Last week I had the pleasure of sharing nutritional and healthy eating tips with a local business as they kicked off their Wellness Challenge. One of the things we talked about was the importance of a nutrient dense whole foods diet. By eating food as close as possible to its original state, we will naturally obtain a variety of nutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants).
We know vitamins and minerals are important for optimal functioning. Magnesium alone is used for approximately 300 functions in the body. Antioxidants are natural compounds that bind to and neutralize free radicals. Without adequate antioxidants, the accumulation of free radicals results in damage throughout your body. Fiber helps to regulate our cholesterol, blood sugar and beneficial gut bacteria. Fiber also helps to keep us ‘regular’ so that we can properly eliminate toxins. Nuts, seeds and legumes are also high in fiber.
One of the recipes I shared with the group was Energy Balls. Not only are they easy to make, but they are a great pick me up snack when you feel your energy start to dip. The natural sugar from the dates provides glucose for your cells to make energy. In addition to some of the benefits listed above, the healthy fat and fiber will help you feel satiated, as well as prevent spikes and dips in your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is balanced and your brain is telling your body you are satisfied because of the healthy fat, it’s easier to avoid the unhealthy nutrient-void, processed foods.
Energy Balls Recipe
These satisfying little bites provide an energy boost and ingredients can be varied depending upon what you have available.
- 2 cups of nuts or seeds (pecans were used in the ones pictured above)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup shredded fine coconut (*coconut can be added into the balls or the balls can be rolled in coconut)
- * 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of spices and/or extracts can be added for an additional flavor (e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, etc.)
Using the ‘S’ blade in your food processor, process until nuts are a chunky ground. Add the following ingredients next:
- 1 cup of pitted medjool dates (if firm, soak in warm water & drain before using)
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
Process until combined. Scoop a large spoonful and roll into a ball. (* optional- roll in shredded coconut) You may need to add a little water, if the mixture isn’t sticky enough for form balls. Place rolled balls on cookie sheet or in a glass baking pan/storage container.
Store in the refrigerator for approximately a week, or keep in the freezer. I prefer them in the freezer and always start them there to help them set.