paleo energy balls
These paleo energy balls made with almond butter and dates have saved my life last month while following a strict paleo diet. Not only do they make a great snack (or I’ve even had them at breakfast too) but they have 100% helped satisfy my sweet tooth! They’re free of grains, dairy or refined sweeteners. Plus with the addition of collagen protein, they also have a nice little boost of protein.
Reflecting back on last month, I have to say transitioning to eating paleo for a whole month was both hard and easy at the same time.
Easy Parts of Eating Paleo
The easy part for me was coming up with paleo recipes to make. When you think about it, paleo cooking is as basic as it gets. It’s a lot of simple ingredients (meats, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds.) So dinner often looked something like just tossing a bowl of root veggies with herbs, salt and avocado oil and roasting them. Plus a pan of roasted chicken thighs and a green salad with a paleo friendly dressing. Nothing fancy, but pretty much delicious! I made paleo shepherd’s pie a few times (rave reviews on that) and meatloaf without any breadcrumbs. But what I am saying is, there is no lack of paleo recipes to choose from!
Here are a couple paleo cookbooks I bought and enjoyed last month. (These are affiliate links.)
Also on the easy list was feeling satisfied. I did not have any problems feeling hungry. Using intuitive eating, I was able to listen to my hunger, and eat enough to satisfy. My weight has remained steady. I did find that a bigger than normal breakfast really helped me not turn into an afternoon snack monster. I also found that having a tin of almonds, a banana or some of these paleo energy bites handy was a good way to make sure I had something paleo-friendly if hunger struck when I was out and about.
Challenges of the Paleo Diet
On the “hard” side of the equation, eating paleo meant that I spend more time in the kitchen. On the paleo diet, pretty much everything is made from scratch. And without dairy or grains, I had to spend time making alternatives. For example, when I made cauliflower mashed potatoes, instead of splashing in some yogurt, butter or buttermilk, I had to take the time to make a batch of cashew cream. The difference was subtle, but the number of dirty dishes in the sink don’t lie!
Another challenge while cooking and eating a paleo diet for the month of January, was produce management! This was a bigger issue than I thought it would be. Usually when I plan our meals, we have a protein, a veggie and a grain. But with paleo, we’d have a protein and two veggies. Often more! So we basically had double the veggies on hand at all times. Plus instead of snacking on crackers and such, we filled the counter with fresh fruit. All of that produce takes up a lot of grocery cart and fridge space! That’s not something I could have anticipated and was an eye opener.
Budget wise, I was really worried that paleo was going to be way more expensive than our already high grocery bill, but I found that it actually all worked out. I tried to stick with less expensive cuts of meat (slow cooking roasts and braising meats and ground meats.) The real reason it wasn’t more expensive is because instead of buying expensive convenience breakfasts and snacks, I was making them from scratch. Plus every day, I made two extra servings for dinner so Jase and I had a lunch as well. That means no lunch trips to Panera for Jase, and we stayed on track.
The last thing I would say was satisfying my sweet cravings. I am not a huge sweet person, but after lunch I do like to have a cup of tea and a little something sweet. I found myself digging into the dried fruit on multiple occasions! That’s how I got turned on to these Paleo Energy Balls. They are naturally sweet and paleo approved because they do not have any refined sugar, dairy or grains.
How to Make Paleo Energy Balls
Dates: I like to use Medjool Dates to make these energy bites. They are very soft so the break into a smoother paste very easily. I find the dates that come pre-chopped and coated in starch are too hard. Plus, I’ve been keeping a package of Medjools on hand for simple snacking anyway. Make sure you keep them in the fridge. They have a higher moisture content and will start to go bad if left at room temperature for a long time.
Remove the papery blossom end of the date if it is still attached. That’s where it was attached to the date palm, and it looks like a little brown disk attached to the flatter end of the date. Then slice lengthwise until your knife hits the pit. Pry the date open and take the pit out. To make sure the dates don’t get stuck in your food processor, cut them into a couple pieces.
Blast the date pieces in the food processor with almond flour and coconut flour. I added these to add bulk to the energy balls. The coconut flour is very absorbent, so make sure you only add 2 tablespoons! The flours will help keep the dates from clumping together too much so you can add the remaining ingredients and they will disperse evenly.
Next add in the almond butter. Look for almond butter that is made with almonds and salt only. The kind with palm shortening is too solid and will result in more dry energy balls.
Along with the almond butter add in maple syrup and collagen protein. Collagen protein is a great way to add a little bit of needed protein to these without altering the texture or flavor. The maple syrup helps the mixture come together. Plus salt which really seals the deal why these are so delicious.
Once the dough is ground up completely evenly, then check it to see if it will come together. Just pinch a little bit and if it comes together as a dough, you’re ready to rock and rollllll. As in roll the date mixture into balls.
To finish them off, I made a combo of sliced almonds, salt and toasted coconut and coated the balls in it. This is not necessary, but I like texture it adds. Note: if the mixture doesn’t stick, you can roll the balls in a tiny bit of maple syrup to first.
How to Store Paleo Energy Snack Balls
To store these snack bites, stack them in a small resealable container.
I like to use glass snap top containers so the food doesn’t come in contact with plastic.
Keep them refrigerated.
They will keep for up to five days. Ours never lasted longer than that because we loved them so much!
Have you tried the paleo diet?
What are your challenges with eating paleo?
What has been easy about eating paleo?
More Paleo Recipes To TryPrint
These paleo energy balls have saved my life last month while following a strict paleo diet. Not only do they make a great snack (or I’ve even had them at breakfast too) but they have 100% helped satisfy my sweet tooth! They’re free of grains, dairy or refined sweeteners. Plus with the addition of collagen protein, they also have a nice little boost of protein.
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut, toasted
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
1 cup medjool dates, pitted and cut into pieces (about 10 dates)
½ cup almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
¼ cup almond butter
2 scoops collagen
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more if necessary
- Combine sliced almonds, toasted coconut and ¼ teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Set aside.
- Place dates, almond flour and coconut flour in a food processor, and pulse to chop. Add almond butter, collagen, maple syrup and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Process, scraping sides as necessary, until the mixture is evenly ground. Check to see if the mixture will come together by squeezing a bit of the dough. If it doesn’t, add one to two more teaspoons maple syrup and pulse again.
- Form into 12 balls. Roll balls in the almond and coconut mixture. If mixture doesn’t stick, add first roll the batch of balls in a bowl with a tiny bit of maple syrup to lightly coat them. Then roll in the mixture.
- Store in a glass storage container and refrigerate up to 5 days.
- Serving Size: 1 ball
- Calories: 126
- Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 20 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 3 g