ENERGY BALLS: THE MASTER FORMULA!
Energy balls are by far the easiest, healthiest and quickest treat to include in your diet
Energy Balls are by far one of the easiest and healthiest treats to make, they only need a handful of ingredients to make them deliciously nutritious and best of all they can easily be customised to your own specific dietary needs.
Energy Balls are the perfect healthy snack that you can grab on the go or keep in your fridge at home or even at the office. They are also great as a quick pre-work out snack, eat one or two about half hour before your work out to be adequately fuelled for your gym session. Energy Balls are also an effective post work out snack too that will help with your recovery!
Energy Balls can Improve Physical Performance, Mental Focus, Sleep & your Mood!
We have put together this simple, fool proof formula to help you master the art of making energy balls at home, we'll take you through the different components and ingredients you need!
What you'll need!
The main components for successful energy balls to not only look good but taste great are:
CREAMY (such as nut butter)
SWEET (such as raw honey)
MODIFIER (such as protein powder)
BINDING (such as oats)
To give your energy that delicious creamy taste you'll need to invest in a good quality nut butter, either peanut, almond or cashew (or seed butter such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds if you have an allergy to nuts). Nuts and seeds are packed with heart-healthy unsaturated fats, energising protein and satiating fibre. They have also been found to help with weight loss and lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the body. The better the quality and preferably organic, the more wholesome and clean the ingredients will be. Don’t limit yourself to just one type if you don't have a favourite then include a variety of nut butters and/or seed butters as each one boasts its own unique colour, flavour and texture.
Yes, make it sweet but don't be tempted to add an artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes that have been linked to cancer and increased weight gain! They disrupt the delicate mechanism in regulating insulin levels! Also avoid any products that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup as these are equally destructive to health. Therefore, choose from Mother Nature's options, raw honey or organic maple syrup!
A modifier is typically a protein. Choose a plant-based protein such as Hemp protein over milk-based protein such as Whey because hemp does not make the mixture too wet. We prefer to use Hemp because it is gentle on the digestive system and does not cause bloating or cramps. Hemp protein is also high in omega 3, 6 and 9, and contains all the fatty acids which make up your recommended daily allowance (RDA). Whey protein can cause bloating and cramps because it is much harder to digest. It also contains cholesterol and saturated fats but no fatty acids. Whey protein is not suitable for vegans because it is derived from milk.
Rolled oats are the perfect binding ingredient for your energy balls because not only are they gluten free but they are the healthiest grains on earth providing a host of superb health benefits including weight management, protects the heart against disease and lowers cholesterol. Oats are also the champion binder because they are filling, inexpensive and versatile.
The Optional Extras
This is where the customisation begins. We like a combination of superfood extras, such as dried fruits, flaxseeds, chia seeds, cinnamon or turmeric and for a truly indulgent but healthy variation we use dark organic chocolate (must have at least 70% cocoa):
STICKY (such as dried fruit)
TEXTURE (such as flaxseed or chia seeds)
SPICES (such as cinnamon, ground ginger, turmeric and/or cocoa)
Dried fruit such as dates, apricots, goji berries and raisins (the list is pretty extensive) all offer great variety in flavour and stickiness! Dried fruit is highly nutritious and loaded with fibre and antioxidants. One piece of dried fruit contains about the same amount of nutrients as the fresh fruit but condensed in a much smaller package!
There are many super foods available to give energy balls texture. We like to use flaxseed because it is a good source of dietary fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed also has a positive effect on cholesterol by lowering the risk of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). We do recommend you grind the flaxseed because the ground form is easier to digest.
The health benefits in spices is unequalled because they are packed with multiple healthy compounds that provide huge doses of goodness! We use either cinnamon, turmeric and ground ginger. They fight inflammation by fending off free radicals that can damage your cells. They also fight off bacteria and may even help lower blood sugar in people who have diabetes or are likely to get the disease.
As a special treat you can enjoy chocolate because the cocoa that makes up chocolate is actually a spice. BUT not just any chocolate! We advise choosing dark organic chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content as this key spice contains biologically active phenolic compounds. The higher the cocoa content the more health benefits there are in the chocolate and the less fat and sugar it contains.
“Everything in moderation” Oscar Wilde.
Now that the ingredients are decided upon the success of the formula is down to how much of each ingredient. This ratio starts from dry to wet based on a total of 400 grams of ingredients:
3/4 binding ingredients + protein powder to 1 part sweet + nut butter
If you are adding fresh berries you will need to count them as the "NUT BUTTER/SWEET" component.
If your mixture has more than 3/4 binding/protein to sweet/nut butter the end result will be drier
If your mixture is more nut butter/sweet the end result will be more moist
Energy Balls are packed with nutrients made with super foods and whole foods, fibre, healthy carbs, fats, and high in protein, which help build lean muscle mass, boost energy and great for weight management. They are the guilt-free, energy hit and the go-to healthy snack! BUT remember everything in moderation! Too much of anything is never good for your body, so make sure you don’t overeat them especially those customised with high calorie extras.
The Green Ward's Balls Recipe
You can find The Green Ward's Balls recipe
Why not become one of our Health Warriors by joining our community on Facebook! We are a group of friendly, like minded Health Warriors dedicated to eating healthy, looking good and feeling great. click here!
We are always developing new recipes that greatly benefit health and wellbeing so why not be the first to hear about them by signing up free on our nutrition website right here!
Anderson, James W., et al. "Health benefits of dietary fiber." Nutrition reviews 67.4 (2009): 188-205.
Cardona, Fernando, et al. "Benefits of polyphenols on gut microbiota and implications in human health." The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 24.8 (2013): 1415-1422.
Chang, Sui Kiat, Cesarettin Alasalvar, and Fereidoon Shahidi. "Review of dried fruits: Phytochemicals, antioxidant efficacies, and health benefits." Journal of Functional Foods 21 (2016): 113-132.
Hollman, Peter C. H. "Evidence for health benefits of plant phenols: local or systemic effects?." Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 81.9 (2001): 842-852.
O'Neil, Carol E., et al. "Nut consumption is associated with decreased health risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome in US adults: NHANES 1999–2004." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 30.6 (2011): 502-510.
Opara, Elizabeth I., and Magali Chohan. "Culinary herbs and spices: their bioactive properties, the contribution of polyphenols and the challenges in deducing their true health benefits." International journal of molecular sciences 15.10 (2014): 19183-19202.
Rabetafika, Holy Nadia, et al. "Flaxseed proteins: food uses and health benefits." International journal of food science & technology 46.2 (2011): 221-228.
Suez, Jotham, et al. "Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota." Nature 514.7521 (2014): 181.