If you follow me on facebook you may have read the article I shared on the health benefits found in dates. They’re pretty amazing little fruits and can, when eaten in moderation, be beneficial to our health and offer some significant benefits such as protecting our cells against fee radical damage and preventing against cardiovascular disease, as well as a number of different cancers… (read more about the health benefits of dates here).
Although dates are naturally high in sugar they also have a nutrient profile that is far superior to most other natural sweeteners. The nutrients in dates are easily digested and readily available for our body cells to utilise, making dates a hit among many athletes. Their thick and sticky consistency lends itself perfectly to these little raw power balls, which are full of nutrients and a great source of energy.
Nutritionally these little power balls are rich in fibre, healthy fats, vitamins & minerals, including vitamin A, thiamin, calcium, potassium & magnesium. The presence of the hazelnuts, flax and almonds helps lower the impact on blood sugar levels and make each of them very satisfying. I usually opt for one or two when I feel like something sweet… and the thing about natural foods full of quality nutrition is that you won’t feel the need to overindulge and over do it as much as you do with other sugar foods. If you like them extra chocolatey you can easily add 1 tbsp of raw cacao, which will give them a rich chocolate flavour and add an extra boost of antioxidants. For an extra protein boost, try adding 2 scoops (50 gm) of a high quality protein powder. If you think the mixture feels a little too dry after adding protein powder, add 1 tsp coconut oil or water until you get the texture you want. Just remember they have to be firm enough to roll.
- 20 dates (apx 160 gm)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- ½ cup almonds, chopped
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
- pinch sea salt
- 1-2 tbsp water
- 1-2 tbsp cacao or cocoa (OPTIONAL)
- 1-2 scoops protein powder (OPTIONAL)
- coconut, sesame seeds & raw cacao powder for rolling
- In a food processor blend the almonds and hazelnuts until finely chopped. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Blend the pitted dates with vanilla extract (and cocoa if using) until they form a clumpy dough. Add a tbsp or two of water to this if its too stiff while blending.
- Remove the date mixture from the blender and add to the bowl of finely chopped almonds. Combine the mixture well using a spoon or your hands.
- Form little round balls and roll in desiccated coconut before placing on a plate.
- Note: alternatively you can also roll the balls in sesame seeds, chopped nuts, cinnamon, cacao or chopped goji berries to mix up the look and add some extra flavours.
Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!