Energy balls are trending right now for a reason. They are easy to prepare and easy to take on the go in your own reusable containers. 

If you haven’t tried an energy ball recipe yet, get ready to have your snack game changed. If you have made energy balls before, we encourage you to try ours! This recipe includes our Metabolic Detox® Complete multivitamin/mineral powder, nut butter for healthy fat and added protein, and whole-grain fiber for sustained glucose release.

If you read our blog post this month about eating for energy, you know that a balanced snack/small meal every 3 to 4 hours is one way to stay alert, focused, and energized. Here is the snack you need: healthy and delicious with no hidden ingredients, superfluous plastic packaging, or mystery processing. 

Pop one of these energy balls when you’re hungry between meals or have 3-4 of them with a tall glass of water to replace a meal. They’re great before a workout when you need energy, but not a full stomach.

Ingredient Benefits

Metabolic Detox® Complete 

Metabolic Detox® Complete is a protein-rich powdered drink mix by Metabolic Maintenance. It is available in vanilla or chocolate flavors, and either will work in this recipe. Of course, you can substitute our protein powder for another of your choosing, but Metabolic Detox® Complete really has a lot to offer.

As a vegan, hypoallergenic powder, our protein comes from pea, rice, and hemp sources. In addition, the powder includes a balanced combination of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and other beneficial nutrient cofactors to simplify and support both Phase I and Phase II detoxification. As such, these energy bites would complement a detox protocol nicely.

If you read our blog post this month on the best supplements for energy, you know how important the B vitamins are. Not only does Metabolic Detox® Complete contain the full B-complex (all 8 essential B-vitamins), it provides activated folate and B-12, as L-methylfolate and methylcobalamin, respectively. 

Sunflower Butter

This particular butter comes from seeds rather than nuts, making sunflower butter a safer option for anyone with allergies. Sunflower seeds also have unique health properties that classify it as a nutraceutical food.

Sunflowers contain mineral elements and phytochemicals such as dietary fiber, manganese, vitamins, tocopherols, phytosterols, triterpene glycosides, α-tocopherol, glutathione reductase, flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids, peptides, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, alkaloids, tannins, and saponins [1]. These nutrients translate to numerous health benefits, including blood pressure and diabetic control, skin protection, and healthy cholesterol, among other functions [1].

Sunflower seeds are not only a terrific source of healthy fat, they also provide protein and iron. All of these elements contribute to their role as an effective energy provider. 

Rolled Oats

As opposed to white flour, oats are a lightly-processed whole grain. This means they are digestible and palatable, but still contain some dietary fiber that slows down the availability of glucose they provide [2].

Eating oats regularly (likely due to their fiber content) is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease [2]. Oats are associated with healthier cholesterol levels, healthy glucose, and insulin responses after a meal, and healthier blood pressure levels [2].

Oats contain a higher proportion of unsaturated fats than many other cereal crops, including the essential fatty acid linoleic acid, which is also heart-supportive [2]. Again, healthy fats are not only important to consume, they help us feel full faster and satiated longer after a meal.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have a fantastic crunchy texture, and like sunflower seeds, contain protein and healthy fat. Specifically, chia is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber [3]. Chia seeds are low in digestible carbohydrates, and their high fiber content helps slow down the absorption of glucose from other ingredients in your meal.

Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, and they support healthy cholesterol, blood pressure, and glycemic control [3]. 

Water is also really important for feeling energetic. Chia seeds absorb and hold water, even after you’ve eaten them. So, having a glass of water with chia will allow the seeds to expand in your stomach, curbing your appetite. As the chia seeds are slowly digested, they release the water they soaked up, helping you stay hydrated long after you ate.

H3: Maple Syrup 

There are lots of options when it comes to natural sweeteners. Organic maple syrup not only has a unique and palatable flavor, it also offers a naturally high mineral and antioxidant content as well as anti-inflammatory activities[4]. Typically, the darker a maple syrup, the more health benefits it will confer [4]. 

Unsweetened Coconut

Shredded coconut can be laden with white sugar, and, as a tree nut, coconut is not for everyone. In this recipe, it’s really just there for texture and visuals, so it’s easy to skip it if you are allergic or can’t find it unsweetened. 

Coconut does also offer health benefits. As a nut, it is rich in a variety of types of fat and protein. Lauric acid is the most abundant fatty acid found in coconut meat. Compared to other plant-origin saturated fatty acids, lauric acid is known to have more health benefits as it promotes healthy HDL-cholesterol and supports a reduced ratio of TC:HDL-cholesterol [5].

Coconut also has antioxidant activities as well [5]. 

Recipe (makes about 15 healthy energy balls)

1 cup oats

1 cup protein powder

½ cup sunflower butter

¼ cup chia seeds

¼ cup maple syrup

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 pinch of salt (to taste)

½ cup (ish) unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

You only need 2 bowls and a rubber spatula for this recipe. Measurements can even be approximate. In a medium/large bowl, add oats, protein powder, sunflower butter, chia seeds, a pinch of salt, vanilla, and maple syrup. 

Use a spatula to mix everything together as evenly as possible. The finished mixture will be crumbly, but should hold a ball shape when rolled between your palms.

If the mixture is too dry, you can add more vanilla and/or syrup. If it is too wet, sprinkle in a few more oats or a little more protein powder until balls hold their shape.

Pour about a ½ cup of dried coconut shreds into a shallow bowl. Use a tablespoon to measure out bite size portions of dough to roll into balls. Then, roll each ball in the coconut to coat.

You can store finished energy bites in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. They will last in the fridge for a week to 10 days, or the freezer for a few months. As none of the ingredients require refrigeration individually, these snacks are safe to pack in a lunch box, purse, or gym bag.

References

  1. Adeleke, Bartholomew Saanu, and Olubukola Oluranti Babalola. “Oilseed crop sunflower (Helianthus annuus) as a source of food: Nutritional and health benefits.” Food Science & Nutrition 8.9 (2020): 4666-4684.
  2. Katz, David L. “A scientific review of the health benefits of oats.” The Quaker Oats Company. Obtenido el 15.4 (2001): 07.
  3. Grancieri, Mariana, Hercia Stampini Duarte Martino, and Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia. “Chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) as a source of proteins and bioactive peptides with health benefits: A review.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 18.2 (2019): 480-499.
  4. Singh, Amritpal S., A. Maxwell P. Jones, and Praveen K. Saxena. “Variation and correlation of properties in different grades of maple syrup.” Plant foods for human nutrition 69.1 (2014): 50-56.
  5. Ngampeerapong, Chitraporn, and Visith Chavasit. “Nutritional and bioactive compounds in coconut meat of different sources: Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.” CMU Journal of Natural Sciences 18.4 (2019): 562-573.