Monday, February 8, 2016

Protein Balls - your metabolisms best friend

I'm still quite active as a 40-something year old, but I sure am noticing that it is harder to maintain my happy weight.  This is partly due to the fact that I have a love-affair with chocolate, but also just a natural slowing of metabolism as I age.

I have found that eating 5 smaller meals through the day seems to work better for me than the typical 3.  It seems to keep the fires burning, so to speak, and having some protein with each of these meals revs the engine even more. 

I have a busy job, and often back to back clients all day, so it isn't easy or convenient for me to munch on a bunch of carrots with hummus mid day.  Protein balls have become a mainstay during my work days.  I can eat one or two really fast, and know that I am filling up on quality, not feeding my sugar cravings with a store bought granola bar.

You basically need a protein source - protein powder works great, but natural sugar free peanut butter or nuts/seeds is also an option. You can even use mashed black beans!  Then mix in some binding agents, such as chia, oats, coconut oil, peanut butter works here too.  Next add flavorings such as cocoa powder, coconut, fruit, cacao nibs, vanilla, or peppermint.  Sweeteners are optional - I do not add any to mine, but a bit of maple syrup, honey, dates or stevia might satisfy a sweet tooth. Finally mix it up with almond milk, cold coffee, juice or even water.  Mix it to a good consistency, roll them into 1 inch balls, and set them in the freezer for 15 minutes.  You can then store them in the fridge or freezer, and they are ready to grab one or two for a morning or afternoon snack.

Here is a simple recipe to get you started, and then just play with different ingredients from there:

1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup oatbran (or 1/4 cup ground flax, or chia)
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3 scoops chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup coconut oil - melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
optional - add 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Mix in a bowl, form into balls, and voila!  You can dip these in melted chocolate if you like.
Best to set in freezer for 15 minutes before dipping.

You can change up this recipe by adding peanut butter, seeds, fruit pieces, taking out the cocoa powder and using vanilla protein powder in stead of chocolate.  Adding cinnamon or other spices.
The options are endless.

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