I have the biggest sweet tooth! It’s always my huge downfall when it comes to eating well consistently but I have found a solution that is a healthy alternative to all the tempting sweets…protein energy bites! They’re fantastic for a quick sweet snack or for throwing a couple in your lunch bag to accommodate your perfectly meal-prepped lunches.
I started munching on Lara Bars about a year ago but would have to go back and buy more all the time so this last March I FINALLY got a food processor for my birthday and knew that imitation Lara Bars were the first thing I wanted to make. Side note: I had been asking for a food processor for my birthday and Christmas for the last few years so for my 22nd when my mom asked me what I wanted, I told her a KitchenAid Food Processor and would not let her say no again.
To get inspiration, I went to LaraBar.com and made a note of all of the ingredients in the bars that I liked and since then have tweaked some recipes and thrown together some new ones. And you may be thinking, “wait didn’t she say ‘protein energy bites’ and now she’s talking about bars?” Yes, but the bites came about when I realized that post-food processing, bites were personally easier and quicker for me to shape and freeze than laying it on a flat sheet and cutting later (I’m a very on-the-go girl).
The first ones I made were pretty basic, but it is off of this recipe that I have come up with all of the other ones and get fantastic results. For a basic protein energy bite, you’ll need:
- 12 pitted medjool dates (torn in half) – They work best when they’re a little sticky so you may need to let them sit in a bowl of warm water for a couple minutes
- 1 cup of cashews – Some recipes use another nut instead of cashews but they’re the perfect base for a majority of them
- Pinch of sea salt
In your food processor, add the dates and process them until they’re broken up into small pieces. After this, add in the cashews (or other nut) and the pinch of sea salt and process them until they’re mixed well together and don’t look lumpy. I always get worried when the cashews aren’t broken down all the way but just keep going and it will all smooth out!
This is the perfect base for any flavor protein energy ball you may like so here are a few of my favorites…
Sugar Cookie (my absolute fave):
- 1/4 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut – you can add more but I wasn’t a coconut fan until a few months ago and I’m slowly adding it to other recipes, but for now this is the perfect amount for me
- 1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder
- 2+ tbsp of cocoa powder
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
- 1 tsp matcha powder
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut shreds (optional)
- Pecans instead of cashews taste the best for this recipe
- Only 1/2 cup of pitted dates because the dried apple slices will work to bind them all together as well
- 3oz of dried apple slices – when I buy them from the bulk containers at Sprouts I weigh them on the small scale near the bins
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
Once you have your base blended together, you can add in these additional ingredients and process until it forms a giant protein energy bite. From there, scoop out a spoonful, roll it into a ball, and place on a plate or tray lined with parchment paper. On average, I get about 18 bites from my recipe but some are bigger or smaller than other so that number is never exact. Once all your bites have been rolled, stick them in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. You can move them to the refrigerator after but I like to keep them frozen until I’m putting together my lunch bag where I’ll put two into a small container or ziplock and add them to the refrigerator with everything else!
As I make and perfect new flavors (like pumpkin) I’ll be sure to share them! Let me know what you think and if there are any flavors out there that you like and I should try.
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