil, or sugar, but the lady that used to watch my kids had an excess of sun butter that she was concerned would go to waste.  I’m not going to pass up free plant-based butters (which can be quite expensive), so I needed to adjust my formula today.  🙂

Turn your whole grains into flour using your food processor or blender. You could also use rolled oats as is. The texture of the balls will be different, but rolled oats are one of few grains soft enough to be palatable without becoming flour.

Combine the flour and your remaining ingredients in a food processor. Run until a thick, pliable dough forms. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula at least once.

Shape the dough into 1-1 ½ inch balls and roll in garnish.

garnish

Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge.

power balls

Feel the No-Bake Power!

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When it comes to natural sources of protein and energy, the health-conscious are turning to homemade bars, balls, and bites. From what I’ve seen, creators are calling on dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and grains to put them together. My power ball formula also includes a classic crowd pleaser, chocolate!

I am not a fan of or advocate for protein powders or shakes. They are expensive, overly processed, and while some taste decent, many have a chalky aftertaste. I follow a blogger that is a dietician by day and athlete by night. She follows a mostly raw vegan diet, is totally opposed to powders and shakes, and is able to gain plenty of lean muscle mass (if that’s what you’re going for) using plant-based sources of protein and energy.

Her posts and my commitment to a minimally-processed, DIY plant-based lifestyle inspired me to create a power ball that my whole family will eat. Because they are dense, rich in flavor and consistency, and somewhat expensive to make, I only eat one or two a day when I have them in my fridge.

The base of any solid bar, ball, or bite is whole grains (often oats) and something sticky and gooey to hold the whole thing together. Creating the dough is quick and easy; rolling it into easy-to-grab-and-eat balls is a little more time-consuming, but yields you the perfect portion.

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Pop a power ball as a snack, eat one or two with fresh fruit for breakfast, or treat yourself to a super healthy mock dessert. You could even serve them at a party because they are just so darn cute…power lollipop anyone?! 🙂 In general, these remind me of truffles, without the animal fat, cholesterol, and excessive sugar. Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: POWER BALLS

Makes 12-14 small balls

For the dough:

  • 1 cup nut or seed butter (nuts/seeds only) –>  I’m using peanut.
  • 1 cup uncooked whole grains –>  I’m using rolled oats.
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried fruit (without added oil) –>  I’m using 6 small pitted medjool dates.
  • 2 tbsps natural liquid sweetener –>  I’m using pure maple syrup.
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Garnish ideas (approximately 4 tbsps):

  • Raw seeds*
  • Raw finely chopped nuts
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped unsweetened dried fruit bits (without added oil)
  • Melted dark chocolate (which will re-solidify after dipping)

*Today, I’m using a combo of sunflower, chia, and hulled hemp.

Turn your whole grains into flour using your food processor or blender. You could also use rolled oats as is. The texture of the balls will be different, but rolled oats are one of few grains soft enough to be palatable without becoming flour.

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Combine the flour and your remaining ingredients in a food processor. Run until a thick, pliable dough forms. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula at least once.

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Shape the dough into 1-1 ½ inch balls and roll in garnish.

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Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge.

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