I like to get my nutrients and minerals from natural sources as much as possible. I do pop a daily multi-vitamin though I don’t believe that it will magically balance essentials nutrients out if I was to not be conscious of my food on a day-to-day basis. Getting my daily required protein however has been a little tricky since I’ve tried to cut down on meat and animal products (just FYI, I haven’t completely ruled them out, but I have reduced them). There was a phase recently where I was feeling far more tired than I should be and just off. It could very well be a mental thing where suddenly I convinced myself something was off due to the reduction in animal proteins, but a few weeks of the same feeling wasn’t right. So I got me some protein powder (dairy free, gluten free, chemical free – all natural).
When the powder arrived (I bought it on Amazon) the container was HUGE. And when I opened it, “dust-like” powder went everywhere. All over me, all over the floor, all over the bench. Damnit. Fail. The next thing that hit me was the weird smell and slightly pungent taste (I couldn’t resist but stick my finger in it… it should come with a warning against that. Much like Vegemite). I tried it on my porridge – ew. Same for on my muesli. Just ew. This protein intake was not going to be easy… I then wizzed it up with some frozen banana “nice-cream” – now THAT was delicious! It’s now my daily “banana/protein intake”. Shame I can’t really wizz up some ice-cream in the office huh??
So that brings me to the convenience of protein bars/balls. Super convenient, can be packed anywhere, eaten anywhere. Marketed as healthy, until you read the side and can’t pronounce half the ingredients, realise they’re loaded with sugar, AND carry the calories of a meal. Not so great. Oh and they cost an arm and leg! Aside from that, I’ve never found them to be tasty and their texture is so “meh”, like a dry crunch-less sugar hit. No thanks. So that was my mission: to create a protein filled snack, convenient to take to work (or anywhere) that was under 100 calories, but tasted amazing. And these little guys are the result: they actually taste like ferrero rocher!! They’re under 100 calories (around 75/80 – depending on your protein powder) and pack around 8-10g of protein (again depending on your powder). Plus, they taste like Nutella and well, enough said. To make them even more aligned to the party favourite, you could drizzle some dark chocolate over the top but really, this version, with no sugar, no dairy, no animal products and containing just a handful of ingredients is AMAZING. And bonus, they take no more than 10mins to make. Now there’s no excuse to not snack, and no excuse to not exercise. These guys are absolutely worth it!
Makes about 22 balls
1C roasted hazelnuts (or 1/2C roasted hazelnut butter)
1C vanilla protein powder (I used a vegan variety)
1/4C raw cacao powder
3TB pure maple syrup
4 small dates (or 2 medjool) (soak for 5mins to soften)
2TB milk powder (or 2TB almond meal for vegans)
2TB water (if required)
pinch of salt
splash of vanilla
For the inside: 20-25 whole roasted hazelnuts
For coating: 3TB quinoa puffs and/or 3TB crushed roasted hazelnuts
1. Place roasted hazelnuts into food processor or high-powdered blender. Keep blending/pulsing and scraping sides until the nuts release their oils and form a butter. This can take around 10mins so BE PATIENT! (If you are using nut butter, skip this step).
2. Once you have your nut butter, add the salt, vanilla, dates, maple syrup, milk powder (or almond meal), and cacao powder and blend until smooth (at this point you will basically have created a Nutella so you know… this is where it becomes dangerous!!). Add the protein powder and keep blending (you may need to divide the mixture in half at this point and combine all together later). Add the 2TB water if required (the mixture needs to be slightly sticky).
3. Measure tablespoon portions, place a hazelnut into the centre of each and roll into a ball. Roll into puffed quinoa crushed hazelnuts and ENJOY!!