These three-bite protein balls taste a little too much like cookie dough.
If you haven’t made energy bites yet then you’re missing out on one of the quickest, easiest and healthiest snacks. With a few ingredients of your choice (just 6 for this recipe) this snack can be thrown together in less than ten minutes. Any closet cookie dough fans out there? Well, I think these will be right up your alley (without the scare of salmonella!).
Adding plant-based protein powder to energy bites can help manage blood glucose levels. Not only does this maintain energy throughout the day, but also helps prevent insulin resistance in the long-term. Protein is also necessary for muscle recovery, especially if we are physically active.
I often throw in a fat source like coconut oil which contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs). While some studies have found that coconut oil may increase LDL cholesterol, evidence also shows that it can increase HDL cholesterol and decrease inflammation due to its high antioxidant content. MCTs are unique as they are quickly metabolized and used for energy (as opposed to long-chain fatty acids found in olive oil, nuts, avocado, fish and animal meat).
Lastly, coconut flour is a gluten-free flour alternative that conveniently lowers the overall glycemic load of baked goods (while also adding extra coconut flavor). This recipe is already relatively low in glycemic load but the coconut flour can help counteract the sugar in the dates.
Ingredients (for 16 bites):
- 1 cup dates, pre-soaked for 15 min in water
- 2 scoops vanilla plant-based protein powder
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup water (or as much as needed to blend)
- Blend all ingredients together using a food processor or high speed blender.
- Form dough into bite-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Eat immediately or store in the refrigerator.
- plant-based protein = helps decrease high cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, helps build lean muscle mass
- coconut oil = while research is mixed, coconut oil has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, and may improve cholesterol profiles by increasing HDL cholesterol levels (the ‘good’ kind), may support weight management, may positively impact thyroid function
- coconut flour = high fiber, gluten-free alternative, decreases glycemic effect when added to baked goods
Special thanks to The Holistic Gangster for collaborating with me on this recipe. Check out his one-on-one nutritional services and health podcast here.
A rich, moist dessert with few of the typical brownie ingredients.
Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the greatest threat to the lives of women and men in the world? Women with PCOS commonly experience metabolic syndrome which increases the risk of developing heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions including elevated triglycerides, high “bad” cholesterol, low “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and increased belly fat.
Fortunately, each day most of us can help decrease our risk of developing heart disease. Nutritional intake is important with some evidence suggesting to decrease saturated fats and other evidence to decrease trans fats. Decreasing salt intake is also recommended while increasing phytonutrient, fiber-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables. Secondly, regular exercise can reduce body weight, blood pressure, “bad ” cholesterol and increase insulin sensitivity. In addition, sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and related conditions. Finally, quitting smoking is the single greatest change one can make to improve their heart and overall health.
Now you may be wondering where brownies fit into this heart-healthy lifestyle I speak of. Surprisingly, these delicious, fudgy treats are primarily made from black beans and unsweetened cocoa powder! Carry on to find out how these two ingredients can make a crowd-pleasing dessert that can support a healthy heart. PS. The trick is to not reveal the ingredients until AFTER your loved ones have tried the brownies. I promise they will be shocked. I would love to hear what you do to protect your heart!
- 2 cups dried black beans (must pre-soak and boil)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil, though may not be as heart-healthy)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (>75% real cocoa)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Blend all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor until completely smooth.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Pour into an 8×8 pan pre-greased with olive oil.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes being careful not to overcook as this could dry them out.
- Let brownies cool before cutting. I popped these in the freezer to firm up even more.
- black beans = high in protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin B6 and phytonutrients which help lower blood pressure, manage blood sugar levels and prevent cardiovascular disease, contains several flavonoids including quercetin which is anti-inflammatory and may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis
- unsweetened cocoa powder = supports the cardiovascular system by enhancing vascular function and decreasing platelet reactivity, may help improve cholesterol levels, been shown to improve cognitive function, insulin resistance and blood pressure
Dairy-free, high-protein ice cream free of animal products.
Did you know you can make your own ice cream with only a couple ingredients, none of which contain dairy? I love the texture and temperature of ice cream but would prefer to skip the animal products. This is precisely why I call it “nice” cream: cruelty-free and full of compassion. It was also quite cheap as I picked these blackberries off the side of the road (I love the bountiful berries come summertime in BC!).
Cow’s milk contains insulin-like growth factor-1 which may increase the risk of breast cancer. It can also spike insulin levels contributing to inflammation and acne, especially in women with PCOS. Plus, studies have shown milk consumption doesn’t actually decrease the risk of osteoporosis and may actually rob our bones of calcium due to its acidity. So give this non-dairy cold dessert (or breakfast) option a try and let me know your thoughts!
- 1.5 frozen bananas
- 10 frozen blackberries (organic)
- 1 scoop plant-based protein powder (organic, non-GMO)
- ice to thicken
- toppings of choice
- Peel and chop bananas the day before (or longer) and freeze in tupperware or plastic bags along with the blackberries.
- Remove frozen bananas and blackberries from freezer and blend in food processor with protein powder and ice. You can add liquid if it isn’t blending well but limit liquid for a thick consistency.
- Add toppings like fruit or nuts and enjoy before your nice cream melts!
- blackberries = high in fiber which may help to manage blood glucose levels, a low glycemic fruit, contains antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin and others which can help fight inflammation, neurological diseases and cancer
- plant-based protein powder = may help decrease high cholesterol and manage insulin resistance, helps build lean muscle mass
Use code: PHRUITFULDISH for 20% off hemp protein powder by Ergogenics Nutrition