On those crazy, hectic days when you're feeling drained and don't have the energy or time to make a healthy snack, don't settle for the vending machine.
Instead, whip up a batch of these delicious dark chocolate blueberry oat protein balls for an easy pick-me-up that will keep you feeling satisfied for hours.
Bonus, these protein balls packed with ingredients that can help relieve stress! We recently discussed foods that relive stress and these protein balls happen to include most of those ingredients!
Oats help the brain produce serotonin, a hormone which creates a soothing feeling to overcome stress.
Studies have shown one to two ounces per day of dark chocolate can significantly improve mood and mood chemicals in the body. Make sure to use dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa or higher to get this stress relieving benefit.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants and help reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress.
You could also increase the stress-busting powder of these by adding some adaptogenic herbs.
The recipe doesn’t require a sweetener, but if your sweet tooth calls for it, you can add one to two teaspoons of stevia-blend or maple syrup to taste.
Cocoa or Cacao (Increased Digestibility and Antioxidants)
You also have options when it comes to the cocoa powder. Regular, unsweetened cocoa powder works beautiful and is full of antioxidants, but if you want to take it up a notch, try fermented cacao powder (I buy mine from Wildly Organic).
According to Wildly Organic, “Traditional cultures fermented cacao beans to increase the cocoa flavor. Fermentation also helps to reduce cacao's naturally occurring bitterness and the phytic acid present in cacao while increasing the cacao flavor and aroma. (Phytic acid is a protective substance present in all nuts, beans, grains, and seeds. It prevents the body from absorbing the minerals from these foods by binding to the minerals. Hence reducing phytic acid is essential for easier digestion and more efficient mineral absorption from these foods.” (Source)
Wildly Organic's fermented cacao powder is created by cold-pressing raw, organic cacao beans into a pressed cake separating the oil from the protein and fiber. The temperature is never allowed to exceed 120° F and is usually 104° F (other cocoa powders may be exposed to temperatures as high as 300° F!). A high-accuracy thermometer monitors the process. The remaining dry ‘cake-like' material is then cold-ground and fine-milled so that only the finest raw cacao particles become the finished product.
This raw cacao powder has antioxidant activity as exhibited by an ORAC score of 1086 mol TE/g. Raw Cacao Laboratory Testing Results. (Source)
Want More Chocolate?
If you want a super chocolatey treat, substitute chocolate protein powder for vanilla.
Using fermented cacao powder will increase the chocolatey flavor as well.
If you want to ensure this treat is gluten free, use oats that are certified gluten-free, like these ones from Bob's Red Mill.
A Portable Treat
Have you ever had to run off somewhere with a hungry belly and absolutely nothing healthy in the fridge or pantry to bring with you to take care of those hunger pangs? If so, these protein balls are the perfect solution.
I suggest making a batch or two and storing them in the freezer. When you're on the run, grab a couple, and the protein balls will defrost as you run your errands. Or pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds for a warm brownie-like treat.
You have yourself a quick, portable treat!
They'll keep well in a BPA-free air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Dark Chocolate Blueberry Oat Protein Balls Recipe
Whip up a batch of these delicious dark chocolate blueberry oat protein balls for an easy pick-me-up that will keep you feeling satisfied for hours.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
In a large bowl, make your dry mix by combining the oats, protein powder and cocoa powder. Mix well.
In a food processor, pulse the blueberries until pureed. Add to the dry ingredients and stir.
Slowly add 1/2 a tablespoon of water at a time to the mixture until it forms a sticky thick fudge consistency.
Using 2 tablespoons of the mix each, roll into small balls and enjoy.
What do you like to eat when you’re on the run? Share in the comments. I’d love to know!
Print the recipe below:
- In a large bowl, make your dry mix by combining the oats, protein powder and cocoa powder. Mix well.
- In a food processor, pulse the blueberries until pureed. Add to the dry ingredients and stir.
- Slowly add 1/2 a tablespoon of water at a time to the mixture until it forms a sticky thick fudge consistency.
- Using 2 tablespoons of the mix each, roll into small balls and enjoy.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 1 week.
Add stevia, honey, or maple syrup to sweeten to taste, as desired.