Gluten Free, Dairy Free No Bake Snack Balls
I'm finicky and have always struggled with food. Eating has historically been more of a burden for me than it was something to enjoy. It was certainly true when I was dancing, and my relationship with food was further complicated when I got sick with major digestive problems, which was then followed by stage 4 endometriosis. I had to get serious about what I was eating, and for that matter, how I was living my life.
In a nutshell, my lifestyle underwent a major overhaul that began with food - healthy food, whole food and real food - food that I suddenly had to learn how to cook myself. This was a big hurdle for me because I pretty much spent all of 3 minutes in the kitchen each day - the time it took to make a cup of coffee.
Now everything is different. Now I know what is going into my body because I make all my food myself. I have to. It was, and is, the only way to control the quality of what I eat, which is how I got my health back.
In the process, I went off gluten, dairy (unless it's raw) and refined sugar. No GMOs either. And, I eat organic when I can. This narrows the field to almost zero when it comes to my sweet cravings. And among the choices that are available, more often than not, they just don't taste very good.
This is where the snack balls come in! They are super easy, and as important, they are nutrient dense and more balanced than your average sugary snack.
By that I mean, they contain protein (either from the nuts or added powder), which is important because the dates, figs, raisins, or whatever dried fruit you use, are high in sugar, albeit natural. So even though it's not white refined sugar, on some level, sugar is sugar as far as our bodies register it.
My personal strategy is to 1) limit sugar overall, and 2) when I do eat it, it has to be a natural source (coconut, maple, honey, brown rice syrup) and I always combine it with some protein so that I don't load a pure sugar rush onto my system.
So, onto the balls...
There is a simple base you can apply to any flavor: Dried fruit, nuts, nut butter or oil. Maybe some extract flavoring and/or spices, and maybe something to up the sweetness like coconut nectar or brown rice syrup, for cases when/if the fruit doesn't provide enough sweetness for you. I also sometimes add hemp, sesame or chia seeds if I'm in the mood. The key is to create a texture so that when you roll it, it sticks.
The first two recipes are chocolate almond and peanut fig (left and right side in the photo above - carrot cake is in the middle). Unfortunately, my friend gave me the recipes over the phone so I don't have the original source to attribute credit, (though the recipes may have changed a little).
1 1/3 cups almonds or peanuts or combo of both (I use some salted)
1 cup dates (about 20)
4 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp almond or peanut butter
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut nectar (optional)
1 cup almonds or peanuts or cashews or mixed
1 cup figs (about 10)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp coconut nectar
Add nut butter or coconut oil if you need to make it creamier or stickier.
I throw everything into a food processor and roll into balls. My friend pulses the almonds first.
Chill to serve.
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Here are some others we like. You will see that same pattern repeats - something dry, something wet, something sticky, plus flavors.
The possibilities are really endless. I've seen ginger, orange, cranberry, apricot, coffee and many more. I even found these snack ball/doggie treats on Dalmatian DIY!
Next I'm going to do a pumpkin spice and mint chocolate chip with matcha to make it green! Let us know how it goes if you make some, or if you create a great combination! Take pictures and tag us Instagram.
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